Oskaloosa, IA: It’s a revelation that surprises no-one except for NASCAR fans: everyone is bored with NASCAR.
When I say everyone, I mean everyone except the hardcore fan who loves nothing more than to see 43 cars driving around in a circle. I’ve seen poker enthusiasts watch World Series of Poker marathons for 6 hours straight. 6 hours of watching other people play card games so that other people could win money. It’s like watching people gamble on a Monopoly marathon. Watching a pile of cars driving around in a circle over and over and over and over and over and over…. Am I exaggerating? NASCAR races can go for 200-500 laps. Do you want me to be precise? Fine. …over and over and over and over… is like watching grass grow. Grass with high-octane gas, maybe, so it’s not only boring, but smells horrible. But, they have fans. Somehow.
When I say everyone, I used to mean “the rest of us.” You know who you are. You made jokes about how much talent is involved in turning a car to the left. Sure, it may seem easy, but if you grew up watching NASCAR instead of PBS, you may have never learned the words “right” or “left” or “PBS.” Your eardrums had probably exploded as an infant from going to NASCAR races.
Even video game sales show that driving around in a circle over and over and over and over is just boring. Gamers are the type of people that will spend a week straight with no food or sleep breeding chocobos in Final Fantasy VII in order to get that last, useless item to make their inventory complete. That’s why the Gran Turismo series sold 800,000,000 copies and the NASCAR series sold a grand total of 5 (these are real, made-up numbers).
Even NASCAR is bored with NASCAR. NASCAR stands for “National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.” Notice the word “Car” in there. Not “4-Wheeler” or “HEMI” or “Rolling Contraption” but “Car.” So how does the “National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing” have a truck racing series? Maybe I’m being too rigid in my choice of words. That’s fine. The next time you pull up next to me in a 6-foot lifted, chrome-plated Ford pick-up with tailpipes the size of bazookas and stack pipes as high as traffic lights, I’ll make it a point to say, “Nice car.”
Now we have Tony Stewart, celebrated NASCAR driver, team owner, and as much a face in NASCAR as anyone else, breaking his leg in a sprint car race because he was probably bored with NASCAR. Sprint car races usually involve dirt, which is at least a minor change of pace from driving around in circles on pavement for 6 months. Sure, maybe putting yourself in a precarious situation when you have a team and sponsors depending on you isn’t the best idea, but I can’t fault him for taking a break. If I had to race around in a circle for a full NASCAR series, I would probably snap and be driving around in a circle when I’m just trying to get out of my driveway. Besides, it’s not like they airlift Tony Stewart wherever he has to go. He drives. He can break his leg while stopped at a stop light. That’s just how driving is.