Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Fan's Addiction

I am extremely excited about an upcoming sporting event. For the first time, the AFC Championship football game will be played at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, where my beloved Denver Broncos will probably win and go on to the Superbowl. But that is not the sporting event about which I am so fired up. The Superbowl, otherwise known as the "Daytona 500 of Football" will very likely be won by the Broncos, for their third NFL Championship. What I am excited about is the Daytona 500, coming up on Feb 19, and all the racing events leading up to it.

In my opinion, the Daytona 500 isn't necessarily the best race of the year. After all, this race requires restrictor plates on the carburetor, which limit the horsepower output of the engine, which reduces the risk, in theory, of serious or deadly accidents due to excessive speeds. It also causes the cars to race at extremely close quarters, so what you have, in effect, is a 200 mph parking lot. It isn't even a "real" race, the way I see it. The driver doesn't have to do much except keep his foot on the throttle and aim the car. But what myself and many other NASCAR fans find exciting about the 500 is that it officially marks the end of three months of no racing.

True, NASCAR does have the shortest off-season of all professional sports, but just a glance at any NASCAR fan during December, January, or the first week of February, will reveal a person who is truly lost. You may see that person standing on an overpass crossing a major highway. That person is pretending that the traffic passing below is actually a race. That person is probably me. There is just nothing to get the adrenaline going, nothing to do on Saturday or Sunday for entertainment, because once a race fan gets NASCAR in his or her blood, nothing else can satisfy. NASCAR racing is genuinely addicting.

NASCAR racing is vastly different from other kinds of automobile racing. For one, the cars are much heavier, nearly twice the weight of a Formula One or Indy car. The tires are smaller, making the handling and reaction of the car very different from the open wheel cars. Most importantly, a NASCAR driver can do what no other driver in any other racing series can do; that is, cause his car to make contact with other cars without wrecking. This is quite a feat at 200mph, and adds a whole new dimension to driver skills.

NASCAR racing is much more than "cars going 'round in circles." It is the thrill of seeing your driver (for full enjoyment, you must pick a driver, just as you would a team for any other sport) show off his or her car control skills by driving faster and deeper into a turn than the other drivers. It is the excitement of seeing your pit crew service a car in just a little over thirteen seconds, and your driver getting back onto the race track ahead of the others. It is the utter exhilaration of watching your driver make a move on another car to get the edge going into or out of a turn. If the driver you pick happens to win the race, it is pure Euphoria. If you are lucky enough to be present at the race, it is the sight of what 200 mph actually looks like, the smell of the rubber and fuel, and the sound of the high-powered engines

I will be watching the race February 19, and I will be enjoying it. After all, I am an addicted NASCAR fan.


Babs said...

Amen!!! I'm so looking forward to the start of the season. Even testing brought me some minor happiness to see the drivers back on the track. Like a quick fix for my addiction. But it needs more!!!!
29 days till Daytona!!!!!

Clance' McClannahan said...

My name is Clance and I am a NASCAR addict with no intentions of going into recovery.

Chris said...

I can't wait till Daytona too. I have tickets to go see the April race in Phoenix. It seems like such a long time till April lol.