NASCAR is big. Like really, really big.

12 May

I’ve been in the US a good few years now. I’ve learned how to high five, how to whoop my approval of stuff, and I’m trying really hard to talk louder. That last one is tough, but I’m working on it.

I’ve also learned a lot about american sport. Baskeball was the first one I got into: super accessible and easy to enjoy when you don’t know the rules. Baseball was next: much more complex and subtle and a definite slow burner, but one that I appreciate more and more each year. The last one I got into was the NFL, Football as the Americans call it. The perfect mix of brains and brawn, once I understood it (which took a couple of years, to be fair), it quickly became my favorite.

One sport I never got into though was NASCAR. Living in California and New York I was barely even aware of it, certainly not in the way I was the other three. It was there, just wasn’t really a factor for me. What I didn’t realize at the time is quite how big it was. How big is big? It’s the 2nd biggest TV sport in the USA (after football), 17 of the top 20 attended single-day sporting events in the world are NASCAR events and it generates 3 billion dollars in annual product sales.

So yea, that’s pretty big.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, this weekend I go to my first race. I’m spending the weekend at Dover International Speedway in Delaware, at the The FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks. For work reasons I’ll be rooting for the #11 car Denny Hamlin (‘cos he’s driving the Autism Speaks car, and his sponsor FedEx will donate a further $100,000 to Autism Speaks if he wins), but for personal reasons I’ll be rooting for #29 Kevin Harvick, because he punched a car at last weekend’s race. That’s right, the dude punched a car. Look, here’s a picture:

Any sport that features car punching is awesome, therefore NASCAR is awesome.

I can’t wait.

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2 Responses to “NASCAR is big. Like really, really big.”

  1. katekirk May 13, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    It IS awfully American, isn’t it? I became a fan early in the 2000s and now watch most races on TV, but actually *going* to one improves the TV experience immeasurably. You really have no concept of how fast they are going and how powerful it sounds until they drop the green flag, 40 750hp engines fire up and your jaw hits the floor. You can feel it in your core and it is AWESOME. Plus, they do great flyovers after the anthem 🙂

    I am super-interested to see how the angriness of the last few weeks plays out at Dover where there is high speed, tough passing and nothing good happens from three wide. Keeping my fingers crossed for you that the rain holds off since that puts the kibosh on the racin’.

    I dare you to buy a turkey leg.

  2. kai macmahon May 13, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Yea, definitely very American. I can’t wait though… I would never in a million years have imagined myself being into it, but I am.

    And I’ll pass on the turkey leg, thanks all the same 🙂

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