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Juan Pablo Montoya shocked the F1 world by leaving the series for NASCAR. 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneueve praised the move and is rumoured to be thinking of following him if he cannot hold onto his BMW seat.

NASCAR boasts gigantic audiences in the United States and dominates the US motor racing scene with vastly more fans than the Indy Racing League and Champ Car World Series. But some suggest it is too contrived to even be called a sport.

How does it compare to Formula One?

“I don’t cover hillbilly wrestling on wheels.” Those wore the words of American racing correspondent Robin Miller in last week’s Autosport. He was referring to NASCAR and though that sentiment may not be one shared by most Americans it is certainly one many Europeans would subscribe to.

NASCAR is a world apart from Formula One. Both are enormously popular but they sit at opposite ends of the motor sport spectrum.

Just consider the machinery they use. Formula One cars are relentlessly high-tech: light (605kg) chassis, high-revving engines, intricate and sophisticated aerodynamics, electronic driver aids such as traction control, the list goes on.

NASCAR’s closed-wheel vehicles are built to an identical silhouette template so that none of the manufacturers has an advantage over the other. The cars are enormously heavy (1540 kg) and the mechanics of them are far simpler – steel tube-frame chassis and manual gearboxes are the order of the day here. They still run on leaded petrol.

But that’s not the greatest difference between the two. No – what really separates them, and what should trouble the likes of Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley the most, is that NASCAR serves up constant racing and overtaking week in, week out.

Formula One cannot compete with that. So dependent are the F1 cars on their aerodynamics that overtaking is virtually impossible, as has been clear in a string of catatonically dull Grands Prix this year.

F1 may straddle the globe, unlike US-centric NASCAR, but the racing it imported to Sepang, Imola, Barcelona, Silverstone, Indianapolis and Magny-Cours this year was hardly first-class.

The racing in NASCAR may be close, but it is entirely artificial. Restrictor plates are used to limit speeds to keep te pack tightly bunched. Cautions (‘safety car periods’ in F1 parlance) are often thrown simply to close the field up again and give drivers the chance to pass.

The championship system is tweaked to keep interest in the title alive to the end of the season. The ‘chase for the championship’ runs over the last few races of the season and allows only the top ten driver before the start of the chase the chance to challenge for the title. Again, it’s entertaining, but it erodes the sporting purity of the contest.

It’s easy to mock the sporting value of NASCAR. The endless inconsequential changes of positions, spurious caution periods and the knowledge that only the final few laps can decide an event make the long races incredibly dull.

If F1 suffers from a dearth of overtaking, NASCAR suffers just as badly from an excess of it.

What NASCAR does get right and what F1 can learn from is how it treats its spectators. There are vastly more opportunities for NASCAR fans to see the drivers. The 36-race championship calendar and enormous, F1-dwarfing grids (over 40 cars) means there’s far more action to begin with.

NASCAR is not a model for the future of F1. But each has plenty it can learn from the other. I am an unashamed Formula One fan and while I criticise its flaws I can still enjoy it for what it is.

But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be much better.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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70 comments on “F1 vs NASCAR”

  1. I’m sorry but in a NASCAR race they never throw the yellow flag “simply to close the field up again and give drivers the chance to pass”

    1. The Grand Prix of Turkey in Istanbul was on this afternoon. Darlington had its race in the Nascar Sprint Cup series yesterday. Comparing the action in F1 to that in Nascar, F1 cars are getting weaker as time goes on. Smaller eninges, even more limited horsepower (300 bhp), its made F1 look so weak that the engine noise isnt attractive. Sorry F1 but Nascar is doing it for me. WRC got lame when the economy crashed.

  2. I disagree – there is plenty of evidence to support the belief that ‘debris cautions’ are regularly used to help drivers get back on the lead lap.

    1. Michael Brittan
      19th May 2009, 3:42

      Those who are sure are provong nothing, but their own arrogance. There are no right or wrong answers in mattaers of personal taste.

  3. Ray Dean Carpenter
    25th February 2007, 15:28

    I am a 52 year old from the great state of North Carolina, USA.
    I am also ashamed of NASCAR being associated with the us. NASCAR is great entertainment, but that’s all I can get out of it. Four hours of commercials with a handful of wrecks to keep viewers tuned in. That seems to be what Americans want to see, wrecks I mean. Also cheating. We have to try cheating whenever possible. And rule changes. Rules apply to the driver, not the drivers as a whole. There is no consistency at all in which NASCAR is officiated, case in point is the finish of the Daytona 500 last week. Pure entertainment. Don’t take it too seriously, you might find yourself watching wrestling. In short, I wish there were more F1 races, with a few more in the US. A lot of racing enthusiasts from the US don’t realize cars can race in the rain! Without a top and windshield!
    Come on Melbourne, it has been a long winter and I’m ready for the REAL racing to begin.

  4. You’re kidding right!? Have you seen the Car of Tomorrow. What a low – tech device! Oh and is it a problem that in NASCAR they RACE instead of drive around in completely unequal cars, so far apart its not even funny. The very similar templates and no advantages are why NASCAR has over 75 million fans and is the the 2nd most popular sport in the United States. F1 is enough to bore me to sleep. Listen to Juan Montoya, he says he probably wont watch them again. I wonder why. People dont wanna watch a “race” where after 5 laps you are almost guarenteed whos going to win. Lets take Indy from the NASCAR Nextel Cup series and Formula 1. Do you remember that race. There were almost as many fans in the stands as there were cars on the track. Oh and how many cars were on the track…wasnt it 8. The Cup race showed a good entertaining race..and thats why 200,000 people showed up.
    Pure entertainment…,is that bad…oh I guess 75 million is bad too. NASCAR is racing. I cant say that much for F1.

    1. Well in comparison to your 75 million do F1 attract around 600 million spectators world wide for each race. And it is the second most popular sport in the world after football(not NFL but the sport where the foot kicks the ball, or what you will call soccer)

    2. key word there is “In the US”. no one else in the world likes nascar, so you guys can keep your boring sports for youself. im glad we dont have nascar in europe.

    3. For starters I am an F1 fan, but just because of that, I am not going to say, F1 is better, because all have their strengths and weakness. However u have got to look at things on a drivers standpoint….
      Top Speed:
      Nascar= 212mph 19000+ rpm
      F1- 243mph 18000+ rpm

      Nascar usually races in an oval and occasionally a “curved track”.
      F1, has constantly changing, and challenging track races. They also race in the rain. Open cockpit… etc.
      F1 has more downforce and better technology.
      F1 has a bigger race history (been around longer).
      Now… F1 requires better driving, the tracks are more challenging and, I’m sorry, but I don’t want to watch people drive as fast as they can in an oval for 300 laps. I find that boring. But… modern F1 can also get boring, with uneven race cars, and how some cars are superior to other cars, and restrictions, etc…. blah. Trust me, after a while even I change the channel.
      So in a way anybody with some practice can drive as fast as u can in a oval, or a straight line. There is a high amount of skill to that, but compared to an f1 track like Monaco, well that just can’t be beat. The skill level goes out the window. Now every body has their own opinions on who’s better and whatnot but at the end of the day when u put all the facts together F1 requires better drivers, has more difficult tracks, requires more skill, their cars are faster in a straight line, and around the corners, and they have better handling and tech. So I would say car and driver wise, that F1 requires more skill, and therefore is better.
      Now I have had the pleasure to drive a car as fast as I wanted on a track closed course. It was amazing, nothing is funner than tearing your car around the corners and just feeling the g forces, and car around your body. Being 1 with the car. It is so much fun to take a sharp 35 mph turn at say 60… or more. That is satisfying.
      I NEVER got that feeling driving around in an oval. Don’t care if I was going 200. There just wasn’t that feeling.

      Food for thought: This was video taped and documented:
      F1 vs Nascar who is fastest around the track and turns.
      F1 did the track at 1 min 34 sec
      Nascar did it in 1 min 47 sec.
      The testers then brought the drivers to a turn on the track and gave them 5 tries to take that turn as fast as they could.
      Nascar had an average of 90 mph aprox. The maximum safe speed.
      F1 did it at 160 mph. That’s Downforce.

  5. i am a nascar fan and i saw one disleading thing about the restrictor plates the author makes it sound like they use them on all the tracks. they only use them at daytona and talladega and yes while it does draw them together it is also used to keep the speeds down. but also racing is racing to me i do prefer nascar because i think it is way more competitive even without the restrictor plates

  6. Do u know that F1 cars can ever drive with only 3 wheels and on rain and with fog? Nascars don’t even race when there’s rain. This video at minute 2:15 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0OmnaC7_6c&mode=related&search= . Check the cornering power in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu9T9B1Rg00 .

  7. This was one of the worse articles i have ever read

  8. Well again there is a reason for the speeds and technology to be lowered. Oval racing is dangerous, there are no run offs and you don’t slow down to under 100MPH for a turn…. If M Shu died in his prime (lets say 2001) then I’m sure more would be done to keep F1 cars in check as they were when Senna died. As long as there are ovals there with be Euro-haters…

    On that note, I would love to see an entire series of NASCAR inspired cars that run an entire road course schedule. The races at Walkins Glen and Sears Point are always fun to watch even if they are slower then F1 or GT cars.

    Heres an idea, instead of the two sides fighting over which series is better, why don’t you try to see the others point of view and improve both series.

  9. Come on Dan! Use our brains and be open minded? I live in the mid west and this is not the prevailing mind set here! This year is really the first year I am watching a little more NASCAR and although it’s fun to watch, it kills my purist attitude that the yellow flags seem to happen with 10 laps to go. F1 has lots to learn from NASCAR but F1 is still the most exciting…

  10. This is to the person who comment number is 8 f1 can race in the rain because the cars aren’t heavy like the NASCAR mabe if they just lined up and didn’t pass other cars like f1 than they would be alright but the cars are to heavy for rain tires

  11. Logan, I thought the reason NASCAR don’t race in the rain is because they principally race on ovals, where it’s too dangerous to race in the rain (they don’t in the IRL and never did in CART). For the tiny number of road courses on the NASCAR calendar it isn’t worth the expense of having wet weather tyres.

  12. Canada here…I love both NASCAR and f1 along with other types of racing. each is unique and neither is better than the other. europe lacks the fans that American sports generates…to attend a NASCAR race is an experiance that wont soon be forgotten!
    and football you mention? well we (and America) calls it soccer…have you forgotten the American victory when they took home the Cup recently?
    Arguing about somethingthat is like apples and oranges is pretty lame…..but!, Canada loves NASCAR.

    1. @edmund:
      Well, its not about just America or Europe.
      I would say, arroud the world, F1 has got more fans than NASCAR, reason being you can go the races in Europe, Asia, Aus, Canada, Gulf countries.
      Well I have seen the NASCAR race on TV, but I have seen F1 night race LIVE at Singapore right on the local STREETS of singapore, this even happens in MONACO too. I cannot compare the enthusiasm with this one to NASCAR. Fan following is much more than what you can find in NASCAR.
      You can have a small pocket TV to see the actual positions of the drivers and to watch the race.

      Talking about F1, its more strategic, reason being the PIT STOP strategy.
      Hard and Soft Compound types, Dry and wet tyres, num of pit stops, aerodynamic changes, Fuel carrying strategy, same engine with 2 different teams but tuning makes the difference, lots of TURNS and not just curvy circuit.

      All I can say, F1 is more interesting than NASCAR. American people will be amused to see F1 race if F1 comes to America.I don’t know much about CANADA,

      1. I’m an American, and I’ve been following F1 for a long time. I can never get into NASCAR because it’s too Southern, the oval tracks, and those stupid invocations before the race. And no, I don’t make over $40,000.00/year.

  13. F1 > Indy Car > Nascar

  14. Since I live within a reasonably short drive of the NASCAR circut at Pocono, I have a great chance twice a year to get a good grasp of how the series is percieved among race fans. For many Americans, NASCAR is a love-it or hate-it type of thing. For fans of the series, it offers plenty of overtaking and crashes galore. However, in the minds of critics, it’s a bunch of guys turning left all day and talking in southern drawls in the press conferences.

    For those of you outside the US, NASCAR is a perfect example of what pleases the average American. manyus love pairity and giving everyone an equal chance- hence the salary cap in popular sports such as the NFL. Putting all the constructors on equal footing is what many fans want- they are far more concerned with driver skill than engineering genius.

    The chase for the championship was a great PR tool for NASCAR- it helped make early-season races more meaningful in the eyes of many fans. American fans would love an F1 season like the most recent, where three drivers had a real shot at the title going into the final race.

    Finally, having many races on the schedule is a very good thing for NASCAR- in the case of Pocono, the series makes two stops at the circut every season, creating a hit with local businesses. Obviously running so many races around the world in F1 would be far more difficult in terms of logistics than for NASCAR on one continent. I keep wondering just how many races the F1 teams can run, and hoping the USGP will return before Bernie decides there’s too many.

  15. F1 can not run as many races as nascar because that the drivers sit on the floor of the car and that creates tremendis pressure on the body which fatigues the driver.

  16. BJ and The Bear
    24th March 2008, 11:06

    "The racing in NASCAR may be close, but it is entirely artificial. Restrictor plates are used to limit speeds to keep te pack tightly bunched. Cautions (’safety car periods’ in F1 parlance) are often thrown simply to close the field up again and give drivers the chance to pass."

    Restrictor plates are used on two tracks. The reason is that the cars would do 230 MPH and would still be pretty closely packed. Imagine 20 cars in a pack going that fast and within 20 feet of a concrete wall at all times. F1 would reject those conditions too.

    And while conspiracy theorists will say that flags are thrown out just to tighten the field, it’s usually pretty easy to spot the debris or oil that causes the flag. This is simply an unavoidable result of the nature of the tracks where full course cautions must be the only variety.

  17. BJ and The Bear
    24th March 2008, 11:10

    "Do u know that F1 cars can ever drive with only 3 wheels and on rain and with fog?"

    But it doesn’t make the races any more fun to watch.

    F1 fans invariably defend the superiority of their sport in terms that have nothing to do with the actual racing. They’ll tell you what the cars can do but the cars can do those things alone on a track. And that’s pretty much what the races are. A bunch of individual cars showing what F1 cars can do but barely competing against each other on the track.

  18. as i see it,racing is a technical sport,one that requires the latest in engineering to be interesting,
    if seeing carburated over-head-valve engines on archaic
    chassis’go around in a circle is your thing,then go watch it.i prefer to see the worlds most advanced materials and automotive engineering with a budget only
    the united states military can exceed and applied by the
    worlds premier automotive manufactures on race circuits that only the richest people in the world prefer to go to.but maybe thats why this countries out of touch with
    the rest of the world,we think were better,not for any
    REAL reason,just becuase its funner to watch on tv.
    ps-i used to watch nascar before restrictor plates and
    speeds below 200 mph and the cars were actually based
    on real production cars,has anyone seen a rear wheel drive monti carlo lately?,lol,what a joke……

  19. who really likes cars going round in a circle.

  20. At risk of starting a war other than than being months late! Here’s a thought: due to the effort of NASCAR of keeping all things equal, car makers have little incentive for innovation. Hence the shams that the big 3 are in. What did we get from innovation in the US? Cup holders and electric windows :-) Maybe the best thing was AC.

    David: not me unless there’s plenty drifting!

  21. NASCAR is no more a sport than WWF. It is an engineered TV and media spectacle. It’s ultimate incarnation will to be to simply park 43 cars around the track, let the drivers sit in them and the fans file by to get autographs and stop at the merchandise stands.

  22. Edmund: you say Canada loves NASCAR? What a disgrace you are to our country to make such a statement. You should never associate your personal opinion over a country.

    By the way, I can understand why Americans don’t like Formula 1. The reason is because of the stupid NASCAR commentators who commentate the formula 1 races shown in the United States. In Canada, we get the ITV commentators who know so much about the sport.

    Nascar is marketing. Formula 1 is racing.

    1. Excuse me, but I’m an American, and I love F1 and hate NASCAR.

  23. NASCAR is stupid

  24. I’m a British citizen, and find NASCAR more entertaining than any F1 race I’ve ever been to. When you are at a NASCAR race it is far more entertaining – more passes, more skill required to exceed, and a far better noise than from the F1 cars. Television doesn’t portray the actual speed and noise – fantastic!

    Also the trackview mobile video machines where you can dial in any of the racers numbers and see their stats, along with video views outside their racecars is outstanding, along with the mobile broadcast audio. They don’t have that in F1.

    Tony Stewart starting from last (due to crashing at qualifying) to finishing first at Pocono last week was brilliant.

  25. i agree with the 52 years dude…look NASCAR can be the most craziest sport in the US and the one that have more fans…but F1 is all over the world like..there is going to be more than 17 GP in 17 different countries sooo…i guesss F1 is not that boring if all that people want to c it…another thing is what is the fun in NASCAR…all the same cars driving in an OVAL shape circuit…no curves, no real ulstrapassing, but u know i can still watch is just not like F1…plp like wat they like,,and who am i to chage it

  26. ^^^^
    Lucas has bad grammar but a good point. Entertainment changes from country to country. Take the television show The Office for example the original British version was a lot different than what they air in America even though they are both written by the same crew. The same goes for racing ebtertainment, Americans don’t want their racing to change just like how the comedy in the American version of The Office is very out-dated if you ask me. We (the rest of the world) like changes in entertainment. I think it is one of the most exciting times when there are 2 brilliant formula 1 drivers going side by side and it’s only a test of skill to see who passes. Back to the analogy, American comedy is more upfront and simple and so is their racing. On the other hand as for different car templates in F1 I believe that it makes F1 not only a challenge for the drivers but EVERYONE on the teams.

  27. This is amazing…some people actually think NASCAR isn’t a sport? Same base as F1. You’ve got no point.

    NASCAR is clearly more exciting…F1 uses more strategy, most passes are made on pit road. F1’s cars are much better on road courses, but are horrible for oval tracks, which are usually overlooked as exciting. F1’s closest finish? .014 of a second. NASCAR’s? .001 of a second. a fourteenth of F1’s.

    Somehow NASCAR drivers are talented enough to know how to use a machine that isn’t as high-tech as a Formula 1 racecar. F1’s drivers are too spoiled and don’t really see much reason in downgrading. NASCAR is much safer as well as more exciting.

    In F1, the driver doesn’t win. The car does. F1 is more like Mario Kart nowadays…

    1. NASCAR drivers more talented than F1 ? HA HA ! I never saw 50 yr old competing in F1 these days, wonder why .. lol

      And u call F1 drivers spoiled ? U hav no idea what sort of endurance is needed in F1.

      NASCAR is safer ? Too bad it rains on this planet. U hav no idea how safe an F1 car is for its speed and abilities. Schumi had a 200 kmph accident once when his car was tossed over a dozen feet in the air and he was back racing in a few minutes. And thats an F1 car ..

      Get some knowledge before u comment on F1.

      1. NASCAR is safer? can u tell why so many recent fatalities in nascar? Dale Earnhardt, Adam Petty, Tony Roper. F1 fatal crashes ends at 1994 with aryton senna’s imola crash. and nascar? not long ago,2001 with Dale Sr’s daytona 500 crash.

  28. This debate always goes in this direction. People can be so narrow minded. Racing comes in many forms: all are different and all are good.

    If a European race fan were to take a serious look at a competitive Cup Car, the team that produced it, and the rules, and concluded it was not a world class race car they would expose themselves as ignorant.

    If a NASCAR fan watched an F1 event and failed to realize they may have just seen history being made (due to the use of some innovation that has never been tried before, or has been tried but was forgotten, or although it didn’t work 20 years ago it might work now) then they would be equally ignorant.

    Ya Nascar is a contrived show. But it’s a damned exciting show being waged by 43 bad ass race cars. And sure F1 races can be like watching a line dance, but it’s a line dance by 20 of the sexiest gals on the rock.

    I’ll take em both thank you.

  29. F1:
    Exciting, testing, extremely varied circuits.
    More skilled overtaking on varied corners.
    Far higher speeds, insanely spec’d cars.
    Team tactics, logic, strategy.
    The competition of the forefront of technology.
    Less than a second difference between the cars.

    An oval. Over and over and over and over and…
    So much overtaking it’s meaningless.
    Slower speeds. Primitive American cars.
    No tactics. Races kept bunched up.
    No push on tech. At all. Ever.
    Equality in the cars. Strive for nothing.
    American. Like pro-wrestling. Or the ‘world’ series.

    Make your own minds up.
    If your attention span will allow it…

  30. Like I said Darren…ignorant.

  31. Haha!
    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Don’t deal with the points made or anything, just attack the personality. F1 exceeds Nascar on all fronts.

    1. you obviously didn’t read my original post (its the one from Duster066) or you didn’t understand it. Don’t take my 26 years of road and oval racing experiance as authority…then go here http://www.dawgrant.com/rant/messagetopic.asp?p=701921 I hope you at least respect one of your own. Remember Montoya was good enough to win 7 F1 races including Monaco.

  32. You’ve failed to notice how I mentioned nothing about the drivers or their skills. Because skilled they are, in both race disciplines.

    Labelling any opinion other than your own as ignorant is ironic because in doing so, you are embodying the definition of the very word,

    You can’t deny that most of the things Montoya mentions in the article are also prevalent, if not more in a formula 1 car. There are differences sure, but hardly enough to warrant Nascar as a higher form of racing.

    How about turning corners in another direction? Chicanes? High and low speed tracks? Etc.

    NASCAR just doesn’t hold up. Sounds to me like Montoya may have been defending his decision to move somewhat.

    Oh and f1 is worldwide, not just European.

    1. I lived in England for two years I know where it’s at. Again you don’t seem to understand my position. They are both great forms of racing. And in case you don’t know; there is not one honest pro racer in the US who doesn’t concede F-1 is the very most exstream form of auto racing on the planet. And most have dreams of winning an F-1 event. The question “IMO” shouldn’t be which is better because they are apples and oranges. They are different…not the same game. However they are both world class motor sport. Here’s another sight you may find entertaining – http://www.epi-eng.com/piston_engine_technology/comparison_of_cup_to_f1.htm – I love F-1 Darren I watch it closer than NASCAR because I prefer road racing and high tech cars. But I love NASCAR too. I’ve never experianced a more electric time at a sporting event than I have at Cup races I’ve been to. It’s a really good show dude. And by the way being ignorant is not a bad thing. It simply means you don’t have a solid knowledge base about the subject at hand. No insult intended, although what I wrote did read that way. Cheers Bloke

  33. I’m not doubting your knowledge of geography! I’m saying there are more than European fans who have a vested interest in F1.

    I understand your point! Put this post is F1 vs. NASCAR! Like who would win in a fight between… Let’s say, a bear and a lion? It’s a loaded question which forces you to draw comparisons!

    And I still have to say, F1 is the superior sport on so many aspects. Where the two tie is in the calibre of the drivers, and it could be argued, the teams. Where Nascar reigns is, as you say quite rightly, is in the fan participation and atmosphere.

    F1 is to Nascar, like wine is to coke. I like coke.

    Oh, and if I had to bet, I’d put money on the bear.

    1. Agree 100% with the last one. What kind of lion, what kind of bear? I kinda like my money on an African lion forced to fight for his life vs a black bear. Peace dude

  34. I had to laugh at comments earlier about safety. Anyone who seriously believes that there is anything safe about hurtling around at 200mph is plain crazy. Comments like that really are just stupid.
    When we look at some great drivers who have been killed in recent times, the likes of Aryton Senna, Dale Earnhardt, or Greg Moore, it proves that this argument is null and void. Prior to Earnhardt’s death in 2001, NASCAR suffered several fatal accidents. One of those killed was none other than Adam Petty, grandson to stock car legend Richard Petty. In IRL they sadly lost Greg Moore and, most recently, the young rookie Dana in 2006 at Miami.
    F1 has gone nearly sixteen years without losing a driver, but that does not mean it cannot and will not happen again.
    As for the entertainment value, I was caught watching an old F1 grands prix on the internet the other day. The race was the better part of twenty years old, and the commentators were still complaining about the same things we complain about in this era. The lack of overtaking, the dependance on aerodynamics, extra extra! It is nothing new.
    For me, the biggest change in NASCAR has been its bigger corporate profile. It has totally changed from its grass roots level fanbase of mostly Southern based circuits, and has branched out to tracks more traditionally associated with open wheel and sportscars.
    This has been a huge cash injection for NASCAR, and has pulled away many mainstream fans from rival series, but at the same time has upset the purists who followed the sport from day one.
    The NASCAR races of the 1960s, 1970s,and 1980s were far more brutal than those of today. Drivers were able to get away with far more ‘dubious’ acts on the racetrack, acts that would be unthinkable in the world of Formula One.
    The bottom line is that both series are multi billion dollar businesses, funded by major corporations in the attempt to advertise and sell their products. That is their priority, more so than that of the actions on track. That is more refective of the world we live in, than anything else, but a sad fact of life.

  35. Choosing between F1 and NASCAR as to which is better. Well, there’s a losing proposition. It all depends on one’s personal preference, or one’s opinion…well, guess those two things are so closely tied together, they might as well be the same.

    F1 is open-wheel cars racing on non-banked road courses. NASCAR is full-bodied cars racing on high-banked ovals. Those who have said it is like comparing apples to oranges may now go to the front of the class.

    Still and all, I find myself in the position of feeling a need to point out some things. Keep in mind I have been an F1 fan for over 50 years.

    Some have said that NASCAR requires little or no driver skill and talent. I ask those folks to list for me their credentials as a pro or semi-pro driver. If you never drove, you have no idea of the skill level involved in ANY racing series. So shut up, sit down and rest your neck. You are allowed a personal preference/opinion on what you …YOU …like to watch, for whatever reason, but you are not allowed to comment on the skill level required.

    NASCAR gets a really bad rap because they use templates to make sure the cars conform to certain standards. I think this is better in many aspects than F1. Had F1 done this, the whole difusser thing could have been nipped in the bud by one simple tech inspection. F1, unfortunately, was unable to sort out in advance just what the rule was. And this IN SPITE of Homologation. Geeeeeeeez, even when F1 demands that everything is approved, they still can’t get it right. One up for NASCAR.

    Another knock to NASCAR is all the cars look the same. OMG, I am laffin so hard. K, here is what we do….you close your eyes, I’m going to take one car from each F1 garage and spray all 13 of them white and set them in the middle of a Tesco car park. OK, now go ahead and tell me which is the Ferrari, the Toro Rosso, the Lotus, the McLaren … etc etc etc. Anyone who says they can is kidding themselves.

    Along that same line….I’ve read complaints(knocks) that NASCAR doesn’t allow innovation technically. Perhaps. Perhaps they like the racing to be more about the driver than the car/technology. And those unlearned about NASCAR would be amazed to learn just how much technology does go into it.(Talk to Montoya.) They don’t just grab a good ole redneck hotrod off’n the streets and paint a number on her.

    The other big knock I read against NASCAR is that it isn’t real racing, it’s only entertainment. OK, you get in the car and run 200mph with another car 3 inches off your side and the concrete wall just another 6 inches off your other side…Mind you now, there are NO run-off areas…only the track…and the wall…and then tell me it isn’t racing. Tell me it’s just manufactured entertainment, not real competition.

    There is a world of things that go on during a NASCAR race, in the way of strategy, that these people knocking NASCAR have no idea about. They condemn it without knowing anything about it. For years the only strategy in F1 is when to pit, in hopes of leapfrogging another car for position. No question as to whether to pit or not….btw, NASCAR rules don’t force a car to pit at all, for any reason…will it be 2 tires or 4…will it be tires only….will it be gas only…just WHEN to pit, that’s all F1 cares about, so they can pass in the pit cause they can’t pass on the track.

    As for NASCAR being “entertainment, not real racing”…may I remind all the F1 snobs knocking NASCAR without a clue as to what it is really about, that it is the FiA that created a Working Group whose mandate is to “improve the show”. FiA and F1 lack only a Working Group to improve the racing.

    And now a special shoutout to We Want Turbos….you have made possibly the most reprehensible comment I have ever seen on Keith’s blog. You see, whether or not you have relations with your sister simply has nothing to do with this thread. But it is a distinct indicator of just how low some people will stoop.

    1. Agreed. Have deleted that comment.

    2. The Duster rises from his seat in the peanut section. crosses the room to where Darren is seated at the front of the class. politely taps Darren on the shoulder to get his attention and says, “Uh Darren? dsob says that’s my seat now.” Sorry…couldn’t resist ;)

    3. lol that’s quite a post.

      Firstly let me say I’m not talking about better or worse, I agree it’s a personal preference. Also I’ve never liked that oranges and apples saying it’s illogical and clearly false.

      Some have said that NASCAR requires little or no driver skill and talent. I ask those folks to list for me their credentials as a pro or semi-pro driver. If you never drove, you have no idea of the skill level involved in ANY racing series. So shut up, sit down and rest your neck. You are allowed a personal preference/opinion on what you …YOU …like to watch, for whatever reason, but you are not allowed to comment on the skill level required.

      That all seems a bit harsh. You don’t have to be an Astronaut to be an expert about space travel. Likewise you don’t need to be a racing driver to understand the skill it takes to drive a racing car. I bet Ross Brawn has a pretty good idea of the skill it takes to drive an F1 car but has he ever driven an F1 car? No. If someone wants to comment on something they can, there is no law prohibiting the ignorant, naive or uninitiated from an opinion. It may be inaccurate, poorly informed or biased etc. but if you value freedom of speech then you’ll agree with me that people are entitled to express an opinion about anything.

      F1, unfortunately, was unable to sort out in advance just what the rule was.

      That’s not true. The rule never changed. Some teams misinterpreted it and felt hard done by so challenged the rules interpretation, the FIA provided clarification in a manor consistent with their procedures which while not to everyone’s liking (including mine) does have a basis in reasonable logic.

      get in the car and run 200mph with another car 3 inches off your side and the concrete wall just another 6 inches off your other side…Mind you now, there are NO run-off areas…only the track…and the wall…and then tell me it isn’t racing.

      Technically what you describe isn’t racing, racing involves some form of competition, I’m not saying NASCAR isn’t “real” racing, it is, I’m just being pedantic, sorry.

      Along that same line….I’ve read complaints(knocks) that NASCAR doesn’t allow innovation technically

      It doesn’t really though does it? I mean I don’t think F1 allows for much innovation either the rules are so tight.

      For years the only strategy in F1 is when to pit, in hopes of leapfrogging another car for position. No question as to whether to pit or not

      That’s not true. Quite significantly set up effects strategy and vice versa. Also the idiosyncrasies of the car, the tyres, qualifying, the weather and what you want to achieve from the race and how all of those things effect each other, all affect your choice of strategy.

      Also (at least in F1) it is faster to make a pit stop than not make one so even if they had the option of not stopping they nearly always wouldn’t because it would be slower.

      Lets be honest F1 does generally demand more skill than NASCAR. I’m not saying that it doesn’t take any skill to be a NASCAR driver, clearly it does, but the demands in F1 are greater. I don’t think that makes one better than the other.

    4. —–[[[[[Some have said that NASCAR requires little or no driver skill and talent. I ask those folks to list for me their credentials as a pro or semi-pro driver. If you never drove, you have no idea of the skill level involved in ANY racing series. So shut up, sit down and rest your neck. You are allowed a personal preference/opinion on what you …YOU …like to watch, for whatever reason, but you are not allowed to comment on the skill level required.]]]]—-

      It doesn’t take a professional to know its easier to drive faster in a constant line than switching up.

  36. Ack… Funny stuff to read. We’re all entitled to our opinions, anyone is welcome rocorrect or ignore them.

    As for choosing one or the other – agreed completely a choice. It’s like choosing college football and NFL.


  37. So why hasn’t NASCAR safety tires advents much in 45 years?

    I found an old Rodder and Super Stock magazine from July 1965 and there was an article about Goodyear’s LifeGuard racing tires. It went on about how Darel Dieringer raced 5 laps until he noticed he was loosing speed and came in for a tire change and how at over 180mph, Ned Jerrett’s tire shredded on a cut tire slowed to 140 and just pull into the pits at over 100 mph and get it changed. This was in 1965. It seems our tire dependability has gone down hill since than.
    I normally watch open wheel F1, cart and Daytona prototype because it seems every time I flick on NASCAR they are on an 11 lap yellow because a hot dog rapper blew onto the track or something. Not to mention how many times cashes occur due to flat tires for more yellow lap runs.
    Since NASCAR is a speck race why don’t they just put tires on them that don’t blow out? They did it in 1965. And maybe for other classes of racing too. Most off road racers use Moose foam inserted of various types (some use air/inner tubes and foam). I want to see racing not cut tires.

    I could not find the article I was looking for but here is one from a Google search.


    even the run flat tires sold today granted just have thick side walls. Late one night I’ve driven one on a mini with a chunk taken out of the rim (after a big pot hole on rt 95) for over 150 miles and got home fine. Felt the vibration but it worked.

    Just want to know what you think.

    I just think the tire technology should be better.
    It just if they could run for several Lapps 45 years ago on a flat/shredded tire; tires should be doing better than they are today. Why not? Is more the question.

  38. I have known of F1 since I was a kid (28 now) I never had access to formula one coverage here in the usa. I did how ever have access to things like, moto-cross, drag racing, monster truck racing, tractor pull racing, and of course nascar. ALL OF IT, mind numbingly boring. I watched my first ever F1 race just the other day. i replay of the 2010 Monaco Gran Prix. It was electric to me. Then i watched the SPA-francorchamp race which was even better. Maybe its because I like the techincal detail to it. Maybe its because I’m not a redneck and I prefer to associate with a higher degree of racing detail than that. I dunno. Maybe it is the announcers they joke, they have a sense of humor, they are blunt, they will confront drivers who do stupid moves, bad moves, illegal moves, right after the race and put them on the spot.

    Nascar had its roots tainted when it decided to move away from true “stock car” racing which its a shame to even use that term in the title, since NOTHING is actually stock anyway.

    I might watch nascar if it cut down the on sponsor ship paint jobs (I’d rather have teams), nascar vehicles look like kindergarten finger paintings, where as F1 cars look like sleek pieces of art, and on top of that paint, if they would race around actual tracks that require more skill than just going around in an oval, that would be great addition to nascar.

    I dunno, maybe it is because I watch Top Gear and learned about the drivers the history, and such.

    This is an opinion coming from someone who grew up in missouri, small hick town, with a dad who watched nascar ever time it was on. I could never get into it. But now a grown man, I watch one race of Formula One and I am captivated. Maybe its because they look like race tracks, ovals seem so b level, so kiddy-pool like.

  39. To whomever said this:
    “If you never drove, you have no idea of the skill level involved in ANY racing series. So shut up, sit down and rest your neck.”

    Not sure how good an argument that is. I’m not good at football, but I understand it well enough to know that NFL is a more demanding and needs better players than College football, I hope we all agree. But I know I’ll get my butt kicked by a high school player.

    I think most drivers around here would be able to go around the oval on a Nascar car at reasonable speeds, maybe from a rolling start. I think quite a few people here would spin out / stall an F-1 car pretty quickly, even at reasonable speeds.

    Plus, can a Nascar drive on the ceiling like an F-1 could (in theory)??? It would fall like a brick.

  40. I am thrilled to resurrect an old thread.

    NASCAR is a joke. Anyone who tries to find fault with F1 after this years season needs to get their hillbilly head checked.

    F1 is a foie gras. Nascar is a gas-station hot dog.

    Don’t even mention them in the same sentence when it comes to motor sport.

    Finally, this was a crap article and Juan should NEVER be used as an argument in favor of NASCAR. He’s classless and couldn’t handle the upper echelon semantics of a clearly superior sport.

  41. Thanks CanadaJon2… right on, a very exciting race indeed.
    I’ll have to think twice next time I think of that greasy hot-dog.

    Frankly, Nascar at the end of the day is like seeing people in a hot-dog competition or better, college kids at beer drinking competition. At the end someone wins, someone may get injured (or worse), or but the good thing is that they all started on a level playing field.

  42. I think f1 is more exciting because it is a blend of different, you might say, disciplines. NASCAR is, shall we say, on the right side of the spectrum of motorsport. Racing in NASCAR is all about overtaking and entertainment, hence the tracks constructed as ovals. Oval circuits provide drivers the opportunity to concentrate more on the overtaking than turning. The cars too, are regulated to be almost equal in performance against each other in order to facilitate overtaking.

    F1 on the other hand, seems to be a combination of Rally-type precision driving (shall we say, the left hand side of the motorsport spectrum) , with overtaking, albeit on a much smaller scale than NASCAR (the other premise on overtaking not taken on this thread besides pit strategy: if you suck on precision driving on the corners, others will catch up and beat you to the flag). Plus on top of all that, the technological savvy and the glitz and glamour that is the trademark of f1.

    To sum it all, if you want a balanced motorsport action, watch f1. f1 in my opinion is a centrist type of racing, combining pure overtaking and precision driving with a bit of glam and tech. But don’t get me wrong, NASCAR is a great great motorsport, just like f1 and rally, and motogp as well! And, btw, this is from an Asian point-of-view.

    1. Great point of view. I agree 100%. Enjoy the sport mate!

  43. Why is this even a topic of discussion? I mean who wants to watch a load of heavy cars drive round in a circle, how much skill does that take? You have also got to look at what every day people gain from F1 technology. Whether you are a fan of F1 or not you benefit from the R&D in every day road vehicles. Where do you think carbon fibre, ceramic brakes, paddle shifters, ABS, traction control, crumple zones etc all came from?? Having said that what have American cars over the last few decades offered anyone?? Yeah, they are great in straight lines but not overly fond of cornering which is where the real skill comes into it. Funny how there are no US cars in F1 and they have all come up with various excuses as to why they do not want to compete but the fact is they are so far behind technically that they would be laughed at. Take the Audi Quattro for example. In the eighties Audi applied to be entered into the Trans Am competition with their five cylinder engine. The governing body happily accepted thinking that maybe, for once, the big US V8’s would make a European car look stupid. Wrong, the Audi claimed eight out of thirteen chequered flags and won the championship, easily. Then the American governing body changed the rules so that only US V8 engines can compete with rear wheel drive, funny that. This all boils down to the fact that Americans cannot build cars, period.

  44. F1 is exactly what it says it is, the number 1 formula for racing cars. Period.

  45. Gino Xuereb
    11th May 2011, 8:59

    After reading these comments I thought I should have another look at NASCAR to see if I had made a poor judgment with regards to the merits of NASCAR and how it compares in some ways to formula1. I also did some reading on it from the net. As far as racing a car is concerned formula1 is at the top of the game and I believe one of the main reasons for this is that there is a constant push in formula1 to improve the car so that it is best placed to beat the rest. It’s a constant struggle and the money and effort that is put in to achieve this goal is truly amazing. This kind of competition between teams and manufactures is what ensures formula1 stays at the top of motor sport. I would urge anyone who is a NASCAR fan to read formula1 news and stories and watch at least 5 qualifiers and grand prix and then make a judgment call. I would say it is also very important to listen to what the commentators are saying. If its the BBC you are watching you will be literally spoilt with excellent informed opinions from top experts from the game itself and top sports journalists.
    After finding out everything I could about NASCAR and viewing this motor sport where possible(which isn’t so readily available here in England) once again, I came to the very same decision as I had in the past. NASCAR is not of the same quality as formula1, not on any level.

  46. Er, to all those people who think that F1 is all about the car and not about driver skill, go watch some footage of the driver view during a race. It’s dizzying how fast those corners come up, and being so low to the ground the drivers can be almost blind of the approach, you forget that with the amazing technology that allows the cars to perform so well comes a need for an amazing level of skill and reaction time to control it. Honestly the speed at which these cars maneuver a non oval track in any weather is mind blowing. Seriously go watch footage from the driver camera. That is all.

  47. This is one of the most offensing articles I have ever read, completly biased. NASCAR is much more entertaining than F1 racing. An F1 race may have one or two battles for the lead, and not to much side by side racing, BORING! I enjoy watching great race car drivers race side by side in fairly evenly matched cars, not the follow the leader racing in sophisticated f1 cars that pretty much take the driver out of the equation with traction control (in a race car ***). I tried to like f1 but there is not enough “racing”. Multiple battles for the lead, trading paint (bumping is allowed), wrecks (should not be easy to win, you can be taken out for no reason of your own), and passion, that is what makes NASCAR better.

    1. F1 cars haven’t had traction control for about five years.

    2. Bumping is allowed? I guess watching the olympics 400m dash with bumping allowed would be entertaining… I give you that much. But really, would it be too hard for the circuits to be a little more exciting that a dumb oval? (you can describe it with a simple mathematical equation!).

  48. I enjoy a good road race but there is a saying in my neck of the woods, “If you’re skerd, say your skerd”. I think F1 fans are scared. Nascar is a young sport, 15 years ago most people outside the Southeast US weren’t huge NASCAR fans. Take “Days of Thunder” for instance, Tom Cruise says he wants to make a name for himself so he can race at Indy. Nascar didn’t go toIindianapolis then. The Indy 500 was “America’s Race” but once they opened up the brickyard to Nascar: Chicago, Las Vegas, even Los Angeles are all Nascar hotbeds. Why? Because it is easy to get into. These people start out on dirt tracks, move to paved tracks and they can compete because like it or not Nascar has a formula.

    Think of it like cricket or football, you don’t have to be rich to get started in the sport like you do in F1. Put down Nascar for the low tech approach if you must but by relying on the driver to decipher what the car is doing opposed to banks of computers, you are making it a workingclass sport and it has F1 terrified. Don’t think F1 doesn’t look at how popular “track days” have become in Europe and see the comparison to Nascar’s early days. It’s like blue jeans and rock and roll, it’s for the masses not the elite.

    In regards to ovals, they aren’t flat, they have complex geometry and surfaces that change consitantcies with wear and weather conditions . Restrictor plates were introduced after horrific crashes occured at the “Super Speedways”. Also the reason there are so many cautions at the end of Nascar races has more to do with cars slamming into each other fighting for position. Something that would confuse an F1 fan.

  49. This darn thread has more life than a cat! Guess I should make my 2 year post. lol

    The last two F1 seasons have been the most exciting I can remember in nearly 30 years of watching. What has change? NASCAR type rules changes that’s what. I would hope they are about finished with the changes, because I love F1 for the technology challenges. But a few reasonable rules to make it a better show has worked IMO. Now we have the best cars and teams in racing, and we have some real on track racing. That’s a win win from this Yanks perspective. But BRING BACK REFUELING! That rule guts so much strategy and crew skill it’s a show killer.

    Cheers mates
    Greg, Washington state

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