Why You Should Watch… NASCAR

Why You Should Watch

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The 2013 NASCAR championship starts this weekend with one of America’s best-known races: the Daytona 500.

The race has already grabbed headlines as Danica Patrick has become the first woman to take pole position for the 500-mile race.

And there are plenty more reasons to turn in for this year’s series as Dominik Wilde explains.

The basics

NASCAR is sometimes derided by fans of European-style motor racing for its frequent crashes and oval-heavy schedule. There’s no denying a lot of the action takes place on ovals – all bar two of the 36 races on this year’s Sprint Cup are.

But the two road course events are always among best races of the year. They take place on two fantastic tracks, Sonoma and former F1 venue Watkins Glen. But with only two tracks with right turns in the whole championship, why should you watch oval racing?

With 43 cars on track, all racing together closely at speeds reaching 200mph, the competition is undoubtedly tough. It demands accurate driving: too high and you go too slow and hit the wall, too low and you again go too slow, and are likely to spin. Oval racing isn’t as simple as it seems.

Just ask Juan Pablo Montoya: Since deserting F1 for NASCAR in 2006, the seven-time Grand Prix winner is yet to score his first oval victory. Both his Sprint Cup wins came on road courses.

Likewise 1997 F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve has also given NASCAR a go, running 19 races in the past five years across all three main series without winning.

If talented F1 racers like Montoya or Villeneuve can’t dominate, surely you don’t need superhuman talent to compete? Not quite. F1 and NASCAR are completely different. Put a top NASCAR driver in an F1 car and it’s likely they’ll be quick, though not the fastest.

Part of that is down to the specific skill required to race ovals, but even IndyCar stars like Dario Franchitti, AJ Allmendinger and Sam Hornish Jnr failed to convert their success from single-seaters to stock cars. Racing in NASCAR demands a different and very specific kind of talent.

Races tend to last around three hours. That might sound boring, but you’re likely to see more overtaking in one lap than during an entire F1 race. And for some there is the added appeal of fairly frequent crashes which can involve dozens of cars or more.

In F1, drivers rarely win if they don’t start from the top five on the grid. In NASCAR though, due to the competitive nature of the sport and the length of the races, it is possible to win a race after starting 43rd.

The cars

An F1 car is a 600kg fine-tuned laboratory on wheels. In comparison a NASCAR stock car is incredibly simple. It weighs about 2 tonnes, is made of sheet metal and has a simple small-block V8 up front.

F1 cars cost millions, NASCAR machines cost about 150,000 with several cars being built throughout the season for different kinds of tracks to suit the different sizes of oval tracks. Engines are 5.9 litre iron block V8s and produce 700 to 900bhp depending on the circuit.

Formula One steering wheels are littered with buttons and teams rely on an array of computers and sensors to monitor the car. All of that is alien to NASCAR.

The cars don’t even have fuel sensors: instead teams must calculate tyre wear and fuel use to make sure they last the race and the driver has to perfectly describe every single sensation they feel so the team can understand what is going on with the car.

There’s no power steering either. And with 42 other cars generating huge turbulence, wrestling a two-tonne beast and keeping it going in a straight line is no mean feat.

In 2007 NASCAR introduced the Car of Tomorrow. It was developed following the death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500. Although it proved much safer than previous NASCAR chassisit was introduced to widespread criticism.

Kyle Busch claimed “this car sucks” after winning the first ever CoT and fans disliked how each manufacturer’s car (looked virtually the same.

Just as F1 has tweaked the appearance of its cars this year, the new ‘Gen 6’ NASCAR is aesthetically an improvement over its predecessor. Each car is easily distinguishable from another which is not only good for fans, but also manufacturers who of course want to advertise their product.

Drivers have also praised how the car performs on track. NASCAR strives to make sure all the cars are as equal as possible, without making the series a spec series, to ensure that it stays interesting and competitive.

Boys have at it

There’s no stewards enquiries, no expensive courtroom battles; drivers in NASCAR settle their own differences. In NASCAR, if a driver hits you unnecessarily, you hit them back. So long as things don’t get massively out of hand, drivers get away with retaliation too.

However, things often turn sour. Take Phoenix last year for example – an on-track spat between drivers Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer resulted in an ugly brawl in the pits. Gordon was fined, which many considered too light a punishment.

Fights are not uncommon in NASCAR, but drivers tend to receive more severe punishments for their language. Kurt Busch was banned for one weekend in 2013 after using foul language to a reporter having been put on probation for a similar incident at the end of 2011

The chase

In most respects Formula One is more complicated than NASCAR. But NASCAR’s convoluted points system is an exception.

At each race the winner scores 43 points, second place gets 42 and so on down to to last place. On top of that the winner receives an extra three points and a further point is awarded to each driver who leads a lap and whoever leads the most laps, raising the maximum available for a driver at each round to 48.

In an effort to ensure the championship remains alive until late in the season, NASCAR introduced the Chase for the Cup in 2004.

Heading into the final ten races the top ten drivers in the championship standings plus two other drivers who have scored the most wins have their points tallies reset to 2,000. Got all that?

But wait, there’s more: The drivers who were in the top ten receive an additional three points per win, plus one point for leading a lap. The driver in the top ten who has led the most laps also gets another point. From that point on these 12 drivers are the only contenders for the championship.

While this has drawn criticism for being complicated, arbitrary and not necessarily rewarding the best driver, it has placed more emphasis on winning and contributed to the championship being decided at the final race of the season for the last three years.

Should you watch it then?

Yes! OK, the points system is a mess, the cars are as technologically advanced as an IKEA bookcase but the racing is fantastic. I’m a fan of both F1 and NASCAR: I started off an F1 fan and grew to love NASCAR.

Despite its simple-looking tracks, every lap keeps you on the edge of your seat. And the drivers are a world away from F1’s PR-trained corporate clones.

Over to you

Do you watch NASCAR? What do you like or dislike about it?

Have your say in the comments.

What motorsport would you recommend other F1 fans to follow? If you want to put the case for your favourite non-F1 category write a guest article and send it in. More information here: Write a guest article for F1 Fanatic

For more from Dominik see his website Dominik Wilde Motorsport

Why you should watch…

Images © NASCAR/Getty

185 comments on “Why You Should Watch… NASCAR”

  1. Super-speedway restrictor plate racing is, in my opinion, one of the most spectacular sights in all of sport – let alone motorsport.

    I always watch the Daytona 500. It’s a fantastic event and never fails to excite.

    1. But the Daytona 500 is pretty much a lottery. The only part of the whole race that matters is the last 5 laps, some drivers even intentionally stay in the back of the field for the majority of the race. The rest of the race is just a waste of time, and a lot of time at that (over 4 hours).

      And when people like Trevor Bayne, Ward Burton, and Derrick Cope win the race that says something about the talent that is required to win the race. Or just the quality of the drivers in NASCAR. Very low.

      1. @Blockwall2 Trevor Bayne isn’t that bad and at the time Ward Burton around the time he won the race was finishing in the top ten of points. Derrick Cope though…I easily have to agree and though I dont think Burton is a great driver at all, he did have a good drive for a few years just not championship good.

        Though people would call it a lottery I must ask when did you really start watching it, because prior to about 2008 when tandem took over it wasn’t really a lottery. Certain teams had better plate packages DEI, HMS, and RCR. However, it would seem now days HMS and there extension team Stewart Haus as well as ford teams like Roush Fenway, and perhaps Penske this year too.

        Also most if not all races run up to 3-4hours and usually they don’t run over it like you suggest, unless there is a rain delay. It is a strategy to stay at the back of the pack which you fail to inform others as well, a strategy so that when a big wreck happens they don’t get taken out in the exchange.

        1. @mangillagorilla My point is that it should not be a successful strategy to intentionally go around at the back of the pack. But since “the big one” is inevitable due to the lack of quality in the drivers, it can be.
          Another illustration of low quality is how long unsuccessful drivers hang around. In F1 for example, drivers are quickly replaced due to lack of performance, while drivers in NASCAR hang around for about 10-15 years. It’s pathetic that people like Terry Labonte can still make the grid.
          Races aren’t just extended due to rain btw, they can be extended for 2 and a half hours due to a hole in the track! Apparently the quality of the track surfaces aren’t that great either…..

          1. @mangillagorilla Terry Labonte is a former champion FFS..ther are many hanger ons but Terry or Bobby Labonte arent ons.

          2. @blockwall2 Once again, I ask for some factual proof that there is a lack of quality in drivers. There are plenty of road race drivers, many of these guys take part in Rolex, Le Mans, Indy IZOD, F1 and so on past and present. The issue is rookie drivers making mistakes that hurt everyone similar to what we saw this year by Romain. The only reason I argue this is because I want the realistic facts to be out there, not some one that is bad as British media (bashing rally as they do Daily Fail) and American media (making sensation news for the few massive wrecks with no injury that happen).

    2. Very sorry to see several fans were injured in a NASCAR Nationwide race at the track today ahead of the main event:

      Fans injured in NASCAR Nationwide Daytona race

      1. The amount of crashes is pretty worrying for me. I know they try and work on that (new car and everything) but still …

        Lets hope everyone recovers without major problems.

  2. That might sound boring, but you’re likely to see more overtaking in one lap than during an entire F1 race

    Well, that doesn’t make it exciting (for me).

    I’d love to enjoy NASCAR and Indycar. I’d really love to, because there’s a lot going on there, and if you check highlights for every other race, it really looks exciting.

    I do admire the simplicity. The lack of sensors for tyres and fuel consumption is cool, that should be done in F1 aswell…

    1. Just seen the accident at Daytona. Well, that’s one ENORMOUS thing that doesn’t appeal to me and influences every other thought I have about oval racing in general, and specially NASCAR.

      It’s just a pointless waiting-to-see-how-I-end-up-in-crashes sport. There’s nothing you can do to prevent accidents, even if virtually none of them are mechanical issues that lead to incidents. I mean, they are going all together, 3 wide, 200 mph, in a tight oval. It’s just going to happen and there’s nothing you can do about it.

      Is that racing? They all end up with the cars on fire, big chunks of steel laying around on the circuit, cars completely wasted and one odd guy that manages to survive (because luck, not because talent), wins.

      And then there’s the safety. They should’ve put the grandstands on the inside of the track… to see a WHOLE ENGINE come through a fence isn’t pretty… it’s a 2 ton car flying around and smashing hard on a fence that just manages to divide the grandstands from the track.

      Americans love that, I know and I’m sorry to point it out like this. They love the crashes, the fights between drivers. They love to see someone sliding his car towards someone on purpose to gain a position, they just love all that stuff. Otherwise, they’d have banned half the drivers out there.

      And the organizers promote that, not by chance The Simpsons were all sad that no one crashed in the NASCAR race they attended… it’s a clear view of it.

      And it’s just not for me…

      1. I just want to say that not ALL Americans like the “crashes” and the “fights”. One of the many reasons I don’t watch NASCAR is because of the emphasis on the “big one” and the arrogant bravado of some of the drivers. Neither of these aspects appeal to me in any way.

        1. @damionshadows I know not all of them, but it must be majority that find interest in that sort of thing… otherwise people would judge fights and all that stuff a lot more, and it’d be regulated and penalized by the authorities.

      2. And then there’s the safety. They should’ve put the grandstands on the inside of the track… to see a WHOLE ENGINE come through a fence isn’t pretty… it’s a 2 ton car flying around and smashing hard on a fence that just manages to divide the grandstands from the track. Americans love that, I know and I’m sorry to point it out like this.

        No, you’re not, or you would have put it some other way.

      3. @fer-no65 I think it’s pretty offensive to put all American racing fans into the same basket when it comes to this. Of course there are some ignorant rednecks out there, but there are just as many people in Europe who watch Formula 1 casually hoping for crashes and drama too. After all, whenever there’s a big crash in a Grand Prix events, there’s always a surge of viewers who come to F1F looking for more information and videos. How is that any different to these ‘Americans’ you seem so critical of?

        I think it’s pretty unfortunate that someone could use something like NASCAR to criticise an entire nation of people. After all, the United States F1 Grand Prix was the most popular and one of the most highly attended event of last season, which destroys the myth that ‘Americans don’t like F1’. If anything, it only helps to reinforce the negative stereotype of European racing fans that we’re all elitist snobs – which certainly does seem to be true whenever NASCAR gets mentioned…

  3. No.

  4. are there any legal internet broadcasts of Nascar?

    I caught a one-off blip caused by a scheduling clash on Sky Sports F1 last year and found it interesting but the commentary was akin to a newscaster trying to explain nuclear fusion (dull)..

  5. I watch NASCAR whenever I get a chance to as it is quite entertaining to watch. I don’t watch it for the overtaking as the value of an overtake in NASCAR is very little, but it is exciting not knowing who’s going to finish where until the very end.

    One thing I hate about NASCAR however is the arbitrary caution periods, often when I watch NASCAR a safety car will come out for no apparent reason. It seems to me that they just throw yellow flags whenever a races starts to get dull or the leader has a big advantage. I’ve even heard that they do it so that the broadcasters can go to a commercial break, which wouldn’t be surprising considering that commercial breaks happen frequently in the United States.

    1. I liked Nascar when the cars really were “stock” cars, the change to a standard tube-steel chassis and bodywork running pushrod V8s and beam axles caused me to lose a lot of interest but it was the endless random “safety”car periods you describe so well that turned me right off Nascar.

  6. The Big One the only reason to watch Nascar

  7. So it’s, more or less, stock car racing at higher speeds? Sounds entertaining to watch but the kind of thing I’d get bored of watching but want to try. Like parachuting.

  8. I used to watch nascar but its all got way too artificial for my liking.

    The restrictor plate pack racing is more about luck than skill in terms of it your lucky enough to avoid the inevitable big wreck. Most the drivers also hate it for this reason.

    The tandam draft we see now is a complete joke as far as im concerned.

    The constant meddling from officials to get ‘the show’ exactly as they want it is tiresome. How many changes did they make to the cars last year for the show?
    They also seem to make up rules as they go along now.

    You also have the phantom yellows where the pace car will be called off if it looks like the field is getting spread out.

    The whole chase for the cup concept is ridiculous, The road races usually become demolition derbys & the whole tv broadcast tends to be quite dull.

  9. F1Fanatics complaining about lottery in F1? How about we remind them what a lottery REALLY is?

    I see what you did there, @keithcollantine ! :P. Just kdd

  10. I’ve only watched a race or two so I don’t know NASCAR too well, but having read that, it just seems too American for me (I don’t mean anything offensive with that, it’s just how I feel). It seems too much about entertainment instead of focusing on racing itself.

    1. I too share this opinion. I have also tried watching a few races and never enjoyed it. I think it’s something most European’s will struggle to enjoy. The overly American commentators dont help much either (no offence to anybody) plus loads of adds every couple of minutes also ruins it for me.

      1. So I suppose you would be fairly easy going about BBC F1 commentators being criticized by an American as “overly English”.

        1. You must have missed the part where they said “no offence”! It automatically cancels out any insult.

          1. Damn, @aka_robyn, you are right! I blew it on that one.

            And let’s be honest. Any time you have to say “no offence”, you know perfectly well you are insulting someone. Which ironically is insulting to everyone’s intelligence…

          2. @aka_robyn @hays33d I wrote ‘no offense’ to show it was not my intention to offend anyone, but rather to expess my opinion. I realise some people might take offense from it, but that wasn’t my intention.

            I don’t mean anything bad by ‘too American’. It’s just a cultural difference and NASCAR seems like something people of USA’s culture would (generally) enjoy more than us Europeans.

        2. Not sure, but I do get the impression that most of us understood exactly what @enigma meant in using “too American”, so It does the job, doesn’t it?

        3. Certainly, though I would correct “English” to “British” on behalf of David Coulthard, who, being Scottish, would take offence at the former characterisation. Being English, it doesn’t worry me hugely as a feature of the British broadcast, but I’ve always considered it a bit of a problem for the world feed.

    2. It’s too American for me as well…and I am American.

  11. In NASCAR, if a driver hits you unnecessarily, you hit them back. So long as things don’t get massively out of hand, drivers get away with retaliation too.

    How is this considered a racing category? This sounds like road rage. And where’s the line where they’d consider things to have gotten “massively out of hand”?

    Then there’s “The Chase” and the “overtaking”.

    People who are listing all of that as a selling point for NASCAR obviously don’t understand why more involved F1 fans watch F1 at all.

    F1 is about pursuit of excellence, about ingenious ideas for solving problems with “boring” things like airflow, feeding the diffuser, about playing the long strategic game in the race and similar.

    I think the thing that makes is F1 hard for new fans is the fact that you can only really appreciate it once you get really immersed into it, and that’s kinda hard way to get new fans who want instant joy from watching 15minutes of TV.

    NASCAR seems to only be trying hard in the area that concerns “the show”, like points system etc.

    I think, the perfect way to compare F1 and NASCAR as both a sport and fans, is like racing games where one is Simulation and the other Arcade.
    You can like both of course, but it takes a certain level of fanaticism and dedication to learn and appreciate Simulations, especially since they often do away with gimmicks like post-race interviews and flashy videos and commentary and instead focus on the depth of car setup and car handling.

    1. Yeah that’s pretty much what I was thinking.

      drivers get away with retaliation too.

      Specifically, that’s what lost me, and the chase thing? Wow, really?

      I can see why some people like NASCAR, and I have watched races before and enjoyed them, but every aspect seems so…. ugh, bogan.

    2. @ Brace how is one a simulation and the other an arcade, setup is big in nascar it’s not a simple as strap in and go. The drivers are conflicted with oversteer on a constant basis several tracks deal with camber and toe setups being critical like Pocono and Indy plus others. The fact that many tracks have bumps in certain parts and other parts not so much, spring rate balance is then a big part. There are package setups for the varying track sizes and unless you look into the technical portion rather than watching mainstream coverage you wouldn’t know.

      Nascar is similar to V8 Supercars (prior to COTF) and other sedan like car racing just too many ovals in Nascar and not enough road courses.

      1. davidnotcoulthard
        24th February 2013, 10:16

        Well, for the audiance that’s the right analogy, if you ask me.

  12. About the whole steward’s inquiry thing, they give out penalties for everything just the same as in most motorsport series. They have fake fights in the pits (a bunch of rednecks acting like they are going to do something), they say the drivers can race as they please but then hand out penalties the second cars touch, or someone cries after being touched. And then you have the fact that they only race on like 5 different tracks all year because all of their tracks are virtually the same. They just copy and paste a track from one side of the country to another.

  13. Stock cars are heaps of junk; hardly the work of a supposedly top-level racing series.
    The fights are just stupid; I really don’t know why people like them.
    The cars are incredibly dull; nothing exciting about them at all; nothing that makes me go ‘WOW’.
    The lack of circuit variety makes practically all NASCAR tracks the same; in F1, there are the fast straights of Monza, the fast sweeping corners of Suzuka and Silverstone, the stop-start nature of Monaco, the night race that is Singapore, the undulating nature and weather unpredictability of Spa and Sao Paulo, the race from daylight to darkness of Abu Dhabi. All of those features make F1 interesting to me; the prospect of seeing 43 cars turn left does nothing for me.

    1. @xjr15jaaag – I second everything you’ve said: the American’s aren’t winning me over just yet! I still watch Rugby over American Football and European football is just so much better than the Soccer leagues, likewise I still exclusively watch F1 and occasionally Endurance racing & GP2/WSR – NASCAR or Indycar has just never interested me!

    2. The lack of circuit variety makes practically all NASCAR tracks the same.

      Yes, because Daytona is exactly the same as Michigan, Darlington, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen, and Bristol, right?

      The cars are incredibly dull; nothing exciting about them at all; nothing that makes me go ‘WOW’.

      Really? Nothing excites you about a 4000lb car powered by a 900hp engine with steel brakes going 200 mph while surrounded by 42 other cars?

      I’m not even a NASCAR fan, and I appreciate how difficult it is to drive one well. Lewis Hamilton sure doesn’t agree with your opinion…

      1. @wonderduck – the lack of circuit variety concerns the percentage of ovals present in the series. And no, a 4000lb, 900hp car with steel brakes sounds incredibly 20th century compared to a (minimum weight restricted) 1300lb, 750hp (from a much smaller engine), carbon-ceramic-braked F1 car! The specs sound not dull, but very unsophisticated and pale in comparison to an F1 car.

  14. I’ve tried watching nascar a bunch of times, Even went to the 2010 Montreal race & I’ve decided that its not for me.

    The big pack racing is stupid, Even the drivers admit its more of a crap-shoot than an actual racing. When you have 40 cars all stuck together running flat out, where nobody can really go forward unless there pushed from behind & when you know the big crash is just around the corner I don’t see any value in that.

    The road racing’s pretty dull as well, As I said I went to the race at Montreal in 2010 & well over half the race occurred under caution because they were incapable of not crashing.

    There’s also the absurd green white checker finishes where they basically keep extending the race to get it to end under green. If a race is 200 laps then it should end on lap 200, If it ends under caution then its just tough luck.

    1. Also think its completely ridiculous when you have drivers intentionally crashing out other cars & getting nothing but a reprimand.

      And Kyle Busch was only forced to sit out 1 race weekend for this:

      1. That’s how you win a championship in F1.

  15. I Love the Pope
    23rd February 2013, 19:41

    I’m American and I cannot stand NASCAR. If that was the only racing out there, I would never watch racing.

  16. William Brierty
    23rd February 2013, 19:47

    Can I just clarify something? You’re asking F1 fans to watch NASCAR? That’s a bit like asking your rather wealthy, Rolex wearing, Rolls-Royce driving, cucumber sandwich eating, Daily Mail reading neighbour to go and vote Labour. It ain’t gonna happen.

    1. I for one, feel offended at the mere sighted of this article.

      i’m no Brit and I don’t understand your political system , but I understand the gist of you said.

      Rolex wearing and rolls Royce driving! How well put! (Although my personal pick would be a Bentley Mulsanne!)

      1. William Brierty
        23rd February 2013, 20:30

        Well after seeing how poorly it performed on Top Gear I’m staying well clear of the Mulsanne!

        1. Well after seeing how poorly it performed on Top Gear I’m staying well clear of the Mulsanne!

          +1, that’s one of the few comments that’s actually made me laugh! :’)

        2. +1000, it killed James May!

    2. There are plenty of “Why you should watch…” articles. It’s interesting reading about other motorsports from a fans point of view, even if you are not a fan of the sport itself.

      1. William Brierty
        23rd February 2013, 20:26

        I agree completely. I am an F1 fan and love watching DTM, WEC, WRC, GP2, GP3, FR3.5, BTCC and WTCC, but NASCAR? I have always maintained that there are two types of petrolhead. Petrolhead A is an avid F1 fan, and loves all the series I love. Petrolhead A dreams of a Ferrari 458 or a vintage Jag but probably has a rather sensible, German car, or if he’s lucky a Porsche 911. Petrolhead B couldn’t care less about the immersive intricacies of F1, which is why he loves NASCAR. He is also a fan of flared wheel arches, muscle cars, nitrous, V8s, body-kits, fake air intakes, fake exhausts and probably drives a “pimped” Vauxhall Monaro, although he dreams of the Bose 302 ” ‘Stang”. If you wanted to be academic you could assign different petrolheads to sides of the political spectrum; which makes me a right wing petrolhead!

        1. What about hybrids like me? :P . I love Formula 1 and can’t get myself to watch Nascar at all, but I would love to have a 1969 Mustang?

          1. William Brierty
            23rd February 2013, 23:17

            Sorry, but wanting a vintage Mustang still makes you Petrolhead A, I wouldn’t mind one myself.

    3. If you keep sneering like that, your face will stick that way.

      1. William Brierty
        23rd February 2013, 20:31

        You’re about 40 years too late.

    4. Though I agree with the analogy, in no way is anybody being asked to watch NASCAR: it is merely an article highlighting the positive aspects of the sport which may otherwise be largely ignored by us rather wealthy, Rolex wearing, Rolls-Royce driving, cucumber sandwich eating, Daily Mail reading folks. ;)

      I see no problem with the article and it is quite an interesting read, but that said it hasn’t changed my perspective on NASCAR and I think it is too much about quantity over quality and is a rather primative and crude sport, but there are people out there who may be interested in watching it!

      1. William Brierty
        23rd February 2013, 20:41

        You make a good point but if you were anywhere near as old, miserable and right-wing as me, the very presence of an article pertaining to NASCAR would be enough to send you flying into a rage. And just to clarify something, I was not illustrating what I perceive an F1 fan to be, merely a widely recreated stereotype for your delectation.

        1. William Briety Oh I know, I was just quoting you because it was a rather amusing comment! ;) I’m still young and fresh and haven’t decided my political stance yet, but the European veins run deep and I’m just as aghast at the thought of watching NASCAR as you are, I just acknowledge that others may not be so!

          1. William Brierty
            24th February 2013, 10:01

            Really, you’re young? I always thought I was always talking to a fellow Midsomer Murders enthusiast. No offense, but your comments have all the wit guile of someone whose been round the track a few times, and your avatar communicates the slightest wiff of nostalgia. Although saying that, my son is a huge Ayrton Senna fan, despite the fact that he died before he was born. Saying that though, your tolerance is a bit of a give away. Sorry about my cantankerousness, but when I see other people watching, and enjoying, NASCAR I feel I need to shake them, because there are NO upsides to watching NASCAR. End of.

          2. Why thank you, I am actually another one who was born after the death of Senna – I just like the history of the sport! I can understand why people may like watching NASCAR, but I have some confusion at how one can like it and F1 – the two just seem poles apart. Unless of course you are but a casual F1 fan, then I could understand. I do feel it would be a bit like supporting Alonso & Vettel though!

      2. (@vettel1)

        quantity over quality and is a rather primative and crude.

        Wonderfully summarised, though to me the last 5 seconds of this clip summarises it best of all – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AXepRg6j-Q

    5. Why can’t F1 fans like NASCAR? Someone give me a VALID reason!

      1. @cstonehouse – there is no reasoning behind it, you either do or you don’t. I don’t, but there are others, such as the writer of this article, that do.

      2. Everything you see on tv has been choreographed for ratings and sponsopship value, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS, its an entretainment sport, not a competition, team orders are the norm, not the exception. They have had montoya trying to show to the public that you can be good at f1 and not stand a chance at their “sport”, but again he does not win because it would be an UNPOPULAR result, it will never happen (dark reasons here). Have you watched their tiny oval racing? is boring and pointless. They can not race in the rain, no matter how light it is. They only turn to one side for the whole race on all races but 2, if set up is important, where are the good and bad teams? everyone is bunched up in 100 meters! unable to pass each other, there are more reasons, but its enough, I do not know about you, but no thanks, I pass.

      3. William Brierty
        24th February 2013, 9:47

        Well I think that’s something to do do with the fact that the only things that F1 and NASCAR have in common are wheels, engines and Juan Pablo Montoya. Aside from that they really are polarized approaches at motorsport.

        1. and a bit of Jaques Villeneuve too @William even if the both ended rather forgettably :-)

  17. I love both F1 and NASCAR. That being said, the comments about all the tracks being “the same” are somewhat warranted. I live about 2 hours away from Watkins Glen, and I can wholeheartedly say that’s one of the best tracks NASCAR races at. I’d love to see them at more road courses as I feel two aren’t enough. I’ve also been to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Martinsville, and Dover, which are all very different types of ovals, but the action just isn’t the same. The comments deriding restrictor plate racing – the type of thing you see at Daytona and Talladega – are pretty much spot on. It’s really just a matter of survival until the last 20 laps. That shouldn’t be how a race works, in my opinion. As far as driver talent, just like F1 there are great drivers and not so great drivers, so it’s silly to allege the talent level is low. My only major gripe with NASCAR though would be how the races are meddled with so much. There most definitely are caution flags thrown for phantom “debris”, and this is done to try to generate more excitement. NASCAR wants every race to be a major event, with fireworks and flyovers from military aircraft, and it doesn’t need to be that way. Let the drivers race.

  18. As with most sports American, NASCAR is quite uninteresting for me. This is probably the same for anyone living outside of the USA, or anyone who has lived outside of the USA for a while.

    I will fail to understand what is so captivating about NASCAR to viewers.

    Turning left in a Chevy for hours can be enthralling right? Please!

    NASCAR is not only a tragedy, it is also a liability to the world of Motorsport. Many of my non-Motorsport enthusiast friends who took a dim view of racing cars as a sport after seeing NASCAR now think differently after having seen F1.

    How can anyone ever like NASCAR anyway, after having seen F1 ? F1 is a true world sport which is followed by many worldly and educated (non-academic sense) viewers. F1 is more like a celebration of culture and diversity. Gearheads from all over the world unite at race events or people who wake up 3 in the morning to watch races in other continents.

    The average NASCAR follower probably could not answer where which body of water the Valencia circuit faces . Assuming he knew where Valencia was in the first place.

    I will always fail to understand how the nation that sent a man to the moon is captivated by NASCAR.

    1. Liability to Motorsport? Nascar has had an equally rich history as F1.

    2. Have you heard the phrase ‘Each to his own’? That’s why people like NASCAR. I’m a fan of NASCAR and am working towards a BSc in BioMedical Science, so intelligence shouldn’t come into it. HRT: Crap car, no chance of winning. That wouldn’t happen in NASCAR; it’s almost pure driver skill.

      1. Instead of HRTs they have cars that enter and start the race with no intention of finishing it. At least HRT attempted to finish the races, not deliberately pull off after a handful of laps.

        1. @blockwall2 yet again your “facts” are skewed, they do attempt to finish and due to lack of money like HRT for F1, things go wrong in the endurance run and they must leave. HRT is the same with part failures, so yet again the handful of laps they pull out after is due to not having big team money. Something that plagues other motorsports F1, Le Mans, and Rolex for example, yet you string it up as though Nascar is not in the same right.

          However, take the tin foil hat off, Nascar body wouldn’t allow a driver on the track that they knew would pull out during or break down during a race. That is a liability to other drivers, and if you read the rules you might know this.

    3. @ideepak – and I assume this is coming from an American even, comsidering your use of the term gearhead as appose to the European/British petrolhead! As for this:

      I will always fail to understand how the nation that sent a man to the moon is captivated by NASCAR.

      Sadly that doesn’t reflect upon the population as a whole: only very few highly intelligent and well-funded people achieved that feat (although one could say the astronauts weren’t as intelligent as they are made out to be, considering Armstrong’s famous grammatical mistake – “that’s one small step for a man”!). This is not to say there aren’t intelligent NASCAR fans, just that I don’t think it is an intelligent sport.

      1. @vettel1

        Well yes I am an American – hence my extremely unbiased review!

      2. @vettel1 so based on a grammatical mistake that anyone could make he isn’t intelligent or as intelligent as the populus might like to think??
        Yeah, because that strawman theory you have seems vastly intelligent in its own right…

        Also being an aerospace engineer (master’s degree) and using that for space travel as well as working a space craft to the moon, but yeah we’ll go with what you say. You were probably joking.

        1. davidnotcoulthard
          24th February 2013, 10:34

          @vettel1 said “although one could say” , which probably means that it might not really reflect his opinion.

          1. davidnotcoulthard‘s got the right idea from what I meant from that comment.

        2. @magillagorilla

          You were probably joking

          I was!

          The last sentence of my statement was the only truly serious bit; of course there are intelligent fans (intelligence generally doesn’t relate to enjoyment of things) but I don’t think it is an intelligent sport. I actually like the sophistication in F1, which NASCAR sorely lacks apart from in the points system!

          1. @vettel1 You are trying to compare the sophistication of F1 to closed cockpit, full size sedan racing. By your reasoning there is only one other sport that has or ever had the sophistication of F1 and that is LMS. And many other sedan series lack sophistication as well, I think your issue and others is the lack of bends and hairpins in Nascar. At the end of the day that really seems to be the main issue, far too many ovals and I agree if you’d just come out and say it.

          2. @magillagorilla – no, I meant exactly as I said. I don’t like the crudeness of NASCAR which is why I only ever watch F1, LMS (occasionally) or the F1 feeder series purely out of interest in seeing the next generation of F1 stars. I do also have an issue with the lack of bends (which I believe I have made apparent in other comments) but it is definitely a combination of factors. I am just as interested in the sophisticated engineering that goes into building an F1 car as I am the racing itself.

  19. Just a couple of corrections.

    — 36 races in the Cup Series not 33

    — Main body is sheet metal, but the hood & trunk lid are Carbon Fibre (Cup series starting this year) and the bumper-covers are a Kevlar composite.

    — They do have a fuel sensor, it’s just fuel pressure & not fuel level (though that is likely to change with the digital dash rumored to be introduced in the Cup series in 2014)

    — They do have power steering

    — There are stewards/officials and they do make calls for penalties during the race as well as pre/post-race technical infractions.

    — While it’s not “court” per-say if a team/driver does get a points/monetary penalty and/or suspension (not talking about during the race drive-thru/stop-go penalties) they can appeal that decision by taking it to the “National Stock Car Racing Appeals Board” which is a non-NASCAR owned group of people that NASCAR has agreed to follow the rules of (I think it may actually be ran by ACCUS which is the USA FIA branch). The Appeals board is made up of a group of roughly 40 people who are track owners/promoters, former drivers, former team owners, former/current sponsor/manufacture reps, etc I believe 4 of which are chosen by the Appeals Board Commissioner to hear the appeal in a setting that is very much like a court case. The Appeals Board then votes to leave the penalty alone, decrease or in rare cases increase it.

    — 48 is the maximum amount of points you can get per win. 43pt for 1st place, 1pt for leading a lap, 1pt for leading the most laps & 3pts bonus for winning the race. As the person that finishes 1st wins the race & leads a lap the minimum the winner can get is 47pts while the maximum is 48pts.

    — The Chase bonus points you are kind of confused on, the 12 drivers reset to 2,000pts & the top 10 in “regular season points” get 3pts bonus per win in the regular season added onto that 2,000pts. So if a driver has two wins & finished the “regular season” in the top 10 they would start the Chase with 2,006pts. The actual point payouts during the Chase races are the same as the regular season races.

    1. William Brierty
      23rd February 2013, 20:34

      If you were raining down so much truth in regards to F1 I would hold you up as a hero, but instead…(yawn)…

    2. @fisha695 – that actually seems like rather a lot of corrections, but good job on the article @dominikwilde – it is very informative but sadly doesn’t change my traditional, European perspective on NASCAR! The points system appears ridiculous to me: why wouldn’t you just award 47 points to the winner and that would avoid confusion?

      I personally don’t like the crudeness of the cars and drivers (although the non-PR zombies is a good thing) and I do feel it is a quantity over quality sport (having more overtakes in one lap than a whole F1 race is not a good thing in my opinion) but I’m sure you will inspire other, less stubborn Europeans and non-Americans to watch the sport with what is a well-written and humble article!

      1. …I should say also from the look of the points system the confusion is entirely justified!

        1. There is no confusion. The article on here says ‘raising the maximum available for a driver at each round to 45’ but When I submitted the article I typed 47, a mere typing error when the article was posted by the admin on the site. As for the rest of the correction, as far as I can see, it is exactly what I typed so there’s no confusion whatsoever.

    3. I think you’ll find there are only 33 points scoring races. Yes, no sensor saying how much fuel is left. I never mentioned the exact material of what the cars are made of and I checked the points thing before writing, what I submitted is correct. The appeals thing I didn’t go into detail with because an appeals commision is not something that would necessarily persuade you to watch the series, therefore there was no need for it to be mentioned.

      As for the power steering, that’s a simple mistake.

      So not that many corrections and if anything is incorrect, it’s better to email the site rather than mention it in a comment.

      1. @dominikwilde – keep your socks on, it was only observational and I’m sure intended constructively so the readers on the site who are not as well informed on NASCAR as you or @fisha695 are getting the correct information (I am one of these people and so am very thankful for what I have said was a very informative and well-written article). No need for such an aggressive response.

        1. It wasn’t an aggressive, not intended to be anyway. Apologies

          1. @dominikwilde – apology accepted; I should stress that I love the article and good work!

        2. Thank you :)

          I’m new to the game and have never had constuctive criticism or anything like it so I guess I should be pleased if anything. Never gonna move forward if I don’t learn :)

          1. @dominikwilde – yea, usually criticism is well-natured: it’s a good little community! Everybody’s bound to make typos from time to time anyway, I’ve made several million at last count! ;)

          2. I would say that putting out an article generating 168 (including mine) and counting, comments, should be something to be proud of @dominikwilde, it certainly touched a snare there!

            I guess the confusion about the maximum points between even avid followers (and the amount of points paying races) just highlights some of the more confusing aspects you already mentioned!

            Isn’t the amount of races you disagree over due to some double headers?

      2. Dude, I live & breathe NASCAR, I grew up around & working on Stockcars and I live like 10mi from Pocono Raceway. There are 36 Points paying Cup Series races in 2013 and there has been 36 points races in that series since the year 2001. The last time there was only 33 points races in the season was back in 1998 which was 15 years ago.

        The points you listed in the article as far as maximum points are not correct, the max per race is 48. 43 for finishing 1st, 3 for winning, 1 for leading a lap & 1 for leading the most laps; 43+3+1+1=48 not 45

  20. I have always viewed NASCAR as more of a form of entertainment than racing. The multiple passing argument doesn’t appeal to me. It’s like scoring a point in basketball, if you can do it hundreds of times in an event, why should I get excited about every single one that is made.

    1. Americans always prefer quantity over quality. Take their food for example.

      1. davidnotcoulthard
        24th February 2013, 10:49

        Well….they are delicious! :-) . Personally, NASCAR just doesn’t appeal too much to me, though the engines sound pretty nice.

        Indycar, though, is just something that I wish was a bit more international, perhaps by including European rounds – perhaps those tracks “F1 should use – but doesn’t” .(Brands Hatch? Imola? Even the Nordschlife? Perhaps the old Hockenheim, if only the there are still Ashpalt on it? Monza + the Oval? The Dutch track used by Moto GP (You know, the one with “TT” in it’s name)? Le Mans? Paul Richards?). Now, if Indycar is to include all those rounds, Ask Mark Webber about what he thinks about Spa alternating with Paul Richards, but maybe one or 2 of the tracks I listed might just be a good Idea.

  21. NASCAR has always been too crude for my tastes: I like the complexity and top-class engineering in F1. That said, F1 could learn some things from the drivers on how to “be a man” – not crashing into each other obviously but the reigns that sponsorship imposes on the drivers should be released; many people thoroughly enjoyed Kimi Räikkönen’s radio antics and more of that would be welcome!

    1. @vettel1
      Well, aren’t you a marketeer’s dream come true? Do you also believe that F1 is all into green energy if they run through pits on electric power?

      Truth it that NASCAR drivers are more PR robots then F1 drivers, but the difference is that they have different sponsors who have different target audience. Namely rednecks who like seeing their heroes acting like cowboys in a bar brawl.

      F1 sponsors mostly target high-end markets and drivers are expected to behave accordingly, while giving a bit of a wild-card or playboy attitude that the rich snobs just don’t have the guts to live themselves.

      1. @brace – absolutely the target audiences are different, but you can’t disagree that the NASCAR driver’s shackles are much more loose. I for one like to see the driver’s personalities which is a rare showing these days in F1; a shame because Hamilton & Vettel for example are actually quite funny guys.

        And for this:

        Well, aren’t you a marketeer’s dream come true? Do you also believe that F1 is all into green energy if they run through pits on electric power?

        For a start, they don’t and aren’t for a while yet. For seconds, even if they did I am not stupid: they still are belching out carbon emissions from the engines (although significantly less now in 2014): Le Mans already has that as a regulation, but they still have (on the Audi R18 Ultra) 3.7 litre engines – bigger than the current F1 V8’s (although probably more efficient). That all said though, F1’s carbon impact is minuscule in the general scheme of things: the sport isn’t single handedly slaughtering polar bears. And McLaren are now at the point where they do less environmental damage than a lot of other businesses.

        So to answer your (I assume rhetorical) question, no, I don’t. I think that is primarily to prove, as in the case of Le Mans, that the electric power is capable of powering the car solely for some time. But the technology could filter down to road cars, and there it absolutely would have an environmental effect.

  22. i really dont believe that a nascar driver could jump into an f1 car and be quick, with the exception of montoya

    1. @scuderia29 – I too don’t quite believe that: F1 is a huge step up from NASCAR, with much higher g-loads and a much wider variety in the skill-set needed to be competitive. The cars are much more complex and hence sensitive, so you definitely need an element of finesse to drive one which is required in NASCAR but not to the same extent.

      So yes, I think F1 drivers could jump into a stock car and be reasonably competitive, but I don’t think necessarily the opposite is true.

      1. Then why haven’t they? Montoya hasn’t been particularly impressive, and Villeneuve wasn’t spectacular either…

        (Nor was Scott Speed, but he doesn’t really count, does he?)

        1. @kanii – because most drivers tend to try and stay in the European racing spectrum! Most defunct F1 drivers, if they go to any series at all, go to DTM or Endurance racing, in which the cars are also very different but have enjoyed much success in cases (Alan McNish to take one example). Montoya agreed hasn’t lived up to expectations but Villeneuve was never highly regarded as world champions go: a bit like Damon Hill. I’m sure a driver such as Hamilton though would enjoy success (I have used him as an example because it appears he is more adaptable than say Vettel in terms of what classes of cars he is competitive in).

        2. but..look at montoya, he might not be winning championships (then again neither did he in f1) but he is competitive, he’s certainly not cruising around at the back, whereas i think if you took an nascar driver this year and put him in that vacant force india seat he’d be lapped 20 times by the end of the race..and thats if he wasnt in a wall. like @Max Jacobson said, f1 is a huge step up from nascar, sure nascar needs a huge amount of skill too…but the drivers dont need some of the skills that f1 drivers, its a very different set of skills and i believe a young formula renault driver would have more success than a champion nascar driver if they just got thrown into an f1 car.

  23. Nick Jarvis (@)
    23rd February 2013, 20:16

    where can I even watch this in UK on Freeview?

  24. Yawn. Watch world superbikes and supersport instead. The racing is simply too awesome for words.

    1. Not to mention the races only last 40~45 minutes. And you get 2 races for superbikes and 1 race for supersport every race weekend. First round is tonight at Phillip Island.

      DON’T MISS IT !!!

  25. I actually live an hour away from the Daytona International Speedway but I’ve never been to a race. I might go next year.

    1. Thats why I don’t like the big pack racing or the 2-car drafts, Someone screws up ahead & everyone behind is going to get collected.

      1. Couple fans injured in that BTW, Hearing some are in critical condition :(

  26. I’m an American and love F1 and just about any form of road racing. I am not a fan of NASCAR. But the comments here are surprisingly venomous. If something doesn’t interest you, don’t you just ignore it? The opposite of love is not hate. It’s apathy. I think the haters are protesting too much and have some other latent issues going on.Was your father killed by Chevy Malibu?

    Plus the article isn’t saying you should love it. Just consider it. Sheesh.

    1. @hays33d I agree — I think people are being kind of hard on @DominikWilde for reasons I can’t understand. The gratuitous comments about “all Americans” are a bit grating, as well. You might be on to something, though — maybe there is some sort of Chevy-related trauma involved…

      1. Just trying to share something I’m passionate about. If people don’t like it, that’s fine but there are better ways of going about it.

        1. @dominikwilde Well, for what it’s worth, you’ve definitely made me interested in paying more attention to NASCAR. Do you mind my asking which NASCAR driver(s) you support? (I’m just curious.)

          1. I’ve been a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan my whole life, it was his Dad’s famous black #3 that got me interested in NASCAR when I was 4 or 5 years old. I’m also a fan of Trevor Bayne and was impressed with Clint Bowyer last year.

            Travis Pastrana has just started NASCAR competition in the Nationwide series and I’m a fan of all he does too.

            Team-wise, my favourite team is Hendrick Motorsports. Plus, they build cars and engines for other teams so I always keep an eye on what these guys do.

    2. @hays33d Finally someone said it, it is irritating especially some people almost borderline xenophobic or anti-america in their comments. I love F1Fanatic, but the people that make these comments don’t do a board like this any good. Also for those non-americans that feel the need to bash, it is ironic, your conservative attitude and negative response is quite like the American Political system. You have more in common with that of what you bash, than you probably think @ all anti posters.

    3. Exactly my thoughts too, if the comments were reversed and about F1 instead of NASCAR all those people would be flipping their lids & near getting banned for how outraged they’d be that somebody could not like their precious over-grown go-karts. l0l

      1. @fisha695 – yes, but this website is called F1Fanatic after all! I doubt there are very many people on this site that don’t like F1! ;)

        I agree wholly with you @hays33d – although personally I don’t like NASCAR and am a Brit I respect that others may intend to watch it but perhaps just needed that extra incentive to did so that @dominikwilde has provided with this article. Also, the American stereotype of course doesn’t apply to everyone, which is why I am very careful if talking about “American” sports to mention that in general the population has different interests than your average European sports viewer.

  27. The sound of an F1 grid is amazing ! We all agree. But the feel , sound and spectical of 43 old school v8 cars wide open is earth shaking. It takes your breath away you can feel your internal organs vibrate. second only to the feeling of a shuttle launch! For Indy to v8 super cars, from porches to F1 nothing compares to the moment when that grid goes past.

  28. In my opinion, tin top racing will always have its place, but single seaters is what gets my adrenaline pumping.

    In terms of NASCAR, I use to watch it in the mid 90’s religiously and it was entertaining to a point. But after watching 5 seasons back to back, I got the feeling that the series was very 1 dimensional. If you had the fastest car, it mattered naught because if you were in the top 10 with 10 laps to go, you had a shot at the win, and that was mostly down to drafting. The 0.5 mile ovals were just crash fests and the fans really seem to love those.

  29. One of the reasons that I can’t watch nascar live is the huge amount of adverts during the show. You basically get 5 minute advert breaks every 10 minutes. For someone who has gotten used to watching f1 without any adverts during the race the amount of adverts during a nascar broadcast is just insane. It really is insane, believe me.

    Plus the nascar races are mostly just driving around. Only the last 20 laps matter out of the 200. Some drivers even complain if you drive “too hard” too early in the race. In f1 you see hard battles all the time throughout the race and position always mattes. In nascar you are simply expected to give away position if someone faster is behind you. Only the last 20 laps are different. That is because there are yellow flags which basically means the race is halted and after couple of laps the race restarts. So track position is not even closely as important as in f1.

    Not to mention the “boys have at it” attitude means there is tons of unprofessional wrecking going on in every race causing the yellow flags to come up quite often. Someone gets spun around and then few minutes later he drives into that other car on purpose to wreck him and take him out. At times it feels like these drivers are 12 year old. At times it is like watching some wwe wrestling…

    All that being said the cars are sexy, big engines, great sound and when the drivers keep their childish attitudes in check and there doesn’t happen to be advert break at that moment it can be quite fun to watch. Part of what makes watching those nascar races worthwhile is the technical car setup adjusting that goes on during the race. The cars are hard to drive and the race commentators do great job in covering what is being to done to the cars in pitstops. They show the real part of the real car that is being adjusted and explain what and why is that change being made. I’d wish f1 had that too.

    1. Plus the nascar races are mostly just driving around. Only the last 20 laps matter out of the 200. Some drivers even complain if you drive “too hard” too early in the race. In f1 you see hard battles all the time throughout the race and position always mattes. In nascar you are simply expected to give away position if someone faster is behind you. Only the last 20 laps are different.

      Funny @socksolid, much of that would accurately describe F1 in the years before race refuelling was banned again. Cars driving around waiting until after the last pitstop to try and improve a position. Often highlighted even more because their only chance to get past someone would be by stopping one early or keeping out for longer too!

  30. This doesn’t apply to NASCAR but oval racing in general.

    I had plenty of time on my hands last year so I thought for the first time I ought to watch every race that is part of the triple crown, namely the Indy 500, the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Heures du Mans. The Monaco Grand Prix I watched throughout and despite it being one of the less enthralling races of 2012 I enjoyed it. I watched many hours of the Le Mans race (I think around 14) and again I enjoyed it; the spectacle of seeing several classes of cars racing in the same race new and exciting to me. The 500 though I did not enjoy: I viewed it after I had finished watched the Monaco GP and it failed to captivate me in the way the Grand Prix did. For me, seeing cars literally going round in circles was of little interest and the slipstreaming battles just didn’t compare to the challenges posed by the Monaco circuit.

    I persisted though and decided to watch a street course race (just to get a comparison between F1 and Indycar) during the summer break and I actually was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it. So the conclusion I can draw from this is as follows: a) I don’t like the monotony of seeing cars circulating at near top-speed without any major changes in that speed and b) quantity of overtakes doesn’t equate to enjoyment. I think this view is shared by many non-Americans and explains why in general we have never really seen the attraction of NASCAR after having grown up with F1.

    1. and explains why in general we have never really seen the attraction of NASCAR oval racing after having grown up with F1


      And of course oval racing applies to NASCAR!

  31. Abdurahman (@)
    23rd February 2013, 23:28

    Put a top NASCAR driver in a F1 car and they’ll go pretty quickly? Hmmm. Didn’t seem to be the case when Hamilton did that switch with whats his face at Watkins Glen.

    1. That woudl be Tony Stewart.
      Remember that it wasn’t a full-on flat out test though, Just a short demo run on intermediate tires.
      If given a proper test I actually think Tony Stewart would be very quick, He’s won in everything he’s ever raced, Road circuits, ovals & on dirt.

      Jeff Gordon tested a Williams at Indy in 2003 & by all accounts impressed the team with not only his pace but also how fast he got upto speed.

      1. Tony’s a bit too large to be an F1 pilot though.

      2. This is from a different era entirely but Mario Andretti was a NASCAR/Stockcar/Oval guy (even won the Daytona 500) who went over to F1 & not only won a dozen races but a championship too.

  32. I don’t mind you trying to put people on to NASCAR. But I hate the premise and the way you have constructed your entire article. You fell into the old NASCAR is good because they do this, whilst f1 only does this. You don’t need to point out f1’s ”weak points” to prove NASCAR is good. Like saying o nascar anybody can win but in f1 you need to be on the top 3 rows of the grid most of the time. The whole article goes on along these lines and I just think its sloppy and poor writing.

    A simple way of writing this whole article would be – ‘ Watch nascar highlights, the end of the racing is pretty exciting”

    You should try and re-think an article about why we should watch the Australian v8 series.

    1. @lightnin-hopkins V8 series is simple, they have Nissan and Merc now and the car of the future as well!!! I agree with you though on the anti one to boost another, but many seem to do just that who are against Nascar so it goes both ways really.

  33. The fence around the circuit are built like american cars. Poorly.

  34. I’ve tried to give it a go in the past, but have always stopped watching. And that’s usually long after I’ve stopped listening – I have to mute it to block out some of the commentators.

    Most of the reasons are highlighted in the article. Whilst I acknowledge that driving these cars round different oval circuits is difficult, it just isn’t interesting to me. The overtaking/drafting is artificial, and the propensity for large crashes too high.

    The two road circuits, while interesting, are really just a show of how badly most of the american drivers are at them. This is not because they are bad drivers, just that they have very little experience doing it (the same argument could be made in reverse for Montoya and Villeneuve on ovals). Marcos Ambrose the multiple Australian touring car champ very rarely gets anywhere near the top in the oval races, yet has finished 2nd, 3rd, 1st and 1st at the last 4 Watkins Glen races.

    But by far the biggest factor for me is what you labelled the “Boys have at it” philosophy. It’s what you expect of toddlers, not grown men. Having words is one matter, and fighting sometimes cannot be avoided although they should try to. But deliberately running another car off in a dangerous spot is a different matter entirely – and there are no safe spots in an oval. One driver a couple of years ago got pushed off in the early laps, told his team to repair his car just so he could go back out at the end and finish the offending drivers race by putting him into the wall at high speed. Don’t think he got a penalty, but he probably would have if he’d called him a name which ran afoul of the FCC…

    So I can understand it’s appeal, appreciate the skill involved, but the Nascar racing and culture just doesn’t sit with my personal tastes. I find Indy a flawed but watchable medium ground.

    1. NASCAR themselves labled it Boys Have At it, not me

      1. Ah ok, my mistake. Had a quick search of it, seems to be a deliberate policy of the last 4 years, in response to perceived sterility of racing by fans.

        To be fair, the incident I was talking about (Gordon and Bowyer) it looks like the retaliating driver did cop a penalty for it. Fair enough too, given that he took out another driver as well. But he wasn’t suspended, and therein lies a problem with it. I’m sure it wasn’t the only time this has happened though.

        I don’t mind a little bit of elbows out driving, when the worst that can happen is someone runs wide and rejoins. But the policy wasn’t “sort it out if you can”, it’s “get into it lads”, a clear distinction.

        1. But there have been drivers suspended for it, take Kyle Busch for example who was suspended from a Cup series race for something he did in the Truck series.

          1. That was the exception rather than the rule, Most of the time drivers are simply given a rep remand.

            Also for what Kyle did in that truck race. Only having to sit out 1 cup race was way too lenient, He should have been forced to sit out the rest of the season.

  35. Carlito's way
    24th February 2013, 0:39

    There is absolutely nothing anyone here on this website can do, say or write that will make me ever watch a NASCAR oval race. Ever.

  36. Back when I started getting into Formula 1, I was extremely anti-NASCAR. But as the years have passed, I’ve grown to appreciate the cars, drivers and, as mentioned in the article, the specific skill set required to be successful. I do not watch NASCAR. But I will be the first to admit that most F1 drivers would most likely be rubbish in a stock car (at least starting out) and vice-versa. The are two very different forms of motorsport. Each having positives and negatives. Still, my biggest issues remain: the ridiculous sponsorships (*cough* *Viagra* *cough*), the at times childish and immature drivers, the confusing and artificial competition of the points system (‘Chase for the Cup’? Isn’t that called a NASCAR season?) and a hypocritical, headline grabbing female driver.

    In the end, I prefer my race cars to take both right AND a left turns in a race.

    1. Hey, I decided I had to fix your post. It seems you were a little confused towards the end ;)

      Still, my biggest issues remain: the ridiculous sponsorships (*cough* *REDBULL* *cough*) the at times childish and immature drivers like Maldonado and Grosjean, the confusing and artificial competition of the DRS, KERS and “tyre” degradation and a hypocritical, headline grabbing Luca, Bernie, Flavio (a few years back), etc.

      Don’t worry, sometimes I get tired and forgetful, too. ;)

      1. The Next Pope
        24th February 2013, 4:35

        Err.. what’s ridiculous about Red Bull? I don’t get your point.
        Also, that’s why those two drivers you mentioned mostly get penalties. Most do not glorify what they do. You think people appreciate the dangers they bring to the sport?

        1. What’s ridiculous about Viagra? Oh I deleted part of my original comment on accident:

          What if Viagra decided to throw money into F1, buy out HRT and make them a viable team (with Viagra on the car, though). The team is made up of talented individuals who are level-headed and can drive at the front and fight for podiums.

          Is this a problem?

          And with my post below perhaps you can understand where that appreciation came from. NASCAR comes from a gritty background of doing the not-quite-right thing and getting away with it. It came from a time when your neighbor was the person you needed to deliver to faster than the other guy and it was your paycheck and it sometimes was on very dangerous roads.

          Sure you can say NASCAR should grow out of it and there was a time when NASCAR was all pretty boys from the coastal states that never lost their cool and there were 1 or 2 that were aggressive. Then a few years ago the head whatever guy finally blurted out (in a “I didn’t really think about what I’m about to say” sort of way): Let them have at it.


          Formula 1 is open wheeled and does not typically breed the kind of racing that NASCAR does. You can get away with driving 200+ mph grinding on the car next to you and enter the next corner just fine in NASCAR. You touch in F1 and you’re toast. It’s just the difference in culture of an enclosed sedan style body vs. open wheel. You can be aggressive in a bumping sort of way in NASCAR and it’s safe whereas in F1, no.

          It’s just different.

          And “bad” NASCAR crashes happen as often as “bad” F1 crashes. I’m fairly certain Alonso was a foot from serious injury in the 2012 season, no?

          1. @neiana

            “bad” NASCAR crashes happen as often as “bad” F1 crashes. I’m fairly certain Alonso was a foot from serious injury in the 2012 season, no?

            They don’t. NASCAR has a much higher element of danger because of the speeds they race at and the nature of the racing, not to mention the fact the track is bordered by catch fences with dangerous posts.

            Alonso was involved in what had the potential to be quite a dangerous crash with Grosjean but thankfully everyone walked away without injury. I think actually the last time a driver was injured in F1 was 2009 (Felipe Massa getting not by the spring) and the last death of course was back in 1994 with Senna. Massa’s crash highlights the main flaw with open-cockpit cars that NASCAR doesn’t suffer from, but that is about it from where NASCAR is safer.

    2. Viagra hasn’t sponsored a car since 2005 & it’s not really any different then when Durex sponsored an F1 car.

  37. I don’t mind NASCAR but I prefer my wins with champagne instead of Coca-Cola

    1. @fletch they use to do that, but I think stopped due to the image it gave, that and sponsors like Coke and Pepsi needed to be in winner circle for that extra nth of ad view.

      1. Yup that pretty much stopped when drivers started to get sponsorship by various beverage companies.
        Kevin Harvick is a Budwieser driver so he drinks Budwieser, Brad Keselowski is sponsored by Miller Lite so he drinks that, the Coca-Cola drivers drink Coke (or one of the Coke brands), Pepsi drivers drink Pepsi (or one of the Pepsi brands), Red Bull drivers drink Red Bull (well they would except a Red bull sponsored driver hasn’t won in a real long time, l0l), Monster drivers drink Monster, etc.

  38. NASCAR is an American sport in my opinion, true and through. It came out of the “Roaring Twenties” prohibition when the moonshiners did fancy things with their cars to allow them to run faster and carry moonshine. Technically when the prohibition ended, everyone got together and thought: Aww nuts, what good are these cars, now?

    And so they decided to race on a beach to see who had the fastest and most reliable car.

    People who say “I miss when stock car racing was real stock cars” never seem to have understood that NASCAR and stock car racing… was never stock.

    Anyway, I’m gonna watch the race tomorrow. Rather, I’m going to listen to it while I do math homework and then just wait for something interesting to happen before I actually watch it.

  39. The Next Pope
    24th February 2013, 4:31

    Sorry, this still does not convince me. /shrugs

  40. unbelievable

  41. Does this article need an update after the massive wreck that injured fans in the nationwide race today? When you contrive the racing to pack up the cars and race on ovals I guess that’s entertainment, unless you were one of the unlucky 28 fans today.

    1. Why?

      Daytona and Talladega are the two restrictor plate tracks. The restrictor plate is one of the primary factors in what creates the pack racing and while I know of two regular season races at Daytona I only know of one at Talladega. That makes 3 of the (33?) races on the NASCAR schedule which utilize the “pack track” theology. 10%.

      And when considering in F1, more than 10% of the schedule last year was marred by what many people on this forum considered extremely dangerous driving…and in open wheeled cars, at that!

      1. You got your numbers a bit off.

        4 Cup points races (7 if you count the exhibition races too) out of the 36 points races on the schedule are at the Restrictor Plate tracks (Talladega/Daytona)

        3 Nationwide Series point races (of the 33 races for that series) are on those tracks (like you said, 2 for Daytona & 1 for Talladega)

        2 Truck series point races (of the 22 races in that series) are on those tracks (1 Daytona, 1 Talladega)

        So 9 out of the 91 points races across the 3 National Touring Series are held on those tracks.

      2. @neiana – what F1 fans consider dangerous and what NASCAR fans consider dangerous differs immensely though. “Dangerous driving” in F1 is considered as a driver causing an avoidable accident; in NASCAR drivers deliberately crash. And even at that, the accidents themselves in F1 usually have a much lower potential for serious injury to fans and drivers alike due to the safety features in place at the tracks and in the cars, such as run-off areas and energy-absorbing barriers which can’t be implemented at an oval.

        So at a fundamental level, NASCAR is more dangerous than F1 due to the nature of the tracks themselves and the speeds achieved on them.

        1. Actually all oval tracks ran in the top 3 NASCAR series have energy-absorbing barriers around most of the track (a few have it around the entire track though that is costly). It’s called the “Steal And Foam Energy Reducing (SAFER) Barrier”. It was actually co-developed by Indycar, NASCAR and some engineering university.

          The SAFER Barrier is actually regarded as more safe then the traditional tire barriers because unlike with tires the SAFER doesn’t have the potential to “Grab & Flip” or “Grab & Sudden Stop” (both of which can be extremely dangerous), it absorbs the energy while allowing the car to ride along the wall to a stop.

          A similar concept is actually starting to be used in F1 with the plastic Tecpro barriers that are being used at more & more tracks to replace the tire bundles.

          1. @fisha695 – ah, thanks for the info! By the Tecpro barriers are you referring to those that are used in Monaco?

  42. Thanks for the write-up @dominikwilde, its clear that NASCAR brings up a lot of emotion here! Seems there are some that just hate the image, some love it.
    I have tried NASCAR a couple of times, but somehow it failed to capture me.

  43. I prefer the sound of a concert grand over that of a banjo, altho the Beverly Hillbillies theme song is a classic, it’s just not ‘F1’ is it?

  44. I think the big thing that is missed in the comments & the article itself is NASCAR is so much more then just the Cup series. The following info is going to be the 2013 info for just the Touring Series not the local tracks that run with a NASCAR sanction.

    9 Series
    — Sprint Cup Series
    — Nationwide Series
    — Camping World Truck Series
    — K&N Pro Series (East & West Divisions)
    — Whelen Modified Tour (North & South Divisions)
    — Canadian Tire Series (Canada only)
    — Toyota Series (Mexico mainly, 1 USA round)
    — Ministock Series (Mexico; support series for Toyota Series)
    — Racecar Euro Series (NASCAR sanctioned series in Europe)

    198 races, 27 of them being Road Courses.

    Road Course Tracks (alphabetical order)
    — Autodromo Nazionale di Monza
    — Brainerd International Raceway
    — Brands Hatch
    — Circuit de Dijon-Prenois
    — Circuit ICAR
    — Circuit Le Mans Bugatti
    — Circuit Paul Armagnac
    — Circuit Trois-Rivières
    — Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course
    — Miller Motorsports Park
    — Mosport
    — Nuevo Autódromo de Querétaro
    — Road America
    — Road Atlanta
    — Sonoma
    — Watkins Glen
    ***The Euro Series also has an exhibition race at MotorLand Aragón***

    6 Countries have points races;
    — Canada
    — France
    — Italy
    — Mexico
    — UK
    — USA
    *** The Euro Series also has an exhibition race in Spain***

    5 Global Automotive Manufactures represented
    — FIAT (Dodge & RAM)
    — Ford Motor Company (Ford)
    — General Motors (Chevy & Pontiac. Pontiac is dead but some teams still run their motors in the Modified Tours)
    — Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda, the Mazda 6 is ran in the Mexico based Toyota Series)
    — Toyota Motor Company (Toyota)

    And all that stuff is just the Stockcar Touring stuff, so it doesn’t include the Whelen All-American Series (multiple divisions at tons of paved & dirt short tracks across the country, this is the weekly local short track stuff), nor does it include the other series that NASCAR owns/sanctions which are Grand-Am (Rolex & Continental Tire Series), Ferrari Challenge North America (via Grand-Am), American Le Mans Series, IMSA & it’s IMSA owned support divisions(as of 2013), & AMA Pro Racing (just the Road Racing Motorcycles, not the Dirtbike side of things).

    1. – Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda, the Mazda 6 is ran in the Mexico based Toyota Series) isn’t Mazda largely based on Ford technology for the last couple of years though @fisha695?

      1. The Mazda G platform (what the Mazda6 is on) which is also known as the Ford CD3 platform was actually developed by Mazda for Ford. Also as of 2010 Ford has sold most of their Mazda stock (I think they kept maybe 2%) & they are no longer co-developing/producing cars together.

        I know as of this year the new generation Mazda6 is based completely on Mazdas own “SkyActiv” platform for both actual chassis & driveline.

        1. Oh, thats good to know. I hope it brings Mazda back to being an interesting car brand then @fisha695

  45. Really really good article Keith.
    Started to watch F1 races back in 1979 ( what a year ), rapidly became my favorite sport ( Gilles Villeneuve´s fault ) and since then may have missed 5 races at most. Started to watch nascar in 2007 and since then i haven´t missed one race. Today i watch all 3 divisons of Nascar ( trucks, nationwide and sprint cup ).
    In a Nascar race you can watch about everything, racing, strategy with tires and fuel, the set up of the cars ( very quick in few laps or quicker in longer runs ), then you have the cautions and the crew chiefs have to set up new strategies, the atmosfere envolving the races and finnally nascar races are for the fans .
    F1 and Nascar are so much different ( the cars, racing, the tracks ) but i can´t live with out them.

  46. Michael Brown (@)
    24th February 2013, 13:55

    Sounds like the series for the F1 fans of the eras decades ago, who complain about the F1 of today with all its computers, politics, etc.

    1. Not really as Nascar also features a lot of what the older F1 fans complain about with modern F1.
      That been the fact that Nascar puts entertainment over racing just as F1 does with things like DRS & high-wear tyres.

      The stupid pack racing is done not because its better racing but just because its entertainment, none of the drivers like doing it & races tend to become a lottery in terms of avoiding the ‘big one’ & finding the right drafting partner.

      You also have cautions thrown just to bunch the field up, the boys have at it attitude from officials who let drivers get away with intentionally wrecking other drivers just because the ensuing crash & occasional fight makes the headline news.

      The whole chase concept also irks me, Basically only the final 10 races count to the championship & the guy who wins the championship ends up been the one who had the best ‘chase’ rather than the best season. Its just done to ensure the title fight goes to the final race every year, Its totally artificial & makes a mockery of the championship title.

      I used to watch nascar, Used to quite like it as well. However they started to kaing it in the direction of using artificial means & put entertainment & show above the actual on-track racing so I stopped watching.

      Im not the only one who stopped either as TV audience & track attendance has been in decline over the past decade or so as more & more artificial stuff has made its way in.

  47. Just watched my first flag-flag NASCAR race and I have to say it was not really interesting at all. Ended up sitting on my couch for hours without much happening :( also was interrupted by a million ‘side-to-side’ ad breaks. Yuk, what a waste of time!

    1. or there could be a big pile up, like tonight

  48. I always loved the sound!

  49. Watched CART, every race – I think it was at it’s peak during Zanardi and Mantoya days. Right now I find IndyCar in a same position as NASCAR back then, no matter how much I try to follow it, the cars, the drivers, whole series feels fake and boring.

  50. Great discussion. NASCAR is obviously a very polarising sport, especially within a F1 audience, and I suspect the overlap of the fan base is small. I happen to be a huge F1 fan and happen to like NASCAR as well. I like the fact that the cars are powerful beasts, I like the closeness of the racing, and don’t mind that the cars are as technologically advanced as an IKEA bookcase. I think we should treat the sport with respect and appreciate that there is a lot of skill in driving these cars in all sorts of oval tracks – reputable open wheel drivers such as Montoya, Villeneuve, Franchitti, Allmendinger and Hornish have found it challenging.

    I don’t like the excessive cautions and some of the retaliation stuff, but again there are a few things in F1 that i find extremely irritating.

    The Americanness of it is amusing and a USP of the product – I love the pre race rituals, Larry McReynolds accent, the fact that Kyle Busch’s team is sponsored by gunbroker.com, or that some race restarts are sponsored by KFC.

    The business / commercial side of NASCAR is impressive and there are many things other series could learn from.

    1. I suspect the overlap of the fan base is small

      I think the fanbase on the NASCAR side that also follows F1 is pretty large (I’m basing that off of a few NASCAR video game forums I’m on so not exactly a scientific study l0l), though I feel it’s more the younger (as in my & I’m 25) generation of fans & I would say that’s largely based on video games. I grew up around oval tracks but I was exposed to the massiveness of road racing via the Gran Turismo series when I was very young & that really helped me grow to love what came along with road racing be it open-wheel or full-bodied cars and I can honestly say I know a lot of people that have that same experience & they all follow F1/Sportscars (some more then others of-course).

      While on the other hand oval racing/stockcar racing didn’t really exist outside of dedicated NASCAR games (or the legendary Dirt Track Racing series on PC in the early 2000s), so while the circle track fans were getting exposed to the twisty stuff via GT, NFS, Test Drive, etc there really was no similar product to get that younger generation of twisty fans over to the circles outside of dedicated NASCAR games.

      IDK atleast that’s my theory, it may not be 100% correct but I know atleast in my case it is.

      1. @fisha695 I think you are spot on with that video game theory.

  51. Every series of NASCAR has mandated (or at least allowed – and universally adopted) power steering for upwards of twenty years now.

  52. I don’t know if anyone has said this yet but media available for NASCAR is leaps and bounds ahead of F1.

    Let’s start with the webpage. NASCAR’s site is easier to navigate, has more content, and has a database of video that F1 could only dream of. The video that is available is also usually on Youtube and in HD without a pointless and lengthy scan of your computer settings. Futhermore race highlights are easily more than 5 minutes long and aren’t covered up by a song so you can hear the cars, the tires, the crashes, etc. Finally these vidoes are up within hours of the event. F1.com takes weeks and sometimes months to post videos.

    1. In general that is pretty much true @thejaredhuang, but it seems they suffer the same kind of issues about fan videos posted by race attendants as FOM has.

      In the video the fan actually puts away the camera after realizing how serious it might be. I guess it would have been right if NASCAR had asked the fan to take down the footage for now because of the feelings of those injured. Instead they misused the “copyright infringement” one.

    2. Kind of funny you say that about the NASCAR website because ever since the redesign for this year most every NASCAR fan has hated it & even for the past few years it seems like most of us have wanted it to look more like the F1 website. haha

      The one thing online wise that F1 (well I guess it’s the FIA in this case) does right IMHO is put the rules online for everybody to download & see. And I’m not just talking about the race rules, but the actual technical rules too while NASCAR doesn’t do that (for it’s top series) at all.

  53. The reason why F1 drivers haven’t done so well in NASCAR is because first, there aren’t many that have made the transition and secondly, the skill ceiling is too low for driver skill to matter as much.

    Ovals are simpler. Banked ovals are simpler still (less braking). The cars are simpler (4 gears, much slower).

    There’s virtually no shifting other than when you pit, the flat ovals and road courses being the only exceptions.

    The drafting tracks of Daytona and Talladega are deathly boring and require the least amount of skill (the fact that these tracks spawned the most first-time and one-time winners is a testament to that). We only wait for that huge pileup near the end.

    Having a “guest” driver drive your car at road courses is just flat-out embarrassing and something NASCAR should prevent.

    The “playoff” points system is an artifice to diminish the importance of the first 25+ races so people will continue to watch the last 10.

    NASCAR is a branding exercise. Nothing much more than that. I do enjoy watching the road courses though, as well as Martinsville.

  54. Hell no.

    And I’m an American.

    Agree that the couple of non-oval tracks are kind of an interesting watch. For me, the interest ends there. I know that F1 is marvelously, excessively expensive. But the technical and sporting sophistication is tops. I love it for that – $$ notwithstanding.

    NASCAR, seems to me, to be more about the culture of red-state racing (I might get in trouble for that I realize…); crashes – they seem to market those more than the racing; and the absolute futility of trying not to wreck a slippery car (traction-wise) at outlandish pace and with compromised aero (since you’re all in the slipstream 100% of the time).

    I’m not saying it’s easy. I don’t think it is. But I don’t think it’s sophisticated either. And just because something’s treacherous and difficult doesn’t mean you should do it…

  55. I love NASCAR. I totally agree with Keith’s points. It is a different ball game and a different fun thing. I watch it every weekend. I follow Nascar as much as F1. In fact I have taken a drive around in an NASCAR in one of the speedways. It is a beast by itself. My favorite tracks are Talladega, Indianapolis, HOmestead Miami and Daytona. in that order. THe Bump Drafting and the sling shots are really a wonderful thing. I mean. Then there are the small tracks. That is another story all together.

  56. Tomas Andersson
    18th March 2013, 6:34

    I have now started to watch NASCAR from start to flag and I am persistent and trying not to be judgmental since I know that knowledge is key to enjoying any sport.

    That said, there are some elements of highly irritating things that makes it really hard for me to enjoy NASCAR.

    The commentators: What kind of damage has a commentator suffered when he feels it necessary to start every race with some Fred Flintstone/Rabid Monkey screech? “Boogidibogeiboo” or is it “Uggabuggaboo”?
    I am now wise to the man and promptly turns off the sound at the start of the race.

    The commercials: All the time and in every way possible they try to plug things. The constant breaks. After the commercials the commentators do some more plugging. Even the cameras on the cars are sponsored by …

    The yellows: I really do feel that sometimes they call out a yellow for the only reason to gather the cars up.
    And why does it have to be a safety car for every yellow. Often the situation would have sorted itself out, the car with the puncture will remove itself so turn off that yellow and start the racing again.
    The second race this year they had a safety car for a car that ran out of fuel! A safety car!

    That aside I do have some good times in the sofa, running a projector on a 110 inch screen with full surround it gives a real nice experience.
    For a newcomer to the sport it also is a daunting project with 43 cars to learn the drivers names and colours of their livery.

    I do like to mock Red Bull for not having any real motoring connections but the second race this season in NASCAR was won by a sandwich vendor.

    My two cents from Sweden

  57. I have tried playing Nascar PS3 games on Full Race settings. I lasted 4 hours on the controller. When I woke up, I crashed. It is a great sports, nonetheless.

  58. There are a few reasons that, even though I’m American, I don’t like watching NASCAR. First of all I don’t like how they have a pre-race prayer; in my opinion it has no place in sports. Also, it is said that the crashes are the best part. They’re exciting for like five minutes. All the caution flags become really boring. The ovals don’t help it become more interesting. Honestly, F1 is more simple than NASCAR

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