Watch NASCAR... really, watch it
Where stock car racing fits in for me.
This post comes from Autoblog Open Road, our contributor network. The author is solely responsible for the content, and any opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Autoblog and its editors.
I love racing. In fact, my love for racing started when I was very young going to local dirt tracks every now and then, as well as spending my Sundays watching Mika Hakkinen & Michael Schumacher grind it out on the many historic circuits around the world. As I got older, I got into Le Mans racing and sports car racing in general. I will admit, that although I got my taste for exhaust at the those dirt tracks back in the day, I didn't really fully embrace the higher up stock car series until I was much older. As a high-schooler, I loved watching any kind of racing and I spent a lot of time preparing my own Honda as a track day toy. I was pretty sure I was going to go to Waterford Hills one weekend on an open track day and some team principal from a GT3 team would be there with some buddies and "discover" my talents. Of course in my head, I would be signed to a multi-race deal on the spot based purely on my ability to masterfully carve corners in a 1997 1.6L Honda Civic (and of course it was only in my head that I was carving them masterfully). It was only once I was fully into the technical aspect of setting up a racecar did I start noticing how advanced stock cars were.
People compare race series on the surface. A lot of european people will see nascar as very caveman-ish. It's just a massive,heavy sled going around in a circle. All the cars looks the same too. So everyone has the same car, and they just slug them around the track. In Formula 1, there is a lot more room to "engineer." The cars are bound by regulations that keep the cars relatively the same dimensions, but when you really look at them...they are very different from one another. In stock car racing, the cars pretty much look the same. They even have body templates that keep them from looking different. Even with the move to fuel injection in recent years, the cars are still relatively far from being the fastest version of a car, but that is exactly the point. The regulations in NASCAR force the team to create the best car they can given restrictions that keep them heavy and powerful. It forces the time of the engineer involved in setup rather than pure design. I happen to like that. The sport asks a very different question than a lot of other motorsports. Formula 1 asks "Can you design a machine that can fly around a track and pull crazy G's?" Stock car racing kind of asks "If I give you this, how fast can you go?"
There is a motorsport for everyone in my mind. I have a very diverse taste in cars, which I think translates to me being a very diverse motorsport fan. I love watching the best drivers in the world whip around F1 cars. I love watching them gruel it out at Circuit de la Sarthe for 24 hours. But there is a special place in my heart for 800 hp beasts muscling their way to victory lane.
- Our favorite reveals from the LA Auto Show
- You can probably get a great deal on a new Fiat
- 2016 Holiday Gift Guide
- Is it time to buy a Pontiac Aztek?
- Fastest-depreciating cars in the United States
- Most and least efficient car companies
From Our Partners
Here's all the footage of Ken Block's Top Gear Gymkhana segment that didn't make the showWatch Video