Saturday, April 26, 2008

stock car racing

Today I was outdoors for about four hours, singing or dancing most of that time. It was sunny and hot and by the end I was pretty wiped out. When I got home, I figured reading the New Yorker or watching Stalag 17 was guaranteed to put me to sleep immediately.

Instead, I found myself watching Nascar. They sucked me in with a little spin-out right after I flipped to the station. Then a few minutes later there was a giant crash, and how could I stop watching? This one driver was coming out of the pits and decide he should pull out onto the track right in front of the whole pack, which was going about twice as fast as him. Oops. One car ran up on top of his car and there were cars spinning out and running into each other all over the place. Almost all the cars were involved. (Everybody walked away - they've got impressive safety gear.)

Sample fascinating fact: Nascar cars have restrictor plates, which limit how fast the cars can go and are blamed for some of the nasty crashes, because restricting speed keeps all the fastest cars squished together in a pack.

Another fascinating fact: While the race is stopped after the crash, the crews can't work on the smashed-up cars. They spend the break examining the cars and figuring out how they're going to fix them when things start up again. Then they bash things around, straighten it up, and stick the body together with tablecloth-sized pieces of tape.

I don't think a race would be nearly as interesting to watch in person - it's really loud cars going around in circles - but with the commentary, the instant replay, and the help of the internet, it was totally engaging. It made me want to watch Cars again.


Sarah E. Moffett said...

From the New Yorker to Nascar? Let it never be said you lack breadth of interests. Does this mean we'll be seeing posts regarding your newfound love for Dale Jr.?

J.Bro said...

My dad and brother aren't hardcore fans, but they like NASCAR enough to have gone to a real-live race. My brother reports that it's dirtier and louder than you can possibly imagine, and that you can't even tell the colors of the cars apart when they're screaming down the track (the reason, presumably, that so many people get drunk in the parking lot and watch the race on their RV's satellite dish).

towwas said...

I dunno, S.Moff, but I might have to make a different choice the next time I buy a steering wheel cover:

Ok, J.Bro - I'll stick to watching it on TV. And on Pixar.