sports

Is NASCAR a Sport? Learn why

My patience has worn thin with those who claim that is nascar a sport that does not constitute a race and that its drivers do not represent athletes.

People may say this for various reasons. Driving cars is something millions of people do on an almost daily basis, including many users on this website who hold licenses as drivers or own automobiles; therefore, competition driving may seem easy or dull to them.

People probably assume NASCAR race cars are similar to what most of us own at home. That is simply not the case.

At first glance, entering a Sprint Cup Series garage may seem unfamiliar and disconcerting; these cars don’t look anything like what we drive every day to school or work.

These cars aren’t just larger, more aerodynamically efficient, and more costly than your typical Toyota Camry or Chevrolet Impala; they also go faster – up to 100 miles per hour faster for those requiring cold, hard figures.

If a street-legal Toyota Camry can cover 190 miles after leaving the factory, something is either wrong with it or you are doing something incorrectly.

Now, place the 190-mile-per-hour cars on a track like Texas Motor Speedway where they must maintain the speed they are at while turning at approximately 750 feet distances. When turning, drivers will encounter G-force – defined as the force created by Earth gravity – which serves as an acceleration measurement; one G equals 32 feet of acceleration per second.

According to HowStuffWorks.com’s G-force equation, drivers would feel around 3.2 Gs when turning, which is greater than gravity pulling them into corners.

Texas offers 24-degree turns that reduce the acceleration experienced at their top speeds to only 1.9 G’s due to the 24deg of bank placed upon vehicles by banks; approximately one or 1.3 of those Gs will land onto each wheel and keep vehicles on the track.

However, the driver must fight back, being subjected to the force of 1.9 Gs.

Why does this relate to space travel?

Humans require peak physical fitness to withstand such forces for three hours of space travel, which equates to roughly three G’s of force on its passengers during flight – almost an exact equivalent.

Most rollercoasters apply three G’s of force to their passengers for no more than three seconds or so, yet many vomit due to this force being applied against their bodies.

What would it mean for a NASCAR driver who must endure up to three minutes (and sometimes 64 G’s during an accident, like Jeff Gordon in Pocono 2007) of extreme force to just stand on the sidelines and occasionally make left turns throughout their day?

Anyone able to withstand such physical strain on their body is an athlete.

So far we haven’t even reached the crew in the back of the wall.

There’s a good reason why numerous former hockey and football players are now competing on NASCAR teams. Pit crews work as hard as any athlete competing in any sport; their job entails raising half the weight of a 3400-pound vehicle, replacing four tires, adding 22 Gallons of Sunoco fuel into their gasoline tank, and making sure no errors happen within 15 minutes.

Consider gathering six of your closest friends together and creating a minivan for the family.

No matter what your definition of sports may be, NASCAR racing fits comfortably within it if you truly understand its core concept.

Wikipedia defines sport as an activity that follows rules or customs and often serves as a form of competition.

NASCAR racing must abide by a set of rules determined by its sanctioning body (like baseball and basketball within MLB or NBA), with competition between competitors always underway.

One of my friends who plays football once told me that sports require offense, defense, and physical effort from all players involved. While NASCAR racing does feature more “offense” and “defense” than other sports like football or baseball do; their presence remains evident, particularly during final lap competition where each driver aims to beat out another for title contention.

If you don’t like the vague definitions of offense and defense in sports like golf, maybe shunning this sport altogether might help. Can I throw off my opponent when they put it? For the record I believe both sports qualify.)

Joon Song recently posted his latest article Open Mic:

Can Golf or NASCAR Meet The Cut?

in which he defines games as needing the following characteristics to make them playable:

1. Compete against other participants to become the winner as either an individual or as part of a group

2) Skills and physical training needed for success

3.) At least three athletic traits such as speed, strength, agility, leaping ability, and coordination needed for high-level performance should be present: these may include speed, strength, and agility as well as leaping ability and hand-eye (or another physical) coordination abilities, endurance capabilities, and speed.

4.) Engaging in physical or athletic exercise beyond walking or sitting (e.g. running, boxing, swimming, and cycling) can provide many health and fitness benefits–beyond just walking and sitting.

NASCAR does not necessitate me arguing for one athlete over the other when it comes to athletic skills required in an event, yet each skill listed above could be identified at any given point as necessary for its completion. You could try it yourself.

As previously discussed, being able to sustain two to 64 G’s (64 to 2048 feet per second) of force on oneself at any one moment requires great athleticism and extreme physical strain.

Assuming you own or drive a minivan and are football enthusiasts or drivers who believe NASCAR (and any form of auto race) doesn’t count as a sport, you should give it a try at least once. After racing 325 laps around Texas you’ll understand just how physically taxing this race can be; maybe then you can gain greater appreciation.

At this point, however, you should not call NASCAR a sport just because someone drives their vehicle in it – anyone can achieve success at it!

Only true athletes possess the strength, agility, and concentration required to successfully drive an ordinary car.

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Mubashair Iqbal

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