Please, don’t hurt me. I’m trying to help you. You’ve been going on with this for far too long. You’re hurting us as much as you’re hurting yourself. You just have to face the facts: NASCAR is terribly boring.
Yes, I understand the challenges faced with maneuvering a car at 200 mph. Try to imagine doing 200 mph in heavy traffic on the bumpiest section of a three lane wide freeway, with a giant wall on the side, plus a bunch of road raging a-holes cutting you off and your boss screaming his head off at you into your Bluetooth earpiece. Oh, and there is an accident from time to time. You better not rubberneck.
The problem is NASCAR really isn’t interesting to watch on television. That is unless someone crashes. Then you get a good ten or fifteen minutes of replays from ten different cameras, and four different speeds of slow motion with two guys that used to race stating the obvious about it. Or, at least, that is what I was able to gather from walking through the living room several times when a NASCAR game was on. That was all the interest I had for it.
The closest NASCAR circuit to me is Kentucky Speedway. They are always advertising for races that feature concerts with country stars. Even for people in Kentucky NASCAR doesn’t quite seem to be interesting enough. People probably go to the NASCAR race just to see the band.
What seems to be the big deal? Why is something that has been around for decades practically ignored by people in my generation?
NASCAR Camry 2007
I think one big problem is the cars… erm… car they use in NASCAR. Sure, there are Fusion or Camry headlights painted on the front of the cars, but they aren’t fooling anyone. If you removed all the badges, decals and sponsor logos all the cars would look virtually the same with strictly regulated carbureted V-8 engines at the front. What happened to homologation in NASCAR?
This brings me to a car I got to drive recently, a Fusion SE with the six-speed manual gearbox. After driving it I told a customer looking to buy it that it was the best all-around car on the lot that we had. He bought an automatic instead, which isn’t. He missed out, because in all honesty the best Fusion out there is the cheapest. The steering somehow feels lighter in the manual version, as does everything else. Since it’s a stick you get more responsive throttle and overall more involvement in driving the thing.
It feels exactly like a car. It doesn’t feel like something trying to be a car (like an older Hyundai Accent, for example). It is modest, comfortable and quiet. It has some of the best build quality Ford has ever offered. And because it is the cheapest Fusion, a first time car buyer could snag up one of these six-speed sweeties and keep it around for decades.
It is a car that I would rather see pounding the oval-shaped pavement instead of a plastic body with Fusion headlights slapped on the front. It would make NASCAR something a bit more relatable, especially if the homologation rules made it so that they had to use the same engines in the cars they sold to folks like you and me. Think about the glory days and when they made the Plymouth Superbird. It could do 200 mph on the oval, and roast the tires in all four gears in your cul-de-sac.
1970 Plymouth Superbird
Unfortunately, the glory days that gave us cars like the Superbird have passed. The engines in NASCAR today are too big and too powerful. They all have to have restrictor plates shoved between the carburetors and intakes to restrict their top speed. The days of the V-8 are coming to a close, and NASCAR might just die with it.
It is a long shot, but what if they started homologating again with cars that have small economical engines that have to have every teeny little bit of power squeezed out of them to break 200 mph, like the Fusion I mentioned above. Why wouldn’t they be just as exciting as the current style of NASCAR? And what if they had guns strapped on to them, and raced around four leaf clover highway intersections, and…
Okay, I got a little carried away. So let me ask you. Are you a college student that watches NASCAR? What do you think would make NASCAR more exciting? If they started homologating again, would you be more motivated to buy the cars that you see blasting around the track?