It’s been ages since I watched a NASCAR race but as luck would have it, Sunday was the running of the Brickyard 400 (now call the Allstate 400) at the most famous race track in the world, the Indiannapolis Motor Speedway. The speedway was built in 1909 and hosts three big race events each year; the famous Indy 500, F1 US Grand Prix and the Allstate 400. Of the three, the NASCAR event is by far the biggest. The race was won by Jimmie Johnson.
From distance one may question why an event with the slowest and lowest tech cars is more popular than the ultra high tech F1 machines. The US Grand Prix barely sold 50,000 of the 250,000 seats. By comparison NASCAR sold out the entire speedway. The answer is really simple; NASCAR understands they are in the entertainment business and not the racing business.
A NASCAR event is simply more entertaining to watch. Now some would say what fun is watching a bunch of cars going around in a circle? I can turn that around and say what fun is it to sit at one F1 corner and not be able to see the cars race around the rest of the track? At a NASCAR race, you can see the entire race from where you’re sitting. NASCAR also has more actual racing than F1. F1 is getting better at evening out the teams but for a long time their races were dominated by the team who can spend the most money. How fun of a race is it when you know who’s going to win? There were more lead changes in one NASCAR race than there were in an entire F1 season. The time difference between first and seconds in F1 use to be greater than the difference between first and last in NASCAR. Let’s face it, a race where 10 cars are all racing to the finishing line within inches of each other is a lot more exciting than one car finishing by itself.
NASCAR understands the US market. This is something F1 is still trying to figure out. The US market ranks F1 with Soccer. Sure, it maybe the biggest sport in the world but they don’t care because it’s boring. They’re looking for entertainment, and that is what NASCAR delivers. NASCAR is as pure American as you can get. All the sponsors are American brands, as are the cars and drivers. It’s one of the few events left where they have pastor say a prayer before the singing of the national anthem. God and NASCAR go hand in hand. And we know you can’t beat God!
The Allstate 400 was extremely entertaining to watch. NASCAR racing has gotten a lot more physical, with new terms like “bump passing” where a driver gives his teammate a push from behind to bump him into the lead. It’s a kinda like watching live bumper cars. The cars touch so often that it’s a wonder there aren’t more crashes. If F1 tried this, the race will be over after a few laps because there’ll be no cars left!
The Pace Car Was Faster Than The Race Cars
The pace car used for the race was a Corvette Z06 and it marks the second time in racing history where the pace car was faster than the race cars. The Z06 also paced the Daytona 500 and became the first pace car in history to be faster than the racing field. The Z06 as a top speed of 198MPH. If the car was allowed to race, it may have won. However, I’m not sure how it would do when it gets bumped.