A lot of people hold the idiotic notion that drivers are not really athletes.
One of the more punch-worthy statements is that NASCAR drivers just “get out on a track and turn left”.
The truth is that race drivers of every discipline rank among the finest athletes on the planet-as well as some of the smartest athletes.
For example, it’s true that Daytona 500 drivers get out on the track and turn left-except that they do it at 200 mph locked bumper to bumper in the world’s most dangerous traffic jam.
Now think about your fastest ride in a car. It was probably in the neighborhood of half the speed of the Daytona boys for most people.
It also likely became a lifetime achievement moment that will be discussed until your last breath as a wild and crazy part of your past.
Now double your speed and stick your car in the middle of 43 cars that are on the very fringe of control.
Make that the very outer fringe of control.
The air turbulence and the bump draft will up the ante on the safe bet that you will wreck on the track. The only things that separate you from a Sports Center highlight- of- the- night crash are insanely good driving skills, a steel will, and a heaping helping of good luck.
So your moment of high speed excitement likely lasted for minutes in most cases; the exception would be felons on Spike TV fleeing justice in a stolen ‘sport-ute’. In contrast, the NASCAR boys are in a dangerous high speed run for several hours.
They have to process information at lightning fast rates. Most of us would not even be able to get out a scream or cry for our mommies in the time they have to react to danger and avoid disaster on the track. Make no mistake about it, drivers are very intelligent people.
The track chatter between drivers and crew is an interesting part of a race. The drivers remain very calm despite the chaos of their situation. They are in the middle of Hurricane Katrina force winds x 2 and they are large and in charge the entire time.
There is actually a cure for uncontrollable skepticism about NASCAR drivers as athletes. There are places that will take you on a race track in an old Cup car and run about 2/3 throttle around the course. It will be enough to gain a new respect for the abilities of these drivers. Be sure to wear adult diapers to avoid embarrassment.
Even so, the experience will only be a faint approximation of the average Cup race because it won’t be as fast and the track won’t be crowded with 42 other 200 mph cars.
Make no mistake about it, these guys are world class athletes.
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CINDY:”See if most could stick out 500 miles of hot, white knuckle hell!!!”
BERNARD:”Well put guys. That makes us realize just how tough Dale was.
DENNIS:”I can’t post the comments about NASCAR here from some members of this society when certain members of our government wanted to pull the funding from the “Army” car. Most of them only consider basketball players with Lamborghinis and ‘trophy wives’ athlete”s.