Nascar Auto Racing Organization

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Introduction:

Tires screeching, engines roaring, through the streets they drive as fast as they can to deliver their cargo. All seems well and escape is clear..But then suddenly sirens can be heard blaring in the distance, it’s the law! They’re in sight and within moments they hastily give chase! It’s chaos! Bullets fly every which way, whizzing past the car! However, this driver knows what he’s doing and he drifts around a corner, driving through an alley, and then down the street speeding away; leaving the coppers in the dust. His goal to deliver the liquid gold known simply as booze, would soon be complete. This is the origin of Nascar, a sport brought forth by the 18th amendment, born from prohibition.

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The bootleggers who supplied alcohol had to be good drivers, great drivers, the best drivers around otherwise they’d be caught or killed, the latter often following the former. They were highly skilled and knew where they drove better than almost anyone. These drivers dedicated their lives to their work, getting rich off of the restrictions put on alcohol. However, when prohibition ended so did their jobs. They needed something to do, a place they could use their skills, somewhere they had the freedom they did before! And so June 19, 1949 at the Charlotte Speedway in North Carolina, they held the first officially sanctioned Nascar race.

I myself have never been interested in nascar, but a dear friend of mine Keian Hallmark adores it, or used to. I intend to gather information on and observe the sport to see for myself what it’s all about. And continuing on my friend, he loves to talk about his favorite drivers and he shares videos of success and failure. One thing he said that I feel shows his enthusiasm and equal lack thereof nowadays, is as such, Nascar is a strong motorsport that is disregarded way too often as ‘rednecks turning left for hours’. It has many positive and negative qualities, and where it’s at right now, the sport is a year away from a season where the sport will continue declining or will rise to it’s mid-2000’s popularity. Despite this, I still like Nascar, and I want it to succeed. (Hallmark)

Power Structure:

I’ve noticed that a fair amount of the enthusiasm comes directly from the announcers, ranging from the quirky and random such as, Boogity boogity boogity, let’s go racing you hotdogs! from Darrell Waltrip (Fowler), to more serious commentary such as, Driving a race car is like dancing with a chainsaw., said by Cale Yarborough. I’ve observed that the announcers in any given race generally incite excitement and enthusiasm within the crowd and tell people about things they cannot see. In an article, Dale Earnhardt said, “We can’t just rely on the race to do all the work, It’s important for the production and us in the booth and everyone else to just kind of bring the fan into the experience and make them feel like they’re getting something unique” (Earnhardt). This gives them an important within the subculture as they play a major part in the experience.

The drivers as well hold this role, as I can’t imagine the fans show up just to hear the announcers. Their performances play a key role in the overall tone of the crowd and if a race is terrible it often puts the fans in dissapointed or even booing mood. Now, amongst the drivers there is a crew chief whos job is to make strategic calls, track lap times, and make deals with other teams. Whether to follow the advice of the chief or not is purely left to the drivers discretion, but in response to asking how often drivers do as they’re recommended, I was given the answer, Most of the time, drivers listen to their crew chiefs, though there are exceptions, such as ”fuel mileage’ races, and a driver thinks they don’t have enough fuel to go to the end and they pit. (Hallmark) ,suggesting they play a very strong role in that particular aspect of the power structure.

My research and observation has shown the sport has a very strong, yet very strange, power structure. It seems to come full circle as the announcers and drivers manipulate the fans while the fans manipulate them. A good show ensures returning fans whereas a bad show risks them leaving. Fans leaving ensures a good show to bring them back and when they feel confident and have all the fans back the chances of a bad show seem to go up, causing more to leave again, to later return. Each individual structure can be isolated and viewed on its own, but it’s clear they all share an intimate bond seemingly unique to the motorsport.

Traditions:

Traditions in Nascar seem fairly simple. People like to eat staple foods such as burgers, hot dogs, pizza, and more while they watch their races. They wear clothing to support their favorite drivers including shirts that bear their names and often pictures of their cars, and hats that have their numbers.

The fans are very dedicated to their tradition, and when Jessie Jones, the company that supplied the hotdogs, changed and someone else took over, there was an uproar. (Bernot) People demanded the previous company return and through their dedication the old company did. Finding other such examples has been difficult and interviews have failed to glean anything useful, so I’m afraid that is all I have, though such emotion and effort over something as simple as hotdogs, I think what has been said has said enough.

Language:

Language in Nascar is mostly used by announcers and officials, taking the form of slang and signs. In fact, I’ve observed that almost every cue in a race is a sign represented by different flags and symbols. One simple flag is the green flag, which indicates a clear road or that the race is tarting. Most often the green flag is replaced with a light to simplify things, turning on when it’s time for the race to start. (Flags) The yellow flag is another notable flag, advising caution if there happens to be debris on the road or if a crash is ahead. A similar flag is the red and yellow striped, which is essentially the yellow flag but suggests something is wrong with the road, examples including oil spills, coolant, or small pieces of debris/sand that would affect traction. (flags)

Some slang terms taken directly from the official NASCAR website are as follow,

Camber: The amount a tire is tilted in or out from vertical. Described in degrees, either positive or negative. (Staff report)

Dirty air: Aerodynamic term for the turbulent air currents caused by fast-moving cars that can cause a particular car to lose control. (Staff report)

Downforce: A combination of aerodynamic and centrifugal forces. The more downforce, the more grip a car has. But more downforce also means more drag, which can rob a race car of speed. (Staff report)

This is only a portion of the list and each term has to do with an important aspect of the cars and the race itself. Knowing them can help you understand more about NASCAR. I learned this first-hand after watching a race, and then watching it again after I had studied some of the terms that I had heard before, but did not understand.

Conclusion

After researching and observing, as well as following the interview I was able to conduct, I can see how complex the NASCAR community truly is. From hardcore fans who could tell you almost exactly how a car is built, to casual viewers who just enjoy the races, you can find any kind of fan. Some people prefer to be at races in person while others view them over the television. But whoever they are, they’re all there for the same sport, to enjoy the same races, and most of all; To enjoy the same hotdogs. No exceptions when it comes to hotdogs.

Works Cited

Hallmark, Keian. Online interview. 19 oct. 2018

Report, Staff. Guide: 20 NASCAR-Related Terms You Need to Know. Official Site Of NASCAR, NASCAR.com, 6 Sept. 2018, www.nascar.com/news-media/2017/08/01/news-media/twenty-nascar-terms-you-need-to-know/.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2018/07/14/earnhardt-to-headline-all-analyst-nascar-booth-for-nbc-at-nh/36866539/ Accessed on Oct 21 2018

Bernot, Kate. What’s the Deal with Nascar Hotdogs? thetakeout, 01 Mar, 2018, Onion, Inc., 2018

https://thetakeout.com/whats-the-deal-with-nascar-hot-dogs-1823427690 Accessed on Oct 21 2018

Flags. IndyCar.com, www.indycar.com/Fan-Info/INDYCAR-101/Understanding-The-Sport/Flags.

https://www.indycar.com/Fan-Info/INDYCAR-101/Understanding-The-Sport/Flags Accessed on Oct 21 2018

Fowler, Scott. Where Did Darrell Waltrip’s ‘Boogity, Boogity’ Catchphrase Come from? The Naked Truth. Charlotteobserver, Charlotte Observer, https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/scott-fowler/article152426074.html

https://www.nascar.com/news-media/2017/08/01/news-media/twenty-nascar-terms-you-need-to-know/ Accessed on Oct 21 2018

Bullen, Vivien. What Is the History of Stock Car Racing? HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 29 Jan. 2009, https://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-racing/nascar/history/history-of-stock-car-racing1.htm

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Nascar Auto Racing Organization. (2019, Jun 24). Retrieved February 8, 2023 , from
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