Nascar Racing is one form of racing where people tend to have very strong opinions. People either love it or hate it. What’s the truth about Nascar Racing? Is it a driver’s race, in the truest sense, or is it simply some cars going in circles?
Many people are under the misconception that Nascar driver’s are very unskilled since the course is simply a very large oval. While it’s true that there are no complicated twists and turns, this actually makes a Nascar race very difficult to win. Because the course itself is so simple and the cars so evenly matched, Nascar requires each lap be near perfect in order to claim a victory. Each minor mistake or subtle error can drop a car back several spots in the grid.
So while this form of racing may appear “easy” or “simple”, the emphasis really lies on nearing perfection in a race. The setup of the cars is another factor which emphasizes perfection from the entire racing crew. The restrictions on the cars in Nascar are very detailed, and are designed to ensure that all cars are nearly perfectly matched. When race day arrives, you can be assured that nearly every car on the track is within a fraction of a percent in terms of their performance capabilities.
The engine outputs are nearly identical, the tires are nearly identical, and the weights of the cars are nearly identical. Despite the fact that one car may be labeled Dodge and one car may be labeled Ford, the similarities beneath the skin are many. This translates into driver skill and pit crew execution being the largest deciding factor in these races. A pit crew must be able to service a car in a matter of moments, or precious time may be lost with the car not in motion. A simple mistake during a tire change or re-fuel can lead to the entire race being lost.
For this reason, pit crews rehearse constantly to make sure that they’re motions are quick, consistent, and effective. They are timed with stopwatches, and compete almost in the same manner as a track and field team trying to shave valuable milliseconds off of their times. After all, ever fraction of a second that a car spends at 0 mph is time that the competition is speeding away at upwards of 160mph. To really appreciate Nascar Racing it’s important to understand what’s going on beneath the surface. If you take the time to watch closely, you might find that Nascar requires more discipline and skill than you’d think.