I’ll admit, I don’t know much about NASCAR. Like most people in the Northeast, I figure we’ll leave hockey to the Canadians and auto-racing to our friends down South.
In any event, racing has made its annual trip to the forefront of the sports page as NASCAR introduces the Car of Tomorrow for 16 races in 2007 and 36 in 2008. The news comes nearly 6 years after the death of racing legend Dale Earnhardt at the 2001 Indy 500. The public backlash prompted drivers, officials, and engineers to reassess car safety standards and design a safer car.
If you saw Talladega Nights last summer, you’ll remember that Reese Bobby told his son Ricky’s classmates at career day that, “Your teacher wants you to go slow, and she’s wrong because it’s the fastest who get paid and it’s the fastest who get laid.” And that mentality reflects the defiant reaction from drivers who don’t like the boxier body, clunkier rear wing, and front splitter designed to provide better balance. More politically correct drivers have publicly taken a wait-and-see attitude and figure they’ll need some time to adjust to the new features. Regardless, the Car of Tomorrow maintains a maximum speed of 200 mph and should allow for easier passing.
Even though I don’t really follow NASCAR, I got a sense of the important place racing holds in Southern culture from living in Virginia for 3 years. Every gas station and WalMart seemed to carry Dale Earnhardt jackets or memorabilia and I saw plenty of people wearing them. So in my mind, NASCAR’s taking a step in the right direction in a sport bent on unbridled speed.
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– Posted by Taeho Lim