The left turn league, as my brother in-law calls it, has already started what could really be called their pre-season. It is a short pre-season and it ends tonight with the Drive3Copd 300, which actually starts about an hour from the time of this writing. After today's race there will be a calm upon the Daytona International Raceway while everyone prepares for the Super Bowl of NASCAR, the Daytona 500.
The Daytona 500 is the fastest growing sports event, with over 33.5 million viewers last year, FOX is expecting to see closer to 50 million this year. With the exception of the Super Bowl that makes the Daytona the highest viewed sports event in the world. The NFL guys really need to watch their back though because NASCAR is gaining a stronger following everyday.
Why is NASCAR so popular?
NASCAR fans are a different breed than most other sports fans. What makes them different? Loyalty. NASCAR fans are more loyal to a team than any football fan. It has been shown that NASCAR fans are more likely to support their driver, and team, with official gear purchases, as well as supporting their teams sponsors.
Another reason that NASCAR is so popular is because it is an "Any Man's Sport", meaning truly any man, or woman, who can drive a car, can race.
Yes! Danica Patrick is suiting up right now to race the 300, and I would bet that next year she will be in the 500. She has proven her self in the Indy 500, and now she is proving herself in stock car racing.
Now I have to admit that NASCAR has really taken a walk from stock in the last 10 years or so, probably longer, but here is the deal. Back to our talk about Any Man's Race, these cars are literally nothing a normal set of guys with the right tools and cash couldn't do. The engines are stock from manufacturers we all currently drive, Dodge, Chevy, Ford, and Toyota. The engines obviously been highly modified to make them run with more power, but these are changes we could all do. There is nothing under the hood we couldn't do.
The Men, and Women
The most notable thing to me is that drivers in NASCAR are not athletes. This isn't to say they don't go through some serious struggle in those cars for 3 hours of driving. I mean really, think about the last time you drove a car in a circle, pulling heavy g forces while tailgating at around 200 miles per hour. These guys have done their time in the gym, but they are not the freak sports stars you see in NFL, or MLB. They don't have major physical advantages, but they do have heart, and determination.
Let's Go Racing!
So now as the 300 is preparing to fire up, and I sit here with my 1 year old son, I am coaching him on picking a driver, someone he may cheer on for years to come, and will surely have hat for by the end of the season.
I encourage all of you to pick a driver, watch a race, and be amazed.