Editorial: It really is a sport!

Brianna LaBrecque

Call me a hick, call me a redneck, call me what you will…I love NASCAR.
Yes, I’m a girl, and I watch “normal” sports as well; football, baseball, and I’m well absorbed in March Madness right now. But, every Sunday afternoon, you can find me in front of my television, watching men drive around in circles.
Now I’m sure there are some of you out there that are saying “That can’t be a real sport,” or “What’s the point of driving 300 miles in a circle?” Nothing? Maybe. But for us avid fans of NASCAR, we know different.
For some reason, we don’t see cars driving in circles. We see athletes taking control of a machine, driving it like us mere mortals could never imagine.
This is not a cruise around the block in your grandmother’s Cadillac. This is a finely-tuned, custom-built speed demon.
At a mere 3,400 pounds, these vehicles reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour and have engines that produce cockpit temperatures of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
After a possible three or more hours in this environment, attempting to manhandle this machine around banked corners and 42 other cars, there is some definite athletic ability involved.
You can disagree if you want, I’ll understand, but there is no convincing me that a NASCAR driver is not an athlete.
I encourage everyone to watch a race. Go ahead and pick the driver with the coolest sponsors, the brightest paint scheme, or the one with your favorite number on the side.
Maybe he’ll win, maybe he’ll lose, maybe he’ll crash on the last lap and that will be the end of an era (Rest in Peace #3). And maybe you’ll find something intriguing that will make you come back next week.
You’ll learn what it takes to produce a racing machine-not just the car, but the driver himself. You’ll begin to understand the terminology used, even though it may sound a little primitive at first. (“Milnar”= “mile an hour” when said by a certain commentator on Fox)
You’ll see that NASCAR isn’t all about a Sunday drive around in circles, but a sport, filled with strategy, complexity and drama. And when there’s a fight to the finish to get that checkered flag, I bet you’ll be cheering, or at least sitting on the edge of your seat.
Just do it…watch one. You might not admit it, but you might like it. And expect me to be sitting in my room, watching every minute cheering for my man, number 29, Kevin Harvick, 2001 Rookie of the Year and Busch Series Champion.
Call me a hick, call me a redneck, but I love NASCAR. Take the challenge and try it for yourself…you may just love it too.