Grindstone Media /shutterstock
This High-Octane sport entails everything from high-speed to high-intensity action, and it guarantees an exciting experience to everyone as the days pass. Despite its global popularity, NASCAR is a motorsport that has received a lot of negative press lately especially from fans of other Motorsports who label NASCAR we take a look if they have a point or if its just the usual competition between sports.
NASCAR is an exciting motor sport, that despite its longer length has more action than many other motorsports. It is one of the few where for many races the whole track can be watched live, and per motorsport has more incident and crashes than almost any other. Its reputation for repetitiveness is misplaced.
There are many reasons that make it both more engaging and exciting than other motorsports and we look at the reasons below as well as a few comparisons with other sports.
Is NASCAR Just Left Turns?
In NASCAR races, cars only turn left, solely, on Oval tracks. Admittedly there are a large proportion of these in the 36 race schedule than other tracks but they are not the only tracks in use, and it’s not all on one surface, which for the record other sports can never claim (more on this below)
There are also a significant portion of races held on road tracks. In 2022 alone there were 6 races held on road tracks and one on dirt. In 2023 there will be a street race in chicago added to this diverse schedule.
Even on the Ovals that NASCAR Race Cars do use are far from boring, leads change considerably more in NASCSAR than in other motorsports and with the introduction of stage racing in 2017 there are even more opportunities for racing to be closer.
An Atmosphere Like No Other
The atmosphere during the races is one of the main reasons NASCAR fans enjoy it. It’s impossible not to be drawn in by the cacophony of noise and excitement. The tracks that are oval are unique to IndyCar and NASCAR and allow the whole race to be viewed for every seat, although at larger tracks like Daytona and talladega you might need binoculars (they are pretty large) We have an article linked in case you are heading to these large tracks.
NASCAR Races are also longer than most other motorsports, and races can last up to 5 hours in length. With that comes hundreds of events and concerts at the race track, and with the Xfinity and Truck racing often held on the same weekend families can make a whole weekend of it.
With families in mind, NASCAR also offers either free or heavily discounted tickets for children at all races and it makes for a great generational day out. This is done to bring younger fans into the sport, but also creates a great family day out as well.
It means you get to experience all of the highlights and thrilling moments as they happen, as well as seeing them repeated multiple times on big screens all around the track. While they do this at other motor racing events, not one does it quite like NASCAR.
Different Race Tracks Types
As We Mentioned above NASCAR uses different track types, Open wheel racing, at least in the Formula 1 tends to stick to road tracks with the occasional street track, similar to IndyCar. NASCAR races on many different types of track as you can see in the table below.
We have also highlighted some of the differences between other popular motorsports and NASCAR to highlight that NASCAR in fact is not boring, and surpases many other Motorsports.
Table 1: Comparison of NASCAR to other Motorsports
|Motor Sport Feature
|Number of races in a season
|Example Lead Changes Per race
|88 (record at Talladega)
|42 times (Monza 1965)
|N/A Timed Events
|40 ( average)
|example crashes / incidents per season
|11 (26 driver)
|unknown ( but plenty)
|Number of different surfaces raced on
|3 – Asphalt, Concrete, Dirt
|2 – Asphalt, Concrete
|3 – Dirt, Sand, Snow
|2 – Asphalt Concrete
|Number of different track layouts raced on
|3 – Oval, Road, Street
|2 – Road, Street
|3 – Road, Street, Oval
|Number of cars in a race
|30 drivers shared between teams
|Average length of race
|3hrs 8 mins
|1 hr 30 mins
|15-25 stages per rally (5km to 60km long)
|1 -1.25 hrs
|Number of different winning Drivers in season (2019 Example)
|5 – 6
AS you can see it terms of number of races, lead changes per race, crashes per race and season, cars and drivers in a race and even the chance of winning NASCAR is ahead of every other type of motor sport.
So the label of being boring only holds if all motor sports are inherently boring, which in our opinion they most certainly are not, and even if reading this as someone who is not a fan of motor sports, then they would have to conclude at the very least NASCAR is the least boring of them all!
Overtakes & Bold Moves
There will be dull moments in any sport of course, as any English Soccer or cricket fan! As a spectator, though a NASCAR race is riveting because of the frequent bursts of excitement throughout the race. Made even more frequent by the introduction of stage racing in 2017. ( more on that here on the site as well) .
This brought the pack back together and ensures that drivers can not get to far ahead. This create the conditions for both plenty of lead changes and different race winners n both the race and across the season when compared to other motor sports- as you can see from the table above.
Incidents and accidents
All these lead changes, and opportunities to drive for the win in NASCAR create exciting racing both traditionally and less traditionally. With so many cars racing for so long there is more opportunity for accidents, and NASCAR has more per race on average than any other sport.
Although injuries are thankfully rare, driver rivally, bumping pushing and even crashes and the potential for crashes adds to the excitement both at the NASCAR track and watching at home.
Compare this to formula 1 with its average of 5-6 drivers winning across a season and its lack of on track incidents and it can be a little strange that NASCAR is called boring but formula one isn’t ( and is more popular)
Many people follow NASCAR primarily to see what happens when these moves go wrong. At such a high speed, big crashes are unavoidable, and with 36 races in a regular season, there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong.
NASCAR Top Speeds are Certainly not Boring.
The way the tracks are configured in NASCAR allows for higher average speeds than most motorsports ( except IndyCar which also races on Oval tracks) Rally of course deals with uneven surfaces at speed which is exciting in itself. Formula 1 does not race on ovals, and while the acceleration is blisteringly quick, and they can hit over 200 mph on straights it is in the corners where the excitement comes, when cars get close together.
NASCAR has the cars close together for basically the entire race, and all this while cars are traveling at up to 200 mph or more,
As a result, oval circuits frequently provide some of the most entertaining races since they are high-speed tracks with a lot of close-quarter racing; this is why many people will willingly watch a race on an oval circuit for hundreds of laps. It’s usually not for the sake of seeing who wins at the end but for the sheer thrill of the race from beginning to end.
Respect For The Drivers
You don’t have to be a racecar driver to appreciate how tough it is to keep a vehicle under control at high speeds. If you’ve ever traveled on a highway, you know how much power you have at your disposal and how devastating even a tiny shift in the steering wheel can be. NASCAR drivers control their relatively barebones stock (kinda ) cars with fantastic precision at speeds three or four times faster than you’ll drive your road automobile.
As a result, it’s easy to admire the drivers while they’re racing, and it’s also simple to see why what they’re doing is so great. Driving a car at 200 mph is never dull, let alone doing it while turning a corner with other automobiles trying to pass you on both sides. And that’s just on oval tracks; the road courses are significantly more difficult for the drivers to navigate.
Gaining The Advantage: Driver Advantage
Because all vehicles have roughly the same power and aerodynamic profile, teams must think strategically to finish first. Of course, the driver must be good, but how they plan their overtakes and defense is crucial if they’re going to seize and retain the lead.
With fewer long straights and more curves, drivers must maintain control while driving as fast as they can. Because stock vehicles have minimal downforce, unlike F1 cars, which have extraordinarily high turning speeds, NASCAR drivers must time their braking and throttle properly to avoid losing any momentum and allowing others to get the jump on them.
It’s terrifying to think of doing this in a car that might easily slide under the massive cornering forces. Knowing there are 40 other 3300 lb cars just a few feet away travelling at 190 miles an hour. Therefore it’s thrilling to watch the drivers accomplish it weekly.
The Involvement of Fans
This is where there is a potential issue for NASCAR. There have been numerous changes over the years to broaden the base of NASCAR fans, but these are aimed ( understandably) at the American audience. While there are successes in bringing in more, and younger, fans they have not spread across borders.
F1, with its huge global reach, has races all over the world, multinational drivers and teams and therefore is easier for people all over the world to feel involved. Although usually less partisan than NASCAR fans, what they may lack in passion they make up for is sheer numbers!
Although decades ago european manufacturers did appear in NASCAR it has dwindled down to just 3 currently, 2 American and 1 Japanese, similarly with the drivers the vast majority are American and unknown to overseas audiences.
It is hard for global fans to become involved, and this may lead to feelings of at best indifference and worst boredom when watching a NASCAR race.
How Fast Do NASCAR Cars Go?
As mentioned previously, NASCAR drivers race their cars at 200 mph or higher. Their vehicles can go from 0 to 60 mph in under three seconds, and the circuits allow them to maintain high speeds throughout the race. The courses have a considerable degree of banking, which allows the vehicles to drive around the circular circuits at a tremendous and constant rate for an extended period.
While both IndyCar and F1 can match these speeds, and even have better turning ability in their open wheel form, they don’t put the pressure on the drivers for as long a race as NASCAR with NASCAR races lasting an average of 3 hours 8 mins compared to indy and F1 length of about 90 mins.
We take a look at NASCAR speeds in a few articles on the site.
Is NASCAR Dangerous?
Participating in motorsports is always risky. It entails driving a race car at breakneck speeds. As a result, every time a NASCAR driver gets behind the wheel, he risks being killed or gravely injured in a catastrophic crash. There have been countless incidents on the race track where drivers were severely injured and even died you can read here for the fatalities in NASCAR.
Even though NASCAR frequently updates its safety requirements, the risks on the racecourse remain the same. As a result, NASCAR, like any other motor racing event, is risky, and a driver must be aware of all hazards and safety regulations before taking the wheel.
When compared to both Formula 1 and IndyCar NASCAR is actually a lot safer.
As you have read from the examples above, NASCAR Stock car racing is far from boring. it may not be as popular as the globally dominant Formula 1, but the reasons for that are not, in our opinion, due to excitement of racing but of marketing and variance. F1 has drivers from all over the world and many different constructors and manufacturers all of this brings in viewers from all over the world as well.
NASCAR has 3 (currently) manufacturers and its audience is almost exclusively North American, and nearly all drivers are also American. This limits the audience.
As we mentioned above, to fell involved with sport, you have to be able to relate to it on some level. For the million of NASCAR fans they have their favourite drivers, their teams and their villains, but these fans are pretty much all American.
The reason some may feel that NASCAR is boring is this lack of connection, but certainly not the in race action.