When I was just a little chap, there was nothing worse than going to my aunt and uncle’s house for Sunday birthday parties because they felt the dire need to watch NASCAR. My dad would always bitch about how we should be watching football, and my uncle would always argue that the races were much more exhilarating. That was his sole argument and I disagreed with it.
Before I get into it, I will say that nothing will ever top a football game for me, but today I stumbled upon a video that is making me come around and understand exactly why a NASCAR fan base exists. What may surprise you is that it was a simple and shaky ten second clip that has forever changed my thoughts on the sport.
They say that the camera adds ten pounds, but it turns out that cameras don’t just make people look fatter, they make cars look slower. When you watch NASCAR races you know that they’re going fast, but from afar it’s quite difficult to tell exactly how fast they’re traveling. I never really respected any of the drivers because it always looked like they were doing something that I could easily duplicate.
I no longer believe that.
The attitude-changing video, which recently surfaced on Reddit, shows a couple of people behind the catch fence at some unknown speedway trying to snap a video of the cars as they race by. It all goes to hell when the well-meaning grandmother with her out-of-place Coach purse up front—who has clearly underestimated the force that these cars have—has a holy shit moment and, likely in an effort to save whatever hearing she has left in those foolishly-unprotected old ears, tries to back away.
She stumbles into a guy trotting along behind her and her sunglasses go flying. Her uncontrollable movements, in addition to the eardrum-shattering sounds of the cars going by, make it seem as if a goddamn tornado just blew through the stadium. I was honestly waiting for the cow from “Twister” to come barreling into that catch fence.
I’m not saying that I’m all of the sudden into NASCAR after witnessing this scene, but I like to believe that I am now on the path to getting the sport. NASCAR is essentially just the equivalent of those terribly dull “you had to be there” stories. To outsiders the sport seems senseless, but I’m sure that even the most outspoken NASCAR naysayer would struggle to say that a race was anything but exhilarating if they had the first-hand experience of getting pelted with random grandma sunglasses in the front row.
On top of all of that, I learned that a surprising amount of speedways have implemented B.Y.O.B. policies, and that’s definitely something that I can get behind.
Perhaps it’s time to look into getting some tickets.
And some ear plugs.