NASCAR: Five Misconceptions About Racing Amongst Non-Fans

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not always easy being a NASCAR fan, especially if you’re surrounded with sports fans who don’t like or follow NASCAR. Non-NASCAR fans can be quite difficult to deal with at times.

Sure loving the sport and your favorite driver is simple and fun. However, we all have friends or family members who are not NASCAR fans and they simply don’t seem to get it. It’s just people in our lives that make being a NASCAR fan difficult at times. It’s these people in our lives that will sometimes say things about NASCAR that make you want to pull you hair out.

Heck, even if you don’t have any of these people directly in your life, we have all heard these comments before. Maybe it’s one of the ‘know-it-all guys’ in the coffee shop or maybe it’s someone from work who likes to bash NASCAR every chance that they get.

The bottom line here is that the majority of non-NASCAR fans don’t get it. In this article you will find five of the common misconceptions that non-NASCAR fans have about the sport and true  fans are tired of dealing with.

USA Today Sports

It’s More Than “Just Driving A Car.”

There seems to be this belief out there among non-NASCAR (and non-motorsports fans in general) that just because they and the drivers both drive, it’s the same thing.

It’s not the same thing. In fact, aside from that fact that you’re both driving; nothing else about it is even close to being the same.

For starters trying to compare a street car on a flat highway to a stock car on an embanked racetrack is apples to oranges at best. From there we can throw in the fact that the average speed limit in the United Sates is 65 MPH where at most events drivers are easily going in excess of 165 MPH. Even those highway drivers who like to always go 80 MPH no matter the situation, NASCAR drivers are still going at least twice as fast as you (and don’t even go there when it comes to F1 or IndyCar).

Question: When is the last time you took a turn in your car at home and it wouldn’t turn? I  am willing to bet 99.9 percent of you non-NASCAR fans don’t have an answer to that question.

Imagine taking a turn and the car not turning and you having to change lanes to make the turn. Imagine taking a turn and the car just spinning around or going into a turn and your right-front tire blows. Remember last week when you were in a hurry and you cut that person off? I am willing to bet that person didn’t come slam your bumper or put you into the guard rail (and if they did they are probably a NASCAR fan, just saying).

But yeah, you’re right; NASCAR is just driving a car, we can all probably do it.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It’s More Complicated Than “Just Making Left Turns.”

First of all, thank you Captain Obvious.

It’s clear that you watched NASCAR once in your life or you have heard the most common NASCAR joke ever and have concluded that the drivers make a lot of left turns, bravo. Before we get into the left turns it’s also fair to point out that there are these things called road courses and when NASCAR goes there the drivers also make right turns.

The complaint that all drivers do is turn left is ridiculous. It would be like saying all soccer players do is run or that all basketball players do is throw a ball at a metal circle. The sport is made the way it is made, if you break down any sport into its simplest self they would all be easy to make fun of by pointing out the obvious.

Also, I dare you to try to “just turn left” when you’re going more than 165 MPH and that left turn is banked at about 35 degrees and then the next left turn is completely different and is banked at 25 degrees. I mean after all it’s just turning left right? And aren’t all left turns created equal in the eyes of non-NASCAR fans?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR “Isn’t A Sport.”

According to the Oxford Dictionary a sport is defined as follows:

Sport – An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

So, if you want to look at this from strictly a definition stance I would say that NASCAR fits the bill. Driving a racecar is indeed a physical activity and does require a fair amount of skill. For those of you still unsure about the skill needed to driver a stock car please refer to the opening slide of this show for further guidance.

NASCAR would fall under the individual aspect of sport although they do have teams but it’s teams in the true sense of the word. Lastly, the drivers compete against one another for entertainment.

If you’re one of those who don’t believe in things like dictionaries and such you can always look at the fact that NASCAR is categorized as a Motorsport or an Auto Sport. The two keywords in there is sport obviously. There was also a time when NASCAR was the fastest growing spectator sport in the United States. The key there is once again sport.

Now let’s be honest for a moment because we all know why some people don’t want to call NASCAR a sport and that reason is highlighted on the next slide.

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR Drivers “Aren’t Athletes.”

This is one of the biggest pieces of shade that is thrown towards NASCAR and the idea of it truly boggles my mind.

Let’s just look a an actual race-day first and then we can go from there. During a race a driver is strapped into that stock car for 3-4 hours. Depending on the track the surface that they are racing on could easily be more than 100 degrees. If the surface they are racing on is more than 100 degrees it means that the temperature in the car is that high as well. Now let’s look at the fact that these drivers are covered in clothing from head to toe and the only opening they truly have is for their eyes.

A normal person might struggle with these under ordinary circumstances. Now, throw into the mix that they are going more than 165 MPH (nearly 200 MPH at some tracks) and competing with 42 other drivers out there. The physical and mental conditioning required to be at the top of the world in NASCAR is extensive.

There are always exceptions to the rule (Tony Stewart) but the same can be said in every sport. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that Jimmie Johnson was named Male Athlete Of The Year. Additionally, Johnson is one of several NASCAR drivers that run marathons and triathlons in their free time away from the track.

Oh and in all fairness, Stewart is still a pretty good athlete even if he doesn’t look it.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR Is Just A “Redneck Sport.”

Let’s begin by saying that the folks who say this are trying to say that it’s a sport that only has fans from down south. Let’s continue this conversation by pointing out those people are wrong.

Yes, NASCAR has it roots in the south. Other sports were created in other geographic regions but we don’t classify or seclude them to one place now do we. Of all of the misconceptions in this article this is the one that’s the easiest to understand. Since they began in the south there are a lot of tracks in the south and a lot of southerners are NASCAR fans. If you take a snapshot of a NASCAR race it would be fair to make this assertion.

It would also be fair to point out that NASCAR has tracks up north as well (Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania etc.) When they holds a race at Michigan it’s not attended by 30,000 fans from the heart of Texas. The same can be said when NASCAR holds events in New York and California. NASCAR doesn’t have the broad appeal that the NFL has but in all honesty, no sport does.

The NFL is king and comparing any sport to it is a waste of time.

NASCAR pulls in strong ratings from across the country which shows that their reach is far more than states down south. There was a time when NASCAR might have been a “redneck sport” but that time has come and gone. When a sport finds its beginnings in moonshine and breaking the law, the early fans are going to be a certain way.

Today NASCAR has fans all over the country and all over the world.

This article originally appeared on