Racing Myths

By P Wimsett

There are too many myths about racing, but they include the idea that only women win races, cheating still occurs, that all racing drivers make thousands, there are a fair number of drivers or small teams which only make a modest amount of money. The rise of racing video games makes people think that even racing drivers keep their mind active by playing video games – sorry but that’s not true.

What is true is that racers at NASCAR need to be fit in both the physical and mental sense of the word. Also, part of the job–long hours, extremes in temperature and coping with the strongest of G forces in a way reminiscent of being an astronaut.

G-Forces

To survive the G forces, they need a strong level of concentration as well as a huge upper body strength and the amount of care an athlete takes on their body. In cornering, the body encounters 4-6G where 6G is six times their own weight. These forces attack repeatedly during a race, which may last for two hours or more.

Because of the dangers of cornering your instinct is to check your speed when you encounter a bend. This is where the skill comes in. It may be this speed reduction which loses you the race so what you need to learn is how to corner at an unsafe speed.

Racing Gets Faster Every Year:

The truth is that racing gets safer every year. You’d expect cars to get faster and faster, and they could, but changes to rules and racetracks and even regulations on the mechanics of the cars are designed to make them safer. So, in many ways racing has become less entertaining. Many people feel nostalgic for the cars from the 70s and 80s as this has become a divisive paradox in the sport the goal is to entertain or there’s no ticket sales, but also to address safety concerns.

Despite more regular checks people have been found guilty of cheating.

Many people believe that cars don’t even overtake each other anymore. Although it is true that passing is extremely difficult on certain chicanes such as the Monaco Grand Prix, no one has actually regulated that drivers can’t pass each other. That would miss the point of racing entirely. But passing along with wrecks are less common.

It is tricky even to stay close to other cars due what is known as “wake” – the emissions which come out of a car- even affecting the tire performance if you go too near. The drag reduction system helps a bit, but people are prone to criticize it as being an additional aid.

Racing is Bad for the Environment:

Racing is seen as environmentally unfriendly. However, NASCAR are looking into reducing car emissions and planting trees and no doubt other race regulators are doing the same.

These days, Race Drivers are Boring.

People do complain about the lack of personalities in the racing world. It’s notable that many drivers stay away from the limelight. The fame they achieve tends to come from their skill on the track, rather than their charisma. While the NFL and NBA have championed certain causes, they’ve also lost a lot of popularity. The racing organizations have wisely kept their racers politically neutral at least until they retire. But drivers may not lean toward drama in their personal lives. They love what they do and, aside from a few rivalries, they avoid being a soap opera in the public eye.

Too Competitive:

Finally, there are those who complain that today’s world has got too competitive, especially in something like Formula One. Racing is at its core, competition. NASCAR had it’s start in rum runners trying to stay ahead of revenuers. Compared to that, regulated racing seems pretty tame.

It seems like an empty argument though as racing was always about one team achieving dominance. The idea of a level playing field may seem fairer to some. Many team sports have gone to a salary cap for this reason. But in the America’s truly traditional sports, like Baseball and NASCAR money is a competitive advantage. The Yankees will always have the best players money can buy and in racing, where great equipment matters, it should shock no one that the team with the most money to invest is going to win more.

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