NASCAR. The attraction where cars race around in the same direction in really fast cars and the drivers wore fly jackets and jumpsuits. Oh, and during the race, they are able to fill up their tanks with gas within 5 seconds. That was the extent of my knowledge of NASCAR. After experiencing the sport of NASCAR, yes it is a sport, I could not be more wrong.
In February, NASCAR invited The Quintessential Gentleman down to Daytona, Florida for their biggest race, the Daytona 500! This race is like their Super Bowl and opens the seasons. Yes, it’s different that the 38 week season starts off with the most popular and important race. For the next 36 weeks, these NASCAR teams will compete every weekend!
With the little knowledge of race car driving I had, I just knew there wouldn’t be any diversity in the crowds, in the cars and in the business of NASCAR. My ignorance was met head first when I walked through the line into the center of the speedway to a hispanic family excited to see the jumbotron with cars racing. This added with speaking with Bubba Wallace, the first full-time African American driver in 45 years, and Derrell Edwards, the first African American to be apart of a team to win the Daytona 500, definitely made me realize how diverse race cars driving really is.
First of all, race car driving is definitely a sport. Just like any sport, it takes physical and mental strength. The drivers have to drive around in a hot car for hours, completing laps and going around the same circle at a speed of more than 200 miles an hour. The pit crew is responsible for fixing any issues with the car in a matter of seconds from changing the tires to removing panels of the car that has been damaged in a crash. There is an amount of physical strength that is needed to jack up a 3000-pound car and a mechanically mind to fix a car in such a quick time.
One thing I will say about NASCAR and race car driving, it is an experience and it is an event everyone should experience at least once! From the up-close interaction with the drivers, the cars and the crew to the experience and feeling of being there, race car driving is definitely a thrill. I truly believe minorities have written race car driving off because we were never exposed to it. We knew it was something that was not advertised or marketed to us but NASCAR is definitely changing that misconception. Plus with stars like Bubba Wallace, Derrell Edwards, and Danny Suarez, the first Mexican-born driver of NASCAR, we will be exposed and interested in the sport.
Learn more about when a NASCAR race is coming near you!