NASCAR on roids!

by Sachin Balagopalan on February 17, 2007 · 1 comment

nascar3.jpg Baseball, the Olympics, Tour De France and now NASCAR ? C’mon this can’t be real. Apparently I shouldn’t be surprised at this. Michael Waltrip’s team was actually the fifth team to get caught before this Sundays big race at the Daytona 500. The issue at hand is some kind of foreign substance that should not have been in the intake manifold. According to reports on the internet internets this illegal substance made its way into the manifold through the fuel system. Apparently this foreign substance is a property of jet fuel and is described as an oxygenate that boosts the octane in the fuel thus enhancing the performance and increasing the horse power of the engine. This latest incident of illegally enhancing performance for a sporting event begs the question - Why?

Ironically the answer to this question is depicted in the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Of course the movie gives us a satirical glimpse of southern stereotype i.e redneck nation but the underlying message in the movie is winning and being numero uno. It’s the fastest who get paid and it’s the fastest who get laid says Reese Bobby to his son Ricky’s class at school. “If you ain’t first, you’re last is another quote from the movie by Reese Bobby. In fact that quote epitomizes who we are as a nation. Winning is everything to us and it is not just sports we’re talking about. We want to win in business, we want to win in school, we want to win that toaster in fact we are a nation of achievers and we would do anything to “win” in our own chosen particular area. We equate winning to being successful at what we do and nobody wants to be a loser at that.

OK enough of this bull shit! Who am I trying to kid here. It’s the money stupid! A decade ago NASCAR was just that a “redneck” sport that mainstream America did not care much about. Now ten years later NASCAR is the fastest-growing and best-run sports business in America - the emphasis here is on business. The networks have come on board and behind pro football NASCAR is the most watched sport on television and in high definition I might add. The network deal is reported at approximately 2 billion dollars and merchandising the NASCAR brand brings in about 2.5 billion dollars in retail licence revenues. I’m not much of a NASCAR fan but I think the sport has lost its innocence forever. Like baseball and football another one of our traditional sporting events has succumbed to the slimy claws of corporate America. What a shame!

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