Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stock Car (?) Racing

I used to be a big fan of stock car racing, went to the local track on Saturday nights and went to the big Winston Cup events quite a few times a year. Then NASCAR decided to “grow the sport” and big money came along, and now the stands are full of twenty-something-year-old yuppies drinking lattes and I don’t know what that is on the track, but they are not stock cars and it is not racing.

I watched the “race” in California at Infineon Raceway for about half an hour on TV today. I think the track is named for a company of some sort but I have no idea what the company does, so the money it spent getting its name on the track is certainly wasted on me. I’m not in the market for whatever Infineon is selling. Or maybe I am but am blissfully unaware of it.

The series is now the Nextel Cup which is not the cell phone company that I use, but Nextel is now owned by Sprint which is the cell phone I use, so I probably should care. Brand loyalty and all that. But I don’t, really, it’s just a cell phone.

They kept talking about Fords, Chevrolets, Dodges and Toyotas but I didn’t see any of those. I saw some kind of strange looking car-like things with wings on the back that all looked exactly alike. If I saw one of those on a street coming toward me I would probably drive up in somebody’s front yard to get out of its way. Anyway, I drive a Mitsubishi.

They kept talking about how many laps were left in the race. What race? On what planet does a race consist of vehicles parading around in single file with no one of them ever getting closer to another than twenty yards? And on what planet does good television coverage consist of showing nothing but the first three cars?

I guess the racing part was that every once in a while the cars pull into a garage-like area and see who can change their tires the most rapidly. Whoever changes tires the most quickly and gets back onto the track first is on the front of the current parade and “wins” the race.

Then the announcers started getting all orgasmic about who was going to run out of gas. Like that has anything to do with racing.

I couldn’t stand the excitement. Turned it off.

America's Cup today

The sailboats actually did race. The Kiwis won the start, rather decisively, but the Swiss outsailed them upwind and were ahead at the first two marks. Then things got interesting. Either the Swiss got careless or the Kiwis did some really agressive and fine sailing and passed the Swiss on the second upwind leg. My opinion is that the Swiss did not cover as closely as they should have done, but the Kiwis are really good and they got a favorable wind shift. It was good stuff.

The end result is that the series is now tied at one apiece.

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