The United States of America is a huge country and there are a lot of different ways to travel from one place to another. One of the most exciting ways is through automobile racing. There are hundreds of different racing series in the USA, each one with its own charm. However, one of the most popular racing series is NASCAR. For those who don’t know, the NASCAR is a series of American automobile races where drivers compete in teams for cash and glory.
A NASCAR race is one of the biggest sporting events in the USA and it draws a huge crowd. In fact, a NASCAR race can draw as many as 500,000 people! It usually takes place on a track with a high banking and there are over a hundred different drivers competing in different events. A lot of people have heard of NASCAR, but not too many know much about it. This is probably because there aren’t any gas stations around where the races are held. That’s right, the NASCAR races are held without any gas stations nearby. Drivers have to travel hundreds of miles to their pit stops. There is no convenience store or fast food joint anywhere near the track.
This is certainly one of the most unique aspects of the sport and it has been that way since its inception. One of the founding fathers of NASCAR, Bill France, felt that having gas stations around the tracks would be distracting to the drivers and could potentially cause accidents. According to him, “The idea was to keep the cars on the road and not get into any sort of distractions or tie-ups with the cars at the gas stations.”
Interestingly, France also believed that the presence of gas stations would make the cars “more desirable” to thieves. He felt that with all the stops along the way, someone would want to “strip” the cars for whatever they could. So, they would leave a car unguarded for longer periods of time which would make it easier for thieves to find and steal it.
And that’s pretty much how things have remained. For the most part, NASCAR has kept its small gas station ban, but things have changed a little bit. You see, while some of the tracks still have a no-gas station policy, many NASCAR races are now held at “speedways” which are basically large urban areas with a high population density. Not only that, but some of the tracks have also allowed convenience stores and restaurants to set up shop along the pit road, effectively bringing a bit of American capitalism to the proceedings. These days, it seems that the drivers are more focused on winning the race than keeping their cars on the road.
Still, the small gas station ban remains in place at many tracks. It’s basically a safety precaution and something that was put in place generations ago when there were no distractions, no tweets, no Instagrams, no Snapchat Stories, and certainly no cell phones. It’s a different world today and the rules and guidelines of the sport have to change to keep up with the times. Unfortunately, some people may see the gas station ban as a form of racism. After all, not all the drivers are black, so why should NASCAR let black drivers gas up their cars? While there is no denying that NASCAR has had its share of racial controversies, the gas station ban has never been about skin color. It’s always been about good old-fashioned American know-how and common sense.
No More Pulling Over
Another change that has occurred as a result of technology is that drivers can no longer pull over and wait for the other cars to pass. This used to be a common thing among NASCAR fans because it was so much fun to watch the drivers walk their cars down the straightaways. It was as if the cars had steam coming out of their tailpipes as they speed by. Pulling over was acceptable because there were no cell phones or anything else to distract the drivers. Nowadays, this isn’t allowed because the drivers are obligated to stay in touch with team management and other drivers via radio. It would be easy for them to get distracted by a text or call anyway so they don’t have to worry about hitting the brakes to let someone else by.
This also means that there are fewer stops along the way. Back in the day, a typical NASCAR race would last three to four hours. This was back in the day when there were no distractions. These days, it’s more like two to three hours, which is a shame because there are a lot of cars and they were all designed to go fast! It’s like watching an ice cream truck racing down the road. It’s amazingly quick and it’s fun to see how fast these things go. Sadly, not for long. One of these days, the truck is going to break down and the driver is going to have to pull over so they can get it fixed.
A Whole New World Of Racing
One of the biggest changes that NASCAR has had to endure is the opening up of the sports car world to women. Back in the day, women weren’t even allowed to compete in NASCAR races because they were considered “distractions”. These days, you will see plenty of women participating in motor vehicle competitions, especially as crew members. Women have broken barriers and proved that they can be just as fast if not faster than their male counterparts. This has caused quite a bit of controversy, but it has also given birth to a new generation of racers. These days, you will usually see teenaged girls competing in autographs sessions, sprint races, and even the occasional stock car race. It’s great to see young girls getting into the sport because it shows that there are still opportunities for them even when sports seem like a “man’s world”. Technology has made it easy for even the little ones to get involved in car culture. It’s all about accessing information and following the right paths to get where you want to be. Today, we are much better equipped to deal with unexpected delays and problems which means that even the most basic tasks like getting gas can feel like a stressful ordeal. In this day and age, stress is not a good thing when it comes to racing of any kind and especially not NASCAR. One wrong move or a hasty decision and you could have a catastrophic accident which might leave you paralyzed or even dead. So, always take your time, plan your route, and follow the rules. This is something that France and the other founding fathers of NASCAR would definitely want us to remember.