I have come to realize the other day that I’ve been watching NASCAR for the past twenty years. Yes, a fellow New Yorker is watching a mostly Southern sport. I came to realize it after Jeff Gordon announced his retirement.
How I got started watching NASCAR is all thanks to the #28 Texaco Car. My grandfather worked in the TEXACO factory in Bayonne, New Jersey. The driver for the 28 car was Davey Allison. Allison was killed in a helicopter crash in Alabama at a race track where his family was a fixture there. His father and uncle were both retired race car drivers.
Davey was part of the Alabama Gang, and to this day, the legend continues.
Growing up, I have always had a fascination with building things, cars, and etc. So it only became natural for me to start watching it on television. I even became fascinated with the pit stop. A group of six people jump over a wall, change four tires, gas, minor changes, in just under fourteen seconds! Yes, fourteen seconds. Any more time, your driver will lose the race. Furthermore, if it continues, members of the pit crew will be fired, or rotated immediately.
Getting back to TEXACO and the 28 car. There have been other famous numbers and cars in the series. One of them being the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. and the black Chevy #3. The intimidator. Darrell Waltrip and the 17 Tide race car, and even when he won the Daytona 500, Tide laundry detergent became a staple of American families.
In the early days of NASCAR is was race on Sunday, and the car that won, you would go to the car dealer on Monday and buy one.
Did you hear of Richard Petty and the famed 43 car, STP. If you didn’t, please stop and understand what he accomplished in the sport of NASCAR. All these drivers and other contribute so much.
Corporations put their name and image behind a race car driver and team. The air time alone they get on television is priceless, and makes some really loyal followers. While sponsors, drivers, car manufactures come and go, the sport still grows and changes with the times.
After the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. on the last lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001, drastic measures were taken in making those race cars safer. Now when a wreck happens, most of the times the driver gets out on their own power and walks away. Some of the technology has even followed the normal passenger car that we know today.
I mentioned earlier about the Daytona 500. It is the SuperBowl of stock car racing. Actually it is the first race of the season. Not the middle nor the end. If you win the Daytona 500, you have made it. It took the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. 20 tries before he finally won it in 1998. Look it up on YouTube. The clip is priceless.
While I have yet to attend a live race, watching it on television makes you feel like you are there. The dynamic duo of FOX Sports. Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, and Larry McReynolds, can make anyone a fan of NASCAR. Their passion, and even their explanations don’t get boring.
The year NBC Sports is coming back on board. They will have a new broadcast crew, and will offer a different perspective. FOX and NBC split the season respectively. The NASCAR season runs from late February until early November. It is an all year round sport where race cars are being prepared, tested, tweaked, in any way possible to help them win.