The Not-Stock Car

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How come no one has ever brought a fraud case against NASCAR?

The acronym stands for National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing.

Italics added.

What is “stock” – i.e., production car-like – about any of these full-on, purpose-built race cars?

The most baldfacedely hilarious example of automotive cognitive dissonance may be the full-on race car revealed by Toyota at the Detroit Auto Show this week. It is called a “Camry” but that is like calling a nicely marbled ribeye a Tiliapa filet, cooked in virgin olive oil – as far as that full-on, purpose-built race car sharing any meaningful pieces (and no mechanical ones) with the Camry you can buy at your local Toyota store.

There may be some vague semblance of similarity as far as the shape and maybe the painted on (yes) headlights and perhaps the race car has a roof section or some other functionally irrelevant panel that is shared with with the stock car. But no stock Camry comes with a V8 engine, much less a carburetor. Or ever did. 

The race car has both.

And the V8 in the race car is not mounted sideways and does not drive the front wheels, as in the V6 (and FWD) stock car.

There is also a mechanical advance distributor. With a single coil. Good luck finding either under the hood of any Toyota made over the past 20 years. Maybe thirty. Could be more.

The race Camry isn’t even like Robocop was in relation to his human cop origins. Robocop still had the human cop’s brain and some other biological bits and pieces, too. You will not find the Camry’s computer brain – or any computer, for that matter – controlling the race car’s V8.

The race car has more in common, layout-wise and functionally, with a ’69 Chevy Chevelle than it does with any Camry ever manufactured.

Hell, the race car isn’t even a sedan – which in case you hadn’t noticed, the actual Camry is.

And the same, incidentally, goes for Ford and its fake-mongering “Fusion” race car. Also a coupe – there is no stock analog – also powered by a carbureted V8 that drives the rear wheels… whereas the stock car is powered by a direct-injected, turbocharged four, mounted sideways, that drives the rear (or all four) wheels.   

There is also this business of the transmission. No Camry or Fusion comes with a third pedal. They are automatic-only. The race cars all have manual transmissions. Four speed manual transmissions.

I will here give GM credit for having the only race car on the field that is at least somewhat similar to the “stock” car that carries the same name: The Chevy SS.

It – the stock car – is rear wheel drive and does come with a V8 engine; a pushrod V8 engine (which is something no “stock” Ford or Toyota has come with in decades). But it, too, is a sedan while the race car isn’t.

Everything on the field has two doors, mainly because the stock cars NASCAR used to field did. It is traditional. The old school stock cars were based on mid-sized, rear-drive coupes like the Pontiac LeMans and Chevy Laguna, the Dodge Charger and Ford Torino.

Actual stock cars were transformed into race cars, too – as opposed to being purpose built from the floorpans up as dedicated race cars, on a tube-frame chassis that has as much in common with a production car unibody as Hillary Clinton does with Ron Paul.

The problem today is that mid-sized coupes (with bolt-on frames and V8 engines and rear wheel drive) are an extinct species. Hence the transition – which few fans seem to mind – to dedicated race cars that vaguely look like a production car when viewed from 20 yards away and from head-on only.

Back in the days of stock car racing, you rooted for the Chevy to win because you owned one and the car on the track actually had something meaningful in common with yours. Something like a ’69 Chevelle SS was very much like a NASCAR stocker, in fact. It not only looked similar, it was. Driving one gave you a feel for what it would be like to drive the race car.

Or maybe you bought a Chevy because you saw one win. There was a saying, win on Sunday, sell on Monday.

Apparently, this still holds. NASCAR is now a major national sport and a big money operation, whereas back in the days of stock car racing, it was mostly a regional (Southern) thing.

But it was less fake – and more accessible. You didn’t necessarily need a Hendrick Motorsports team behind you to even think about fielding a car. Remember, they were still stock cars back then and if you could find a Laguna – a production Laguna – and hop the thing up and make it through tech you could race. Good old boys did.

Today, pretty boys do.

This is not to disparage their talents. They are fine drivers. But the cars are homogenized and – to this old boy – have all the emotional appeal of a box of Kleenex.    

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54 COMMENTS

  1. Back in the 60’s and 70’s I really enjoyed SCCA racing.. as spectator and sometimes pit crew. And always photographer. In the SPorts Car and Sedan classes, the cars had to be stock factory models, same frame, body panels, suspension design, etc,. and same powertrain as stock. Engine mods were limited to stock block and crank, stock head castings, only valve diameters actually used in production cars, gearbox had to be stock, or at least “homologated” (meaning at least 500 identical versions had been made and were on offer to the motoring public fitted to their cars.. so Mini COULD use the Hewland five speed gearbox if more than 500 cars had been on offer to the public with that option. This led to some fun factory “teaks”< such as Morgan offering the Coventry CLimax as one of the engines customers could have fitted…. that 1600 CC DOHC eight BIG port crossflow engine made quite a few more actual horsepoer than the most common engine, the BMC 1800 CC five poert reverse flow VIH version fitted to the MGB.

    One former associate of mine, up in British Clumbia, ran a Volvo specialty shop, doing only those fine cars. He decided to go sports car racing, looked for a car. Customer brought in a 62 122 wagon, stock, not many miles but a burned camshaft. She felt the cam replacement was more than the car was worth, so he bought it from her for not much… she named the price he had the Cash In Fist. Brought it up to 1969 specs, decambered limited slip rear end, lowered it all round, springs….. ported out that head almost to the water jackets, pin matched the intake manifold, tuned the twin HS 6 carburetters, built his own big tube headers, balanced it to ten grand, mags and Bkue Streaks…. and put it on the province's Sports Car Track. He was fielded with the MGB, TR 3B and 4, I think the TR 5 as well, Porsche 352, an Alfa sedan (the GTA was formidable), and other such things. That crazy statioin wagon outaccelerated, out top ended, out braked into the corners, out cornered all but the Porsche and Mini 1275 Cooper S, and basically owned the track. He ended up being season champion for one reason… though he did not WIN every race, he placed.. and FINISHED< every race for the season, thus piled up more points than anyone else. Most had to tear down their cars for frequent rebuilds. Funny thing, the long standing rivalry amongst the MGB owners was seriously badgered that year, as typically one of them would win. They thought to themselves that the VOlvo must not be legal stock. What to do? They pooled their money and protested him after the last race… had him torn down for tech inspection. My friend laughed, because he KNEW it was legal stock. They figured he nad oversized valves, it was mored above the Works two litre, something… Nope. So he got all their money and they had to double it cause they were wrong. Now THAT is the result of skill as a car builde,r engine prep guy, and a driver that KNOWS the car.

  2. Once again, evidence that not all “progress” is good.

    NASCAR used to be a fun weekend sport, just like Motocross. Now, NASCAR has evolved into a pure race, and the cars used are more like race cars than street cars. It used to be more fun for me to watch in the 1970’s, when the cars were available at the local dealership.

    I stopped watching NASCAR when NASCAR stopped being fun to watch. It was fun because it was different than off-track race driving. Now? It’s Indy Car racing with closed cabins.

  3. I have said this for years ,you wouldn’t believe the beer adrenaline and pointless excitement towards the end of the races . My Dad was a big Bobby Allison fan and I can still remember the local merchant commercials on the local AM stations and the neck to neck finish between 43 and 66. It always raised my ire when these poor little “brand ” fans thought these cars had any semblance of stock . Nowadays especially , why is Toyota even allowed to participate ? I gave up on the so called ” stock cars ” years ago .

    • Hi Kevin,

      Why is Toyota allowed to participate?

      Money.

      Toyota is a huge brand and huge advertising dollars are involved.

      So, naturally, the rules were bent.

      I have no problem with Toyota racing …just with the preposterous use of “stock” to describe the racing.

      • I recall Chrysler having an engine that dominated for a few years. All well and good, let everybody play catch-up. Chevy came out with the 427 mystery engine that left them all in its wake but I don’t think it ever made 500 miles. Somewhere along after really big engines were obviously going to be the winner the rules were changed to a smaller engine and everybody had parity, still pretty good racing.

        That was immediately followed by some manufacturer having a better engine design in their production car that dominated so we began to see various models get hamstrung instead of making everyone else play catch-up. You know this had to be manufacturer pressure and by this time not a lot of teams were running without manufacturer help.

        I did love the old days when people were as adept at cheating as anything else. I recall one guy’s car (back when they ran “stock” frames)who had boxed the frame, hollowed out a mounting bolt for the fuel tank and ran with a frame full of fuel. I’m guessing there was a lot of talk in the shop of potential flaming car but not so much the driver wouldn’t take the chance.

        But evening up the field started way back there in the 60’s in some venues like old USRRC and Can Am. The sanctioning body was never able to keep up with Jim Hall and Hap Sharp’s creativity. Those were some truly great cars and great racing back in those days. http://www.chaparralcars.com/

  4. BTCC british touring car championship series from what i have seen is way more exciting than nascar…..it is a road race series….but the cars are modified production cars…..i really got a kick out of Volvo in 94 when they raced their 850 wagon (94-97 850 Volvos are great cars)…..16ish 1/4 mile ET stock….222 horsepower 5 cylinder turbo…155 mph top speed governed…..in a nice looking box…..

    https://youtu.be/phfsKu4YTaQ

    • Hi Richard,

      Modified production car racing is all kinds of fun to watch – and to be involved in.

      I agree with others here who have expressed the opinion that Big Money interests have turned NASCAR into what amounts to a four-wheeled version of the WWF.

      • That is what every “sport” has turned into. I loved to watch football back in the early to late nineties. Mostly because I played myself. I played minor league football from 05 to 09 and loved it, but watching the NFL had lost all of its appeal before then. Television is the biggest contributor to the demise of all sports. It brought about appeal to the lowest common denominator. NASCAR, NFL, all of them market to women who couldn’t change their own oil or ever dream of catching a football.

        How do people love to watch something that they themselves have and would never–much less even want to–even participate in? Now there are people who watch the super bowl for the ads and women who watch NASCAR because they think “so and so” is such a “bad boy” and so “hot”.

        I know you don’t particularly care for football–as most on this site don’t–but all sport is destroyed for the same fucking reason. MONEY. And the more “celebrity” the athletes become, the more money they get. It is worse than Rome. At least the Romans had to go to the Colosseum to witness the shams. Now it’s all on the TV.

  5. Does anyone know when NASCAR changed from modifying a real production car to building the race car from scratch? Seems like NASCAR did a good job of hushing that info up. My guess is around 1980.

    • Hi Richard,

      It occurred in the mid-80s, and happened because (due to CAFE regs) almost all the mid-sized/RWD/V8 coupes made by GM, Ford and Chrysler were replaced by smaller (and FWD/four/six cylinder) cars. There were no longer production “stock” cars to turn into race cars.

      • SO?? What would have been so wrong with modding them and running the production versions made to go faster? That’s what Sports Car Racing was about for years….. back in the day, a guy could buy a used Sprite 948 cc ragtop, do suspension mods, wear out the electric gopher and make the head breathe, pinm atch the manifolds, fir up a handmade pair of headers and Twin Inch pipe to the back end, add a leaf to the quarter eliptic rear springs and get a siffer front coil, dropped, put 30 weight bean oil in the Armstrong Lever Action snubbers, balance the engine, get some three inch heavy guage tubing and weld up a crash bar, rattle can in BRG and show up at the track. Oh, forgot, a set of four alloy spoke wheels and some GoodYear Blue Streaks. Such a car, well driven, would be very cmpetitive, total out of pocket maybe two grand, all in, including buying the well used street car. Racing a small underpowerd car is every bit as challenging and invigourating as racing a Subie WRX, hopped, and a lot less chance of death of major injury.

  6. I agree with your assessment of NASCAR – totally boring and unappealing.

    I did hear that they went to EFI a few years ago – a primitive version – it took them long enough!

  7. NASCAR has stopped being a racing series and has become a sponsorship series. Watered down and PC to a fault. I quit watching when they started the Chase. My fist thought about it was that somebody was going to win a dozen races but not get in and cry foul. Lo and behold, they’ve tweaked it every year because of all the bitching and bellyaching, and because sponsors pay bonuses for getting in and somebody’s going to go under if they don’t get that money. Cry me a river. Run the full year and add ’em up. If you won twelve races and wrecked the rest of ’em, you’re not good enough to be champion. Hemmingway said there were only three sports. I don’t think he’d consider modern racing to be one of them if he were around today.

  8. Great write up Eric.

    I always felt like the SCCA “showroom stock” class picked up where NASCAR left off. I’m not even sure they still have that class anymore, but you’d never see it advertised/aired on TV if they do.

    NASCAR, like the NFL, has become inflitrated with various statist interests. I’m still an NFL fan, but I focus on the actual games and the physical talent displayed while ignoring the statistry and politicizing. It’s always a good time for a pee break, a drink, or chips & salsa during the anthem, military dedications, or any other of that horseshit.

  9. Eric

    You wrote, “Everything on the field has two doors”.

    No, they don’t. They have no doors at all. Drivers enter and exit the cars Dukes of Hazard style- through the windows. If you take a look at the bare frame of one of these cars you’ll see that where an opening for a door would be in a regular car there is an elaborate structure of steel tubes instead. This is present to protect the driver in the event of a collision where an impact comes from the side. Indeed one of the most likely crashes to injure or kill involves a T-bone between two vehicles. The structure present in a NASCAR where a door would normally be in a regular passenger car is designed to reduce the risk for the driver and protect him some. It also appears to add rigidity to the chassis (not as much as might be thought though- I’ve seen FEA analysis with and without it- for its weight, it is not as efficient at adding rigidity as might be thought). Anyway, none of the NASCAR race cars have any doors.

    I thought of a way to sort out the problem with NASCAR. Make it real. Do this.

    1/. Keep the same engines as presently but allow EFI and electronic control similar to the Australian V8 Supercars. Maximum capacity remains at 358cid. Bore and stroke are free.
    2/. Mandatory ground clearance of 100mm (or if you prefer 4″) at all times. This can be measured by laser across the track or by on-board means or even by analysis of digital photography.
    3/. Dead axles allowed at both ends (hence de Dion would be OK).
    4/. 50 examples of the car must be produced and sold to the public before any example can be raced.
    5/. Regular pump gasoline must be used.
    6/. Traction control, ABS etc legal but all software must be published (put it on a website even, but it must be available).
    7/. All sensors, actuators, computers etc on the car must be available off the shelf at retail level to the public.
    8/. All mechanical components must be available to the public.
    9/. Gearing is free.
    10/. Roller followers or finger followers (a la Cummins) allowed. Valve springs are free (including pneumatic).
    11/. Multiple cams allowed, but they must be in the cylinder block.
    12/. There will be use of infield and even some RHS turns.
    13/. Front wheel drive is OK (good luck if you want to try it- I only added it because Roush wanted to have a go years back and that would have been innovative and interesting to see)
    14/. There will be irregularities and bumps on the track surface, just like a road- we are not going to have the nonsense as with F-1 wherein the track surface has to be dead flat.
    15/. No wings allowed. Spoilers permitted.
    16/. Body shape shall be stock in silhouette and as supplied to public by manufacturer. Alterations permitted if homologated by sale of 20 evolution items to public. Note that manufacturer status is not restricted to the ultra big manufacturers.
    17/. The cars remain as nominal three or four seaters (although I would settle for three). Leave the engine in front. Allow the driver to be on the centreline for a little more protection.
    18/. Mandate a nominal payload (for example, a few slabs of beer and a suitcase) to keep the internal volumes of the car reasonable (we do not want Le Mans prototypes being developed, those are for Le Mans).
    19/. Feeder classes with lower performances would be based on the aforementioned rules, albeit with more restrictions.

    Now, I recon that would do the trick. Here is why.

    A road car is not a good platform to build a race car upon. It is expensive to convert it and if it suffers any sort of racing accident it is likely uneconomic to repair. A tube frame car is far superior in this respect and not at all illegal on the road.

    The largish pushrod engines are supported by an awesome US domestic industry of independent engine builders and component suppliers already. They are simple and far cheaper to build and develop than, say, a turbocharged equivalent of smaller capacity. Best of all, their power output is controlled by atmospheric pressure and the properties of gasoline. We shall be limited to street gasoline supplied by the track on the day. You guys have many, many good sprint car engine builders and the like who could be enticed into this.

    Pneumatic valve springs would reduce the cost of the valvetrain maintenance considerably. I know this from experience and also from what Warren Johnson explained to me when I visited his facility.

    Since the US domestic manufacturers by and large do not produce suitable vehicles for NASCAR style racing, we shall allow other manufacturing enterprises domiciled within the US to step up to the plate and do it instead. There are several who could so do already. Others would be encouraged to follow. Two things would occur. First, such vehicles would become available to the public (including other racers, who could join the competition thus we are promoting bigger fields by including privateers). Secondly, we are promoting a new generation of legendary motorcars to be created and cherished. This is how the like of Porsche, Ferrari etc got established. Time the USA started building a few of the types of cars it was once respected for- long distance tourers and muscle cars. By the way, do not underestimate what this could do for other forms of racing classes in the US. Drag racing come to mind.

    The move to encourage others to build race cars for this and other classes is vital as the US domestic manufacturers are evolving away from building the types of cars suitable to race. A real issue with mass manufacturers getting into the sport is that they come to dominate it with money and influence. This chases out the grass roots racers and the innovators. The risk is that the mass manufactures have the habit of destroying the sport and wrecking a class, then departing suddenly for their own random reasons. They have no loyalty really. Then the sport is in real trouble for years to come. Some classes cease and never reappear. Also it is a good idea to insulate from the mass manufactures since they won’t all be around after the next financial collapse.

    Sione

  10. Not to steal your thunder Eric but I have been making the same argument – there is nothing stock about stock car racing – for the last two decades.

    As other posters have noted it is indeed about it being Stock Car Racing Inc. and the money more than it is about the original purpose – the race itself and why men wanted to do it.

    The same can be said about other activities like “Practical” pistol shooting.

  11. Spec Racer NASCAR is what it’s devolved to. Both SCCA and NASA offer true racing of real cars by real people. It’s more affordable than you might think. Get rid of the bass boat or beach condo and go racing. I don’t have time to watch the pretty boys.

  12. One of the reasons car companies got into NASCAR and auto racing at large is that racing served as a test bed for New and improved automotive technologies, as well as to showcase their engineering skills. As an Oldsmobile guy, I recall that lessons learned in stock car racing helped improve the storied Olds Rocket engine to be more powerful and reliable. After all, an engine that could handle the rigors of competition could surely handle the demands of street driving.

    Also, many notable street engines, like the 426 Hemi and Boss engines, were first used in racing.

    But with NASCAR racing cars of today so far removed from production cars, how is that happening?

  13. Hi all And Eric! Been readin your writing for awhile. Thanks Eric! As soon as I can donate to your writing I will. Any ways To watch real racing go to the quarter and eighth mile tracks in the country! Nascar sux. Next up driverless car racing that aughta be fun . R Linde

      • We had a great local track (RIP Illiana Speedway 1947-2015) a paved half mile outer track and quarter mile inner track. In spite of extraordinary effort on the part of the final owner, it succumbed to the many things closing tracks all around the US. It was the last short track in the Chicago area.

        One of the fun things they would do to mix things up was the race anything races. As long as a vehicle passed a basic safety check (have no idea how this got past the insurance mafia) you could be in. One of my high school teachers entered his summer employer’s cement mixer (with their blessing). It was pretty funny watching the motley crew of vehicles going around that track, even though that mixer probably never went over 25 mph or so. They were also famous for the old school bus races, one of my high school friends drove a 36 year old former church bus (the church name still painted on the sides). Don’t know how many times that bus ended up on one of its sides. It was hard to find bus mirrors in the local junkyards, as they were quickly bought up and destroyed on that track.

        They of course had “serious” racing too. Even though it was a northern track, a few NASCAR racers cut their teeth on this track in the 70’s. Brett Sontag (ASA 2004 rookie of the year) was probably the last well known driver that often raced here.

        • The game across the nation is for developers to purchase land near a track. Then build just enough homes to attract people with the lower price of being near the track and wait. These buyers knowing full well they got a lower price because of the noise from the track then complain and complain and complain until the track is forced to shut down. Then they and the developer cashes in.

          Meanwhile when some people street race the demand will be to take it to the track.

          • Yup that was the story here. Out in the country when it opened in the 1940’s, it started as a motorcycle track (owned by the local Harley dealer) and get this, an airstrip! It was paved in the 60’s and the story is one of the last airplanes was traded for the tracks lights. But the suburbs grew around it, a big park was built just to its one side. It got on the town’s radar as the place to enlarge the park. So its becoming a park……

  14. If we want to sue NASCAR it should be for too long, too boring races, namby pamby drivers (more later) and commentary that reminds one of Hee Haw. Two hundred laps of waiting for the last fifty, 20 times a season, gets old.
    Imagine a ‘modern’ car on a race track. Cornering with wide tires would likely buckle the chassis. A touch on the fender would total the car. Too many bumps on the bumper would bankrupt the owner just having to replace all those mandatory backup cameras.
    One thing NASCAR needs to do is eliminate restrictor plates and admit the cars are too fast for some tracks. Bite the bullet and use one of the existing chicanes at Daytona and Talladega.
    Several years ago I recall NASCAR drivers complaining about how slippery the tires were at the Las Vegas race. That same day Dave Despain interviewed Sterling Moss on SpeedTV (where for art thou Speed?). Moss described winning the Mille Miglia one year in the late 50’s or maybe 1960. One thousand mile over Italian public roads, a too low roll bar, just a seat belt and drum brakes that worked half the time. All in ten hours! Moss, Hawthorn, Ascari et al didn’t win races by staying in someone’s draft for 495 miles.

  15. This is why I watch IMSA, although I wish they did more short races. 24 hours to watch a race gets a little dull around hour 12. The idea that super-exotics and basic track day cars are on the same track at the same time has a kind of Hanna-Barbera Wacky Races feel to it, where anything goes. Oh sure, they have as many rules as NASCAR but not as blatantly obvious as to make the only differences between cars cosmetic. And the old win on Sunday, sell on Monday must have worked too, since seeing Audi sweep the top 3 spots at LeMans for years got me to take a real hard look at the TDIs.

  16. NASCAR, like so many other aspects of society, has been coopted by the money people. They monetized our southern past time. No more Battle Flags, real country boys, or real winning. The whole thing is staged to maximize advertising time. That was not the unintended consequence of the restrictor plate, and the computers now. The purpose of bunching up the racers is to keep us watching because nobody can get far enough out front to capture the race. Hence, we stare at the boob tube until the end.
    Exactly the same strategy is seen in pro-football, and that has been effectively destroyed by the same money people. The game is managed by the referees, fouls, players, timeouts, etc. to stop runaway scores and keep the game going until the TV time runs out.
    All this was presaged on TV by Gorgeous George and Friday Night Wrestling. He went away, and so will NASCAR.
    Do not believe it, just look at RIR. They had to remove vast number of empty seats from the old fair grounds track because the camera revealed the massive fan apathy.
    The money people, along with their syncopates in government, ruin everything they can get their hands on…
    2005 Passat TDI
    1988 Citroen 2CV6

    • Hi Jack,

      I’m with you, amigo.

      I understand the need to make money, but it shouldn’t be just about making money.

      I follow the same rule here. I could whore this joint out – purvey “conservative” slop all day, every day – and be a millionaire. But that’s not what I’m about.

      Too bad racing isn’t that way any longer.

      • Legitimate value added should be profitable. No objection.

        The current creeps, Money Mongers as they now are, do not add value.

        Instead, connected to the source of interest free unlimited money, often through cultural or religious affiliation, they can raise obscene amounts of cash, buy up pre-existing activities that they see as a good bet for their type of promotion, and take them over. All they seek is ROI, and never mind the real world, or long term impact. They keep the ROI, and write down the principle when the activity goes belly up. This is then transferred through the banking Kabballah to the so-called national debt.
        Since the banking industry charges usury, all make money while the total system goes into default.
        Nobody is prosecuted because at the top, all are connected. Remember too big to fail ? LMAO…if ever there were a case to be prosecuted !
        But nothing…WTF ?
        Keep up the great work !!
        2005 Passat TDI
        1988 Citroen 2CV6

      • It all started in the 1980s and the explosion in cable. Suddenly the audience wasn’t watching 3 channels. Then came the Gordon Gekkos of Wall St and high speed trading that could destroy a media company in a day if they didn’t get the revenue some hedge fund manager wanted to see. Before that, while TV wasn’t exactly altruistic, executives were still able to see beyond the quarterly report. And besides, there was a pretty cushy relationship with the other two networks (remember that the Super Bowl still rotates between networks to spread the wealth).

        Of course all the new networks needed content, so we got all that stuff that no one knew about, like NASCAR. Back in the 70s I knew about stock car racing, and there were a few short tracks around even north of the Mason-Dixon line. But it was small enough that even a car dealer could sponsor a team. Marketing departments realized they had a great way to get “brand awareness” to people (middle age white men with positive cashflow) who don’t watch TV normally, and the rest is history.

      • I liked NASCAR when “chrome horns” really meant something. When a couple of good old boys had a wreck and both were ok, it was entertaining to see them run at each other and go to blows….passion, true passion was high.

        Back when there was only Pontiac, Chevy and Ford running, NASCAR decided they needed to tighten the pack since all things being equal, a Chevy engined car would have won every race. They let Ford make all sort of engine changes and for many years, wouldn’t even let GM run their stock heads making them stay with old iron heads they didn’t even use on current vehicles.

        Along comes Dodge and they wanta race but their engines are too heavy so they’re not competition. That’s the time for Dodge to forget racing or put better engines in the vehicles they sold. But no, Dodge was allowed to build a complete new engine that none of their vehicles used and Dodge built an all-out race hemi which didn’t pass muster since it was obviously not made for a passenger car. Dodge tries again and damned if the engine isn’t nearly an exact copy of Chevy engines. The same thing happened with Toyota who had no engine to race but went all out, just like Dodge to build a pure race engine. Once again, NASCAR turned down that engine so Toyota builds their very of a Chevy engine and now we have “parity”. Back in the good old days, if someone built an engine for their production car as Chrysler and Chevy both did and dominated racing, that’s just the way it was and everyone else could play catch up.

        One thing that destroys pure competition is to hamstring one manufacturer.

        Of course I live in a place where seeing a race is iffy if you don’t have cable or satellite. It’s been a dozen years or so ago when a local station preempted the Indy 500 with a high school football game. That was about when I stopped watching tv at all and didn’t watch it again until we had satellite tv and avoided the old networks like the plague. HBO and Fox sports who showed a lot of racing fairly much dominated our viewing.

        As far as NASCAR went, once Dale got killed and millions of women who came out of the woodwork who’d never watched racing and couldn’t tell you one shittin thing about it were now died in the wool little E fans. I’m still scratching my head on that one and that fairly well stopped what NASCAR racing I had watched up to that point.

  17. I stopped watching or caring about NASCAR around 1992, when I heard that they speed limited their cars on the super speedways. I think the top end was about 180 mph or so. I heard it was in response to some car accident on the track. Hell, there are car accidents all the time. I think it was dick move. As someone who liked the idea of flat out speed, which super speedway racing was supposed to encourage, the idea of capping top speeds is anathema to me. I want to see what the car and driver will do. I enjoyed the qualifying speeds that were in the mid 220’s prior to the speed limits.

    Now, the NASCAR drivers are limited to around 180 mph or so. As a result, the bunching up that occurs on the track have increased the accident rates as the cars have nowhere to go. That was the unintended consequence of adopting “speed kills” as the mantra. To make races more exciting, NASCAR made aerodynamic and braking changes that further increased the chances of a crash even at the lower speeds to add to crowd excitement.

    I think that the france family and the whole NASCAR circuit is a steaming pile of festooned moronic crap. And hypocrisy.

    Dale Earnhart, the most aggressive driver in the late 1970s, took photo poses with the North Carolina Highway Patrol stating that “Speed Wins on the Track, speed kills on the highway”. I have always contended that NASCAR drivers, while good at running down a race track, couldn’t merge on to a busy expressway. Several drivers like Earnhart and Jeff Gordon stated that they were afraid of exceeding the speed limit by too much while driving on public streets. Contrast that with driving hero such as Pat Bedard, AJ Foyt or Bobby Unser who regular collected paying paper for driving on the freeways like a red blooded American would or should.

    NASCAR has lost its relevance because it lost its irreverence. Cale Yarborough was one of the last real NASCAR drivers one could respect.

    In the Rockford files episode, “Never send a boy king to do a man’s job” Garner in his southern drawl as Jimmy Joe Meeker told his antagonist that all you have to do is put your “foot to the firewall” otherwise, you are wearing a “silver suit” not a “winning suit.” There’s more truth to that than we will ever know.

    In Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, Deke, Larry (the racecar driver’s mechanic) stated “speed costs, how fast do you want to go?” Fonda (Larry) stated “all you got to do is be willing to take it to the max”

    That’s what racing is about. Nothing more, nothing less. The rules are that there are no rules. Fuck NASCAR.

    • I recall a race where Richard Petty thought he’d been fucked by the officials on some point that was anyone’s guess and he lost the race having dominated most of it. He pulled into pit lane and off into the lane behind the track straight to the interestate and drove like a fiend 25 miles home. It was good for the sport and everybody understood and the Highway Patrol just shook their collective fingers at him and probably laughed their asses off. Imagine that happening now. Banned, for life and fined and imprisoned and things I probably can’t imagine.

      Richard was a good ol boy and never one to state what was on his mind. When he ran for guvnah and lost he said “If I’da knowed I waden gonna win I’da never run”. I know how your feel Richard.

    • Petty and Yarborough were the greats. NASCAR started sucking in the mid 1980s and especially after they put speed restrictor plates in. That was the beginning of the end.

      And… in 1993 or 4, they fooled with the aerodynamics which caused some driver named Orr to crash.

      I find the sport disgusting.

      • swamp, I recall those little boxy Impalas they ran in the early 80’s. Porsche had a pure race car with a short front and a long front for what sort of track they ran and speeds they needed. One of the NASCAR crews, and I don’t remember who. drove all night with their tired machine that had run 500 miles the night before. The Porsche team showed up with a fresh race car and both front end’s.

        This was at the 2.5 mile mid- Ohio track. The Chevy team unloaded the car, checked the oil and fueled it with the tires it had run at the end of the race the night before. They posted 3 or 4 laps of over 240 mph, rolled the car into the trailer and left. The Porsche team stayed all day trying different tunes and both front ends. They left with a top lap of 218 mph. It became a running joke. There ain’t no substitute for cubic inches.

  18. When they started putting the big ugly wings on sprint cars, my dad was apoplectic. I didn’t think it was that big a deal.

    Now I think he had a point, aesthetics matter and adding doo dads to gain a temporary edge doesn’t advance the sport.

    Racing can be competitive but like athletic sports, its vastly more entertaining when real people do it. I’m sure Danica Patrick looks a lot better in a swimsuit than Richard Petty, but I’d rather have true amateurs in every race, and less doing it for the sponsors and the bucks. Danica is a propaganda prop, regardless of the talent she may have.

    • Poor Danica, I watched her coming up with various Formula cars. It seemed she simply had the best car every time so she won quite a bit and came in close to the top always.

      When I heard she was about to be drafted to NASCAR I had many a trepidation or two. Once she arrived it was obvious she was going to be like nearly any rookie, a real stinker. It takes some time to catch on to all the things that make that racing what it is. Jeff Gordon, in my opinion the best driver to ever hit the track did nothing but wreck his first year. By his second year he was getting attuned to the subtleties of those cars and by his 3rd season it was evident he was going reach a level few can and do. This was anathema to the old bunch of Rusty fans and others. It didn’t help he could enunciate and had about twice the vocabulary of the rest of the drivers. But he couldn’t be denied and his input helped the crews put together top form cars for him which he used successfully. Poor Danica just didn’t have the testosterone to go head to head with the top drivers. She finally used anger to express herself and finally got over that and got more respect. Maybe she shoulda taken testosterone injections. This isn’t PC but men don’t have many of the exceptional qualities of exceptional women and women don’t have………..and I’ve watched various women come in go in motorsports.

      I won’t be surprised to see motorsports give some sort of advantage to women with god only knows what. After all, they almost always have a weight advantage so the end result can be weight added to the best locations on a machine.

    • I was recently in a Home Depot parking lot back behind pretty much nothing but pickups. I heard something coming and damned if it didn’t sound fine. Lots of valve overlap with an exhaust system that had virtually no backpressure. It had that big V-8 sound . I walked to the edge of the parking lot to see what it might be. It was a low down 4 door black thing with only a gold bowtie in front and no other markings. I finally surmised it must be an SS. I was tempted to speak to the young male who got out. Musta been that 6.2 engine they have.

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