Threee!

This was the remarkable sight on the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt Sr’s death, commemorated at the 2011 Daytona 500, when NASCAR endorsed the unofficial tribute made by fans of #3 ever since that dark day…

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Paint your wagon (part 2)

You’ve got a toy car. It’s a NASCAR slot car painted up as one driver, but you want to paint it up as another and go racing around the track. Want to know how? OK…

In part on (here: https://internationalnascarblog.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/paint-your-wagon-part-1-10-2/) you’ll find a little explanation of who makes what in terms of slot racing NASCARs. Once you’ve got your hands on one, no matter which manufacturer’s model you want to run, you have to disassemble it completely. That means unscrewing the body from the chassis, then going over the whole body and trimming the plastic solder that holds all the pieces in place before gently snapping the windows out.

You’ll end up with something like this.

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The next step is to clean off the existing livery. Usually it’s a combination of paint and tampo-printed decals sealed under the kind of lacquer designed to stand up to repeated and sustained impacts with the skirting board.

This stuff is as hard as nails, so to start getting it shifted you need to put the body into an air-tight container that you’ve filled with methylated spirit, like so:

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Leave it brewing overnight…

The ‘Dew Crew’ has spoken… weeks of fun ahead!

There’s seldom a movie released these days that doesn’t end up splattered across somebody’s NASCAR livery.

Statistically it’s very rare that these special liveries don’t jinx their drivers into having a nightmare day at the office. Of course the one exception is Jimmie Johnson, who would stand a fair chance of winning if Goodyear forgot to bring enough tyres and had to raid its display car – hence ‘Five-time’ rolling into Victory Lane at Dover in a powder blue car festooned with furry friends from Madagascar 3.

At Michigan later this month Dale Earnhardt Jr will be driving a Dark Knight Rises-themed Impala, wearing one of four liveries that was put up to the fans’ vote by Mountain Dew via it’s ‘Dew Crew’ website. And they helpfully put out a reveal video, hence the post.

You could probably write a decent dissertation on the cross-promotion and data capture activities going on here. It’s impressive stuff.

Off the track Mountain Dew will be bringing out a Dark Knight-inspired Dark Berry flavour together with 6-oz cans of the original stuff that features a bat symbol which transforms to corporate green when it’s chilled to a drinkable temperature.

Something tells me that many coolers at Michigan will be brimful of the stuff.

Hello world!

Well here’s a place in which, like Ted Danson’s bar in Cheers, everybody is likely to know everyone else’s name. Why? Because it’s a place where NASCAR’s overseas fanbase can come and keep in touch with the latest comings and goings of the biggest motor sport show in the USA. And, let’s face it, that puts us in the minority… even among our fellow motor sport fans.

On all points of the globe we are well served by a mix of world, regional and national championships across two wheels and four. From Scandinavia to Australasia we have a wealth of oval, drag and circuit racing competitions and the wonders of rally and raid – so why should anyone care about the curious world of NASCAR?

What is there of interest to the outside world in this strange, insular community where Jesus is a sponsor, the technology has been carbon dated to the mid-Cretaceous period and turning any way but left is a distinct oddity?

This is a series which can’t race in the rain, doesn’t look to the Far East for new revenue streams and would be something of a political hot potato south of the Mediterranean. It’s all-American and, based on the dismal failure of previous attempts to export it, likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

And yet it’s also spectacular. From the bare knuckle brawling around the half mile of Bristol to the 200mph race around a razor’s edge at Las Vegas and Talladega and of course the spectacle of the marquee races at Daytona, you’re guaranteed a show the like of which you’ll struggle to find anywhere else in motor sport. It’s a show that has vaulted the perimeter fence and taken NASCAR onto almost every supermarket aisle, high street store and movie theatre in North America.

Part of that show is a cast of characters the like of which all too few sports around the world can match: bringing life, colour, humour and controversy to flesh out the action on the track. In fact there are times when it can seem like Hollywood watered the whole thing down for Days of Thunder, Talladega Nights and even Stroker Ace.

And yet behind all the showbiz you can and do find the same depth of on-track strategy and heady boardroom politics for which the best international series are so well known. It’s just that, unlike Formula 1 for instance, there’s a refreshing amount of other stuff to talk about.

So welcome aboard… or rather: ‘Boogity! Boogity! Boogity! Let’s go racin’ boys!’