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!’