Racing is the type of sport that you either grow up with, or you stumble upon at an opportune time. Unlike most other major sports, racing isn’t relatable to most people right off the bat, making it easy to bypass.
Most sports have teams that are associated with certain regions, giving people that live in those areas an automatic tie to the sport as well as someone to cheer for, even if they’ve never watched the sport before. Drivers don’t have regions that they represent on the hoods of their cars like football players do on their uniforms. A driver may be a hometown hero, but a hometown makes up just a small area…making the task of finding someone to cheer for a difficult one for most people.
People can relate to major sports without regional ties, such as golf, because they can go out and play those sports on any day of the week. Swinging a golf club is familiar to most, while being behind the wheel of a race car is pretty foreign. People may not immediately have someone to cheer for in sports like those, but by being able to play it, they have a connection to the sport. To avidly participate in racing, one must first be a fan. And on top of that, they must have a significant amount of knowledge about the sport…because the tasks of assembling a car, gathering a crew, and finding funding are certainly not as easy as picking up the golf clubs and playing the back nine.
To sum it all up, racing can be hard to find a connection to at first, and that’s what makes a fan’s ties to racing that much more unique. For some, racing has been all they’ve known since they can remember, while others just happened to flip the channel to NASCAR during a time such as the final laps of Fontana, making them a fan for life. As far as picking a driver, the possibilities are numerous, ranging from the hometown heroes to the drivers that may appeal to people because of something as simple as their sponsor or car number. The possibilities for being introduced to NASCAR, as well as choosing a driver, are endless.
There are so many different ways for one to be drawn to racing, and those ways are pretty unconventional compared to other sports. For me, it was getting some free tickets to Texas Motor Speedway one April a few years back, where racing went from not being on my radar – or anywhere even close for that matter – to being one of the biggest parts of my life. So I extend the question to you…how were you introduced to the adrenaline-pumping sport of racing? On top of that – how did you choose whom you root for out of a pack of 43 dramatically different racers?
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By Alanis King