Driving Me Mad: Auto Racing is Not a Sport
There’s an auto race happening in Las Vegas this weekend.
I hear that it’s a pretty big deal. Something like 100,000 race car enthusiasts have rolled into town and pretty much transformed the city into Talladega West. Full Confession: I had to Google search the mecca of auto racing and someplace called “Talladega” came up instantly, which sure as shit doesn’t sound like it has many good French continental restaurants.
My casual and admittedly unscientific observation on Friday and Saturday night along The Strip revealed a disproportionately high percentage of mutton chops within this so-called auto racing demographic, including the women. There was a desperate shortage of electric razors. Confederate flags also seemed to be a popular fashion accessory. The only perk which might have boosted race attendance higher would have been an impromptu appearance by Donald Trump railing against the Mexicans and Muslims, who are responsible for tearing down America and ruining the economy. But last I saw, Trump busy attacking short people while bragging about his manhood.
I just don’t get it. How can anyone claim auto racing is a “sport.” Auto racing is a sport in the same manner a grown man talking to a sock puppet gets classified as “entertainment.” I mean, one presumes this has to be classified somehow, so auto racing and Terry Fader somehow get grouped among legitimate family attractions.
Listen up redneck folk and liberal elitists, alike. Wanna’ know what auto racing is? It’s driving a fucking car. It’s sitting in a seat and moving your hands a couple of inches back and forth. There’s the added mechanical complication of pressing once’s foot onto a pedal. That’s basically it. Big deal. I can do that. You can do that. A 16-year-old can do that. A 95-year-old can do that. Hell, animals have even been trained to drive a car.
If driving a car is a sport, then I’m Tom Brady (without the stigma of a cheating scandal, of course). Let me put it in more simple terms: Any activity that can be performed with an iPhone in one hand and a cold beer in the other, isn’t a sport. Got it?
Let me tell you what is exciting about driving a car. Last week, I blew out a front tire and then drove five miles to the auto place that sold me the tire, until so many sparks had flown that the rubber had burned clean off the rim. Good thing the tire was still under warranty. Otherwise, I might have had the tire repaired across the street from where it deflated. A month earlier, a radiator exploded on me out in the middle of the desert. I drove the car until smoke was pouring out the back end and the engine was pinging louder than a WW-2 submarine. Now, that’s what I call excitement. That’s a sport. The prospect of a car leaving me stranded out in the middle of nowhere past midnight — that’s what I call action.
Before I went bonkers with the neck beard, which was more a manifestation of laziness as opposed to any conscious plan or personal decision, I frequently shaved while driving. Last time I checked, there’s no actual law against this. Later, I converted to an electric razor with the battery charger plugged into the ash tray because the shaving cream and blade got to be way too much of a mess. So, what kind of “sport” allows you to participate in it while shaving?
Even in poker, you can’t do that. You can’t shave at the poker table. No wonder every young guy in poker wears a beard nowadays.
Let take this a step further. Not that I’ve ever done what I’m about to suggest — but I’ve even heard that some people have engaged in sex while driving a car. Really, it’s true. Use your imagination. I suppose the driver sits passively while the passenger does all “the work.” Now, you’re going to have a really tough time convincing me there’s a sport you can engage in while receiving oral sex. Then again, perhaps I’m naive. Maybe I need to engage in more research (as the driver, of course).
Indeed, auto racing requires the same skill set performed by 200 million drivers here in America every day, unless you happen to live in New York City where the only drivers own taxis and they all have weird-sounding names from Pakistan that no one can pronounce. Think of it this way: A typical soccer mom barreling down I-70 in the passing lane with a minivan full of screaming kids is exerting the same mental and physical dexterity as the winner of this year’s Indianapolis 500, or the race happening this weekend in Las Vegas. Only difference is, mom doesn’t have to pass a drug test, which is probably a good thing since that would probably be a close call given our national opioid epidemic.
Question is — why would anyone watch car racing? A bigger question: Why would anyone pay to watch car racing? Finally, a bigger question, still: Why would anyone travel to Las Vegas to pay money to witness the same view they’d see on any major expressway? What’s interesting about a bunch of cars swirling around a track going in circles? Horses running around the track in a circle? Okay, I totally get that, especially if you’ve got money on the race and it’s the Kentucky Derby. But who watches a scene that resembles every rush hour in every big city in America? What next, a sport called “Traffic Jam on the Inner Beltway?”
If an auto race lasted a couple of minutes, I might be able to appreciate it. But some of these car races last for hours, even days. That’s right, days! And these sickos just stare at the track as though something exciting’s about to happen. Unless there’s a car crash and some part of a fiery fuselage flies into the crowd, the rest of the day seems pretty much like working at a gas station along the exit ramp. Get a job at Chevron of that pops your jollies.
Auto racing sucks. It’s not a sport. It’s driving a car.