Saturday, June 9, 2007

THE POCKET PISSER -- NASCAR: I don’t get it...even a little.

As a series similar to The Bozo Bus, The Pocket Pisser targets groups or institutions whose behavior, policies, and /or principles are in need of review and critique (opposed to an individual Bozo). That's not to say that any group in question doesn't have Bozos in it; they more than likely do. We can only hope that The Bozo Bus will get around to them eventually, but the clowns have a regimented schedule to adhere to (no scoffing now, snooty peeps---many of the clowns wear ties to work just like the rest of you).

So today we’re pissing in the pockets of the NASCAR world, because I just don’t understand what in God’s name is appealing about this sport. Is it an adrenaline junkie thing? Moreover, it tends to attract the uneducated hicks, snaggletoothed lowlifes and degenerates of the world; even a few notches below that of hardcore NFL football fans… and as I just wrote that, in my universe I can’t think of a greater insult in the “sports world,” if NASCAR even qualifies as one in the first place. This all begs even more questions…

The sport seems to require zero brains cells to watch. If I’m ever flipping through the channels and bump into it, I move on. If I stay on the channel for even a few seconds (usually by mistake), or in the rare occasion I find myself trapped in a sports bar watching it, I can only take a few minutes of it at most. I simply go away feeling more stupid than before watching it. After witnessing the images on the screen going around on a track, my head starts to get dizzy and the thoughts about the excessive gas consumption and environmental impact disgust me. The noise and smoke from the emissions seem unbearable, but perhaps the folks in the crowd are immune to it by now. To that effect, when I see the television cameras scanning over the crowd, honing in on some of the folks, I say to myself “Oooooookaaaaaay” and try desparately to escape so I can move onto something else. I realize that's a blanket judgment of sorts, but let's be real---there's a reason this sport was bred out of the South, along with plenty of other cultural attributes we can all be proud of as Americans (excuse me, I just choked on my torpedo of King Cobra).

I once worked with a guy who was a big fan of NASCAR, who said he lived for it every weekend while it was on—he just couldn’t wait for the weekend races to occur. First, I’ll say with certainty that this man did not graduate from Harvard. I don't claim to be any brainiac myself, but maybe the education factor bears some weight here. So we had a discussion and I posed my questions to him, essentially trying to figure out how you could even classify NASCAR as a sport. I explained that my definition of a sport contains some sort of athletic movement of the body on a court or field, but his definition was more expanded. He argued that NASCAR involved the skill of driving, and while I responded in agreement, my caveat was: “However, if that were the case, my commute to work every day would then officially need to be labeled a sport.”

Just for shits and giggles, let’s see what the Free Dictionary by Farlex has to say about the definition of a sport:

sport (spôrt, sprt)



a. Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.

b. A particular form of this activity.

2. An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.

3. An active pastime; recreation.

So maybe part 3 of the definition then answers one of my questions, and while it barely qualifies it, it seems that it technically qualifies NASCAR as an official sport. So there ya go good ‘ol boys, enjoy your fuel consuming, noise nuisance low level brain hum on yer weekends. Miller High Life hath shall flow unending.

Moving on, I’d like to peer into another room and highlight for a moment the environmental end of this sport. Wikipedia has the following to say about the environmental impacts of NASCAR.

According to NASCAR, about 6,000 US gallons of fuel are consumed during a typical NEXTEL Cup weekend. [12] For the 2006 season, which includes 36 points races, the total for the season would be 216,000 US gallons. One environmental critic recently estimated NASCAR's total fuel consumption across all series at 2 million US gallons (7.57 million liters) of gas for one season; [13] however, the methodology used has been a point of dispute.

At race speeds, NEXTEL Cup cars get 2 to 5 miles per gallon. [14] [15] [16] Consumption under caution can be estimated at 14-18 mpg, based on comparable engines generally available to the public. Interestingly, the rate of fuel consumption tends to be the same regardless of the actual speeds of the cars, as teams change gear ratios for each race to ensure that the engine always operates in its optimum power band; however, the fuel mileage will vary for each race, depending on the maximum speeds attained.

The consumption figures above provide no insight on environmental impact in terms of emissions. NASCAR vehicles are generally unregulated by the EPA, and in particular, they have no mufflers, catalytic converters or other emissions control devices. However, some local short tracks which run under NASCAR sanction require certain emissions control devices. Many short tracks run mufflers in compliance with noise ordinances at some tracks; in the early years of the Craftsman Truck Series, some races were held at venues which required mufflers, a requirement still used in some Busch East, AutoZone West, and Whelen Modified races.

NASCAR continued to use lead additives in its race gasoline until the 2007 Daytona 500, which led to concerns about the health of those exposed to the fumes of the cars (fans and residents living near the race tracks). Lead is a well-known environmental risk, but the performance needs of race engines (in particular, the high compression ratios) once made it difficult to switch to unleaded fuel.

So there you have it, and nothing I read here surprises me, as I would never expect anyone involved in this "sport" to even consider the environmental impact. It simply has no place in their brain capacity.

So, in conclusion, my only real intention here was to simply bring the topic to bear and expose my thoughts and observations on this corner of the universe. It looks like the whole western United States needs to drink a gallon of King Cobra (or Old Engish 800, or even water, take your pick) and venture into the South... we have LOTS of pockets to piss in!

All zippers down please and wait for my signal. S

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