Please stop calling NASCAR drivers athletes. NASCAR drivers are not physically gifted, they have no discerning physiological attributes, therefore they are not athletes. The only natural abilities that NASCAR drivers possess are a pure recklessness that in any other part of life would be completely unacceptable, and the ability to empty their bladders into their underwear which toddlers and senile adults can do equally as well. Driving a car at high speeds while turning left is not a talent. Anyone can learn to steer fast cars in one direction by simply putting in enough repetitions behind the wheel of a race car. NASCAR is a competition, not a sport, and the key differences between a sport and a competition lies in the training and the physical aspects of the activity.
The type of training that an athlete engages in is usually a good indicator of the type of activity in which they participate. Football players have stocky and muscular bodies because they have to take the punishment of continuous collisions during their games. They lift weights and consume exorbitant amounts of calories to maintain their weight and musculature. Basketball players are tall and lean which is conducive to the running and jumping that they must do on each play in their sport. Their height, natural speed and leaping ability, and coordination are necessary to being successful in their sport. Even baseball players have wide shoulders and powerful thighs, the body shape that allows them to drive the baseball for power. Real athletes can be differentiated between simply by observing their body shape. Consequently, the training regimens for those athletes consist of physical exercises, like weightlifting and cardio work, because their activity is physical.
In what other “sport” is a graying, chubby guy better than a twenty year old in peak condition?
The training that the NASCAR drivers receive does not build their bodies so that they can maximize the use of their inherent physical ability. These drivers do not need put on muscle to compete against their opponents, because their is very little physical exertion in the competition. Hence, there is no specific body type of a NASCAR driver. The training that NASCAR drivers receive hones their driving skills so that they can handle the stresses of accelerating and swerving at such high speeds for long periods of time. But, it does not help them to use their body more efficiently, because driving competitively is mostly mental. Any person with a driver’s license and a disregard for their life can feasibly drive a race car.
NASCAR does not involve any activity that is remotely athletic. The drivers do not run miles a day in order to keep their bodies at peak physical condition. They do not lift weights in order to strengthen their bodies, because the condition of their body has no effect on the outcome of their race. Though NASCAR drivers endure stresses on their bodies that many athletes never experience in their respective sports, that does not make racing cars comparable to real sports. It is true that NASCAR drivers often lose 3-8 pounds during a race, but the weight is not lost due to physical exertion. It is due to the extreme heat that is produced by the expensive racing machines on concrete tracks. The weight that drivers lose while driving is nothing more than extensive in-car sauna treatments. Driving race cars professionally is difficult, but it is not in any way an athletic endeavor. When training does not hone natural abilities, then the person who is training is simply learning a skill for competition, not playing a sport. Athletes are more physically gifted than the normal population. They are noticeably bigger, faster, and more coordinated than everyone else. NASCAR drivers do not possess any special gifts with which they are born. They are just regular people that love cars and speed.
Race car drivers are not athletes. They are glorified valets and get-away drivers. Any idiot with a driver’s license and a death wish can drive a car irresponsibly fast. People that commute to work daily have the same set of skills that NASCAR drivers have, decent reflexes, spatial reasoning, and the ability to judge distances accurately. Getting behind the wheel at a NASCAR event takes skills, not athleticism, so stop comparing them to real athletes.
*Sexist statement of the month.