My Brain on NASCAR: Path to victory lane a drive-through window?

I am starting to think we have become a nation of fast-food sports fans.

One of the racing-related things I often do to amuse myself is take a very informal poll on Tuesday or Wednesday of each week. This consists of me engaging in random conversations with people that I know follow racing, and suddenly asking, “Hey, do you remember who won the NASCAR race last weekend?”

You would be surprised by the number of people who have no clue what the answer is, unless their particular driver of choice went to Victory Lane.

Then I’ll follow up with, “Well, do you remember who won the Daytona 500 this year?”

Cue the chirping cricket choir on that one.

I’m having trouble with this, because I can’t figure out what triggers our NASCAR memory centers. These same people know who won the Super Bowl several months ago. They know which team was shown cutting down the nets at this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament final as the always-spectacular “One Shining Moment” played in the background. On Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, they will be able to tell me in a split second who won The Masters.

But on that same day, will they be able to tell me who won the April 14 race at Texas Motor Speedway? Unless that driver is Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Danica Patrick, I seriously doubt it.

I’m puzzled because in many critical categories, NASCAR is kicking the proverbial asphalt. The composition of the traditional “Big Four” sports — the NFL, , NBA, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League — has experienced a shakeup in recent years. NASCAR has put a pretty definitive body check on hockey, basically knocking it down to fifth place in popularity.

These days, most people who sort of know what they’re talking about would rank NASCAR the second-highest of the new “Big Four,” based on things like average event attendance, merchandise sales, TV ratings and, in this brave new technological world of ours, on social media interaction. NASCAR rules Twitter.

The “too many NASCAR races” argument doesn’t hold water when you consider the 162-game MLB schedule or the 82-game regular season schedule of the NBA, and that doesn’t even include the playoffs for either sport. Granted, the racing season is long, but fans are only committing to a single NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race each week. How many hours of TV does an avid Chicago Cubs fan watch each week, I wonder? A whole lot more than four.

The issue seems to be not what we see, but what we remember. You might not be able to tell me who won the race at California Speedway earlier this season, but I’m betting you know that contact between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano resulted in a fractured spine and a minimum of six weeks out of the car for Hamlin.

Same thing with the Phoenix International Raceway event at the end of last season. Who won? Don’t remember. Who engaged in a well-publicized tangle that has carried over into the current season? Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer, of course; how could anyone forget THAT?

I suspect our athletic taste buds have become desensitized, only sitting up and paying attention when something dramatic happens, in the same way your palate reacts to a jalapeno pepper after a steady diet of oatmeal.

In NASCAR, as in nutrition, it is important to appreciate the steady-yet-tasty diet that keeps those wheels rolling on a consistent basis. A jolt of something different is a good thing, but too much of it could result in a nasty case of indigestion. Even the magnificent McRib is available for a limited time only; just something to think about.

By the way, Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 this year. He also won last weekend’s race … just in case anybody asks.

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bid

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bidThe only thing harder than winning a state championship is [more]

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff Classic

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff ClassicTwo blowouts, a lightning delay and ultimately three of the [more]

Coast FA boys kick off fall season with strong outing

Coast FA boys kick off fall season with strong outingFive Coast FA boys teams entered the Charlotte Invitational over [more]

Hemingway follows family, teammates to Gamecocks

Hemingway follows family, teammates to GamecocksSix minutes after his youngest child had announced his college [more]

MB Track & Field Club set for cross country season

MB Track & Field Club set for cross country seasonBuilding on the success of the track and field season, [more]

Seahawks, Trojans, Chiefs in preseason football poll

Seahawks, Trojans, Chiefs in preseason football pollDefending state champion Myrtle Beach opened the 2019 preseason as [more]

Ten beach games that add fun to the sand, surf, sun

Ten beach games that add fun to the sand, surf, sunThe Grand Strand’s 60-mile strip of sand and surf is [more]

New blood infuses lineup for '19 Beach Ball Classic

New blood infuses lineup for '19 Beach Ball ClassicIt’s been quite some time since this much new blood [more]

Gray becomes first Chant to win SCGA Amateur title

Gray becomes first Chant to win SCGA Amateur titleCoastal Carolina rising sophomore Tyler Gray carded four-straight rounds of [more]

Renfrow comes full circle before making run at NFL

Renfrow comes full circle before making run at NFLThe past six months have been hectic ones for Hunter [more]

Surfoff makes waves for fun times, worthy cause

Surfoff makes waves for fun times, worthy causeThe water is a second home for August Powalie. The Myrtle [more]

Jordans go coast to coast for Junior Olympics meet

Jordans go coast to coast for Junior Olympics meetIt has been a long and winding trip to California [more]

Six former Pelicans make big-league leap to Cubs

Six former Pelicans make big-league leap to Cubs The distance from Myrtle Beach’s TicketReturn.com Stadium to Chicago’s Wrigley [more]

Local teams look ahead to 30th CNB Kickoff Classic

Local teams look ahead to 30th CNB Kickoff ClassicConway National Bank will sponsor the 30th annual CNB Kickoff [more]

CAC swimmers team up to capture six state titles

CAC swimmers team up to capture six state titlesSouth Carolina Swimming welcomed almost 800 swimmers from 25 Swim [more]

Surfers hang 10 for 20th Guy Daniels Memorial

Surfers hang 10 for 20th Guy Daniels MemorialAs surfers prepare to hit the South Strand this weekend [more]

Six MBTFC athletes make National Junior Olympics

Six MBTFC athletes make National Junior OlympicsThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club was represented by [more]

Beach volleyball growing on Grand Strand sand

Beach volleyball growing on Grand Strand sandWhat was once a leisurely pick-up game on the beach [more]

NMB boys hoops hopeful Walker in it for long haul

NMB boys hoops hopeful Walker in it for long haulNorth Myrtle Beach believes Ryan Walker is the person to [more]

Injury halts former Chant La Stella's All-Star debut

Injury halts former Chant La Stella's All-Star debut Former Coastal Carolina standout and Los Angeles Angels second baseman [more]

Pelicans well represented at All-Star Futures Game

Pelicans well represented at All-Star Futures GameMyrtle Beach Pelicans’ catcher Miguel Amaya has been selected to [more]

Baseball bonds all ages at Legends for Youth Clinic

Baseball bonds all ages at Legends for Youth ClinicEight former big leaguers - and about 60 aspiring ones [more]

Jordans lead MBTFC to wins at Junior Olympics

Jordans lead MBTFC to wins at Junior OlympicsThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club was represented by [more]

Hunter brings new energy to MB volleyball program

Hunter brings new energy to MB volleyball program New Myrtle Beach High volleyball coach Alyssa Hunter knows she [more]

Soccer Locker ready for final horn after 25 years

Soccer Locker ready for final horn after 25 yearsA child steps up to the counter to purchase his [more]

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bid

Chiefs try to stay hungry, humble in title repeat bidThe only thing harder than winning a state championship is [more]

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff Classic

Stormy weather big winner at CNB Kickoff ClassicTwo blowouts, a lightning delay and ultimately three of the [more]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2019 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach