Friday, August 24, 2012
Formula One and NASCAR are both fantastic forms of racing in their own right, but, without a doubt, there are peculiar patterns in the popularity of both sports. NASCAR is easily the most popular form of racing in the US, while F1 dominates the channels in the UK and Europe. But how do we explain NASCAR's overwhelming popularity in the US compared to F1, which is left in the shadows across the country?
What exactly is the Difference Between NASCAR and F1?
If you're not a big racing fan, or you've only seen either NASCAR or F1, you'd be forgiven for not actually knowing the difference between the two. Motoring fans tend to consider the two sports to be opposites in the world of racing.
Firstly, there are great differences between the cars themselves. While F1 cars are high-tech racing machines – light, powerful and streamlined – NASCAR vehicles are heavy and simplistic in comparison, still relying on manual gearboxes and leaded petrol. NASCAR vehicles must also all be built to a certain template, which means that no manufacturer or driver has any advantage over the others. In contrast, manufacturers of F1 cars are always fighting to make the best, fastest racing machines possible.
The most noticeable difference between a NASCAR race and an F1 race is probably a result of these constraints when it comes to vehicle construction. Watch an F1 race straight after a NASCAR race and you'll immediately be struck by the lack of, well, action in the race. In an F1 race, it’s rarer to witness cars overtake one other because the aerodynamics of the cars make this practically impossible. On the opposite side of the fence, NASCAR motors are constantly overtaking each other, which makes for a lot of excitement if you like a close race.
However, it would be unfair to leave F1 sounding so dull without pointing out that NASCAR is, at the end of the day, somewhat constrained or limited in its potential. It can be argued that the race is deliberately kept close by the design standards forced onto manufacturers. Moreover, cautions can be thrown up simply in order to give lagging drivers a chance to pass the rest of the bunch.
Why Do Americans Like NASCAR?
When considering the differences between the two sports, it's easy to see why NASCAR thrives in an environment like the US. It has a lot in common with another popular 'entertainment sport' – American professional wrestling. Professional wrestling is, of course, completely scripted and choreographed. While it is impossible to script a race in the way as one would script a fight, NASCAR is a similar hybrid of sport and drama. Although the racers need genuine talent to be able to compete in the sport, every race is designed to be close, entertaining and tense.
NASCAR's dramatic style also means that crashes happen on a much more regular basis than they do in F1, and the build of NASCAR vehicles makes these crashes much more dangerous. Formula One's streamlined vehicles rarely turn over, and usually just slide into the dust; in comparison, NASCAR vehicles can end up spinning through the air and the crashes can result in very serious injuries to their drivers, as well as extensive damage to the cars themselves, from a cracked windshield to a crushed bonnet. It's not surprising, then, that a country like America, which loves its professional wrestling and monster truck derbies, prefers NASCAR racing to F1.
Catherine Halsey writes for a digital marketing agency on a range of subjects. This article links back to www.safelite.com/windshieldchips.jsp