I typically don’t watch NASCAR on Sunday because there is invariably something more entertaining on TV, whether it be another sporting event or an airing of some crappy Nicolas Cage movie on The CW. But after this year’s Daytona 500 was delayed by rain all the way until Monday night, I was out of excuses.
Taking the attitude of a true NASCAR fan, I decided to keep an open mind about things. I was going to pay somewhat close attention to this race and maybe learn a thing or two.
And I did. Most notably, NASCAR is really boring. Not as boring as cricket, but certainly somewhere on the list of least watchable things I can think of.
I had already reached this conclusion when something truly amazing happened. Somehow, during a caution lap when nothing is supposed to happen — and believe me, it seemed like the entire thing was a caution lap — driver Juan Pablo Montoya’s car spun out of control and crashed into a truck that was clearing debris from the track.
Only this wasn’t just any truck. Attached to the back was a jet engine, which can blow debris off a track a lot faster than your typical leaf blower. And when jet engines are crashed into, you’ve got jet fuel, and BOOM! Tough-actin’ Tinactin! We’ve got ourselves a hell of an explosion! It was like seeing a Michael Bay movie come to life. And in a scene that seems just as fake, both Montoya and the truck driver walked out of the explosion unscathed.
But in the end, it was just as mind-numbing as watching a Michael Bay movie. My initial excitement over jet fuel igniting sky-high was tempered by the fact that they were actually going to continue the race. Continuing the race meant there was a hell of a lot of cleanup to be done, and without the benefit of episodes of “This Week In Baseball” to insert into the agonizingly long delay.
When they finally did get back to racing, there wasn’t much actual racing to be had. Accidents kept happening, which are only cool until you realize that it means another caution flag and another restart and another 45 seconds of actual racing before someone crashes again. As my cousin Charlie noted, it was basically like watching the final two minutes of a NBA game when both teams have all of their timeouts remaining.
It is possible that all this starting and stopping was a result of this restrictor-plate thing they kept taking about, because in my experience restricting anything typically equals boring. Or maybe I’m just not nuanced enough to be a NASCAR fan. Or, more likely, not drunk enough. I can’t imagine the drone of engines and smell of fuel all day long are very pleasant unless you are too blasted to notice their presence.
Maybe some day I will give NASCAR another shot. But it won’t be any time before I finish this case of Busch Light.