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Sports opinion: NASCAR is underrated

Juliana Yao

By Eshan Singh, Staff Reporter

The sound of almost 40 stock cars zooming by overwhelms you with excitement. You hold your breath as your favorite driver makes a move for the lead. The surge of joy you feel when your driver completes the pass is matched only by your crushing despair when they then spin out, destroying the car and ending their race.

The consistent excitement throughout NASCAR races is what makes the sport as good as, if not better than, baseball, basketball, football and hockey, four of the U.S.’s most popular sports.

The large number of lead changes in races shows the thrill of NASCAR. According to the racing news website Beyond the Flag, the NASCAR record for most lead changes in a race is 88. In comparison, according to the New York Post, the NBA lead change record is only 43.

Lead changes are not the only reason why NASCAR is so exciting. One of the main appeals of football and hockey is the excitement of a big hit. Those collisions between people pale in comparison with the massive collisions between NASCAR cars during wrecks. One would think that these violent crashes lead to many injuries, but the multitude of safety features means that NASCAR is actually much safer than other sports. According to the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, from July 2003 to October 2014, drivers only got injured 19 times. This means that in an average season from 2003 to 2014, a driver had about 0.02 injuries on average.

In contrast, according to the same journal, there were 4,346 injuries in the NBA from the 2015 season to the 2020 season, excluding the suspended 2019 season. This means that, according to data from Statista on the total number of NBA players that played in a specific season, one player had an average of about 1.69 injuries in an average season.

Additionally, because about 40 drivers compete in every race, winning races is rare, meaning each victory, and thus each race, is much more significant than in other sports. Because of the rarity of wins, a NASCAR driver can automatically qualify for the playoffs with one victory, further increasing the importance of each individual race.

On the other hand, it is a lot more difficult to become invested in an individual NBA, NHL or MLB game because each game does not matter as much in the grand scheme of things due to the long seasons of those sports.

So, now that the NFL season has ended, consider watching a NASCAR race if you want something to fill your sports craving on Sunday afternoons. Pick a driver to be your favorite. I promise that you will be entertained.

Eshan Singh can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Eshan Singh
Eshan Singh, Co-Copy Editor
Eshan Singh is a sophomore and Staff Reporter for The Spoke. He currently writes for the Opinion section but has previously written for the Sports section. He is also a member of the Conestoga Investment Club and Model UN.
Juliana Yao
Juliana Yao, Co-Opinion Editor
Juliana Yao is a junior and the Co-Sports Editor of The Spoke. She was previously a Staff Reporter and often writes for the Sports and Opinion sections. Aside from The Spoke, she is a member of the varsity girls’ swim team. As a sports editor, she oversees the writing and journalistic process of reporters in her section.