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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

NASCAR: Arthur Rhodes appreciates physical aspect of NASCAR

5. You got to take a pace-car ride prior to last Sunday’s race. What was that experience like for you?

Rhodes: I know [pace-car driver] Brett Bodine. I know he’s been a Cup driver and he’s been driving a long time, so I trusted him. But I’ll tell you right now: the right side of my head was stuck to the window [during the ride]. My stomach hurt. My back hurt. I tried to force myself to come back to the middle of the seat—but he was driving so fast through some of those turns, I was stuck to the window and couldn’t do it.

6. So you were a little out of your element, but how do you think some of us could do if we faced you in the batting cage?

Rhodes: My first thought is that if we go in the batting cage right now and I throw it 95 [miles per hour], I don’t think you would ever touch the ball.

Repoz Posted: November 08, 2011 at 08:57 PM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Austin Posted: November 08, 2011 at 09:23 PM (#3988796)
I was just going to submit this. It was quite weird to look on the NASCAR homepage and suddenly see Arthur Rhodes.
   2. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: November 08, 2011 at 09:38 PM (#3988803)
Arthur Rhodes: NASCAR appreciates physical aspect of Arthur Rhodes
   3. Dock Ellis Posted: November 08, 2011 at 09:50 PM (#3988813)
I know nothing about NASCAR so I'll disparage the sport by pointing out the supposed inferiority of its target audience.

EDIT: Also, all of the fans have physical and intellectual traits that I do not find attractive.
   4. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 08, 2011 at 10:01 PM (#3988815)
What do NASCAR drivers do? They drive around in circles.

And what do they do when they're done? They drive around in circles again. And again. And again.

It's the thrill that comes but once in a lifetime. Or something.

No question it takes great skill and stamina to be a race car driver, and more heart than any sport other than perhaps boxing. I can see the appeal of drag racing with your friends on a deserted stretch of road, and I can see why professional racers do it (for the money and the kavorka). But seriously, other than the thrill of flaming wrecks, and the solidarity of leaving scribbled notes on the tombstones of fallen drivers, what is there in organized auto racing for the spectators?
   5. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 08, 2011 at 10:20 PM (#3988828)
No question it takes great skill and stamina to be a race car driver, and more heart than any sport other than perhaps boxing. I can see the appeal of drag racing with your friends on a deserted stretch of road, and I can see why professional racers do it (for the money and the kavorka). But seriously, other than the thrill of flaming wrecks, and the solidarity of leaving scribbled notes on the tombstones of fallen drivers, what is there in organized auto racing for the spectators?


There are three sports that I follow - baseball, soccer, and auto racing. Of those, I've followed auto racing the longest. My first, and still probably my greatest, sports hero was Jim Clark, the only man to ever win the Formula One World Championship and the Indy 500 in the same year.

I do follow NASCAR, but my primary interest is in Formula One, and then IndyCar. I much prefer road and street courses to oval tracks. As far as "the thrill of flaming wrecks" go, I don't think that most real racing fans think that accidents are "cool". I certainly don't. I love the skill shown by drivers who can race cars at high speed, and I love to see exciting racing, but I never, ever like to see an accident. I do feel a sense of relief when a big accident happens and a driver walks away unscathed, but that's about it. I want racing to be as safe as possible for all concerned. There may be a small minority of fans who think that crashes are thrilling, but I think they're in the decided minority.

What I do love is the skill of the drivers, performing an incredibly difficult task. I remember standing by a corner on the street track at Vancouver in 1993, during IndyCar practice, watching Nigel Mansell drive his car at speed with machine-like precision for countless laps, putting the car on the same exact inch of the corner, lap after lap. I love the ability of a Jenson Button to drive in changing conditions, having a sixth sense in knowing exactly when to change from dry tires to rain tires, and being able to use his tactical ability to win races where only he could forge such a plan, such as the Canadian GP this season when he drove from 21st to take the win. I love the controlled aggression of a Fernando Alonso, surprising Michael Schumacher with a pass on the outside of 130R in Japan in 2005, passing him with a move that was totally unexpected. I love the way a Jeff Gordon can analyse his car's behavior during a race, and be able to tell his pit crew the exact changes needed during a pit stop to make it handle better. Racing is a game of strategy, and of being able to execute that strategy in concert with your team and pit crew, and being able to adapt to contantly changing conditions.

I also love the technology. Formula One, especially, is an ever changing game of one-upmanship, where the engineers are constantly developing the cars to gain the slightest advantage, trying to tweak any loopholes in the rules. My father is an aircraft designer, and he and I watch the F1 races together, and he loves to go over the technical aspects of the cars.
   6. Zonk is One Individual Posted: November 08, 2011 at 10:20 PM (#3988830)
So help me if a NASCAR thread joins the Soccer/NBA/et al threads...
   7. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: November 08, 2011 at 10:21 PM (#3988831)
what is there in organized auto racing for the spectators?


I often wonder why people watch a marathon or swim meets for similar reasons. I suspect people like the preparation and process that the drivers and their crews go through. People love speed too. As a kid i used to go watch late model and outlaw racing at a local 1/4 mile clay track, it was pretty cool and I didn't no squat about cars. A neighbor raced, perhaps that is what was the initial draw. Other than attending the Indy 500 each year, which isn't all that exciting (the race itself, the spectacle however is one of a kind) I don't watch another auto race of any kind.
   8. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 08, 2011 at 10:26 PM (#3988839)
So help me if a NASCAR thread joins the Soccer/NBA/et al threads... 


Sounds like a challenge to me!

Actually I don't care about NASCAR, but it is interesting that a baseball site keeps spawning really good off-sports threads.
   9. The Good Face Posted: November 08, 2011 at 10:51 PM (#3988852)
But seriously, other than the thrill of flaming wrecks, and the solidarity of leaving scribbled notes on the tombstones of fallen drivers, what is there in organized auto racing for the spectators?


Based on the NASCAR event I attended, the opportunity to get HAMMERED drunk in public while soaking up some rays and ogling scantily clad women. Not a bad time actually.
   10. Shredder Posted: November 08, 2011 at 11:13 PM (#3988866)
I actually enjoy checking in on NASCAR races from time to time, then watching the last handful of laps. The strategy aspect is lost on me, which is to say, I know it's a big part of the sport, but I don't understand it.
   11. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 08, 2011 at 11:44 PM (#3988877)
Good explanation, vortex (#5). And even though the only form of racing I can imagine being interested in would be a straightaway duel down a three lane state road between two ordinary cars, with no logos and no sponsors, and the drivers' own money at stake, I can also see that the more you know about what goes into professional racing, the more you'd get out of it as a spectator. And like all sports, it's probably much easier to appreciate if you grew up in its culture.

And BTW have you (vortex), or would you, race cars yourself? I still think that the experience of racing would easily beat the experience of watching, but it's obviously not for the fainthearted, and my limit is about 85 in my Civic or Focus on I-95 to Baltimore.
   12. catomi01 Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:30 AM (#3989051)
For a long time I had absolutely no interest in NASCAR or any other auto-racing...a few years back, the owner of my company started to get into it...and kept going - first a small sponsorship at the local track, then Kart Racing with his kids, and finally 2 years ago, he went all out and started his own team (bought 2 cars, trailer, teamed up with a driver and pit crew) - through it all, I took a professional interest (just about anything good for my boss is good for me - and anytime our company's name was out there is just a bonus), but still stayed pretty detached from the whole thing.
Then, sometime last year, I actually went to my first race, and something clicked...the simple fact of having one driver to root for, and one car to follow made all the difference for me...without a ton of experience, a lot of the subtlety and skill of the driver's was lost on me watching the larger field, but focusing on our driver, I was able to start to understand much more quickly.
Following that, I spent a lot more time in the garage with the team, and seeing the attention to detail, and time the crew and driver spend there, getting every extra ounce of speed out of the cars, customizing and fine-tuning every aspect of the car depending on the track, and just watching the development of our driver and his growing experience has gradually drawn me in.
I'll still choose baseball over racing, but I have definitely been hooked into the racing world over the last two years.
So far in my personal experience, nothing beats a champagne celebration following a playoff series win...but a post-race victory celebration in the pits is a pretty close second.
   13. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 09, 2011 at 06:23 AM (#3989069)
And BTW have you (vortex), or would you, race cars yourself? I still think that the experience of racing would easily beat the experience of watching, but it's obviously not for the fainthearted, and my limit is about 85 in my Civic or Focus on I-95 to Baltimore.


I'd love to be able to, but I don't have the skill, and racing isn't a sport where you should compete if you're not 100% confident of your ability. I mentioned that my Dad was an aircraft designer and loves the technology in racing; back in the 1950s, he and my uncle used to compete in fairly high level amatuer rallies in England and Wales, my uncle driving and my Dad navigating. He's shared some pretty hair raising stories about their exploits. So I guess it runs in the family. I should have also noted above that it really is a sport best experienced in person. You really don't get the true sensation of power and speed just watching it on TV...
   14. asdf1234 Posted: November 09, 2011 at 07:47 AM (#3989078)
My first thought is that if we go in the batting cage right now and I throw it 95 [miles per hour], I don’t think you would ever touch the ball.


If.
   15. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 09, 2011 at 12:25 PM (#3989105)
My first thought is that if we go in the batting cage right now and I throw it 95 [miles per hour], I don’t think you would ever touch the ball.


If.

And if the interviewer didn't spook him by putting on a Yankee uniform.
   16. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 01:43 PM (#3989121)
Keep turning left, boys!
   17. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:03 PM (#3989128)
I'm not a NASCAR fan but a good friend is and I went to the Loudon, NH race a couple of times about a decade ago. It did not turn me into a fan but the experience in person is FAR superior than on TV. My buddy had headsets that allowed us to listen into the various pit crews talking to the drivers and that was interesting (long story short I understand why people disliked Jeff Gordon). It's not my cup of tea but my buddy explained some of the strategy in advance then hearing it throughout the race from the drivers/pit crews really brought it to life.
   18. TVerik. Old Java Rodney. Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:13 PM (#3989138)
A dispassionate observer could say that we all watch grown men hitting a ball with a stick. I spend thousands of hours a year worrying about the Yankees.

I find soccer interminable. And I can't watch basketball of any stripe. I don't think that indicates a problem with those sports - there are like three billion soccer fans in the world. I think that just indicates that "soccer probably ain't for me".
   19. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:28 PM (#3989152)
I have had many long discussions with friends on this, and I think people tend to prefer either "situational" sports: Baseball, football, golf I guess, where there a series of events and clear decisions to be made, or "flow" sports, basketball, soccer, nascar, where the action just kind of moves, and there are decisions to be made but they aren't really distinct and separate from the action.

I much prefer the dramatic structure of baseball. The only "flow" sport I like is mixed martial arts, where it is easier to follow the decision making because it is just two people.
   20. TVerik. Old Java Rodney. Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:52 PM (#3989177)
I love baseball, am completely neutral on football, and have never watched a golf match for which I wasn't paid.

Just a data point, Samurai.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:57 PM (#3989182)
I took 40 pitches in a batting cage that was set at either 90 or 95 mph. I don't remember which. Of those 40 swings, I made contact maybe 10 times. Maybe 3 or 4 of them would have been fair balls. All of them would have been easy infield outs.
   22. winnipegwhip Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:42 PM (#3989226)
Upon the viewing of the Ace Face's Vespa scooter, I feel compelled to yell.....


BELL BOY!!!!! BELL BOY!!!
   23. Barnaby Jones Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:04 PM (#3989269)
But seriously, other than the thrill of flaming wrecks, and the solidarity of leaving scribbled notes on the tombstones of fallen drivers, what is there in organized auto racing for the spectators?


I'm hardly a NASCAR enthusiast, but having been to and enjoyed Talladega, I have the following answers:

A) It is BYOB

B) Per A, the whole thing is basically a big party.

C) You get to watch impressive machines, go impressively fast impossibly close to each other. TV doesn't really do the impressiveness justice.

D) People watching... The things I have seen...

E) The opportunity to mock cars sponsored by boner pills for lagging behind the pack.

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