75 million NASCAR fans can’t be wrong | PostIndependent.com

75 million NASCAR fans can’t be wrong

Casper's CornerJeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Rowdy fans firing beer cans at Jeff Gordon.Weekly – nay, daily – feuds. The Car of Tomorrow.Drivers severing ties with their teams mid-season. Vigilante drivers (Robby Gordon) taking caution-flag placing into their own hands.Hot-headed brothers ruffling feathers and winning big.Did I mention the feuds?NASCAR: It’s FAN-tastic, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to latch on to one of America’s most beloved sports. After all, 75 million fans can’t be wrong.Before this year, I’d maybe watched one race live. I’m currently on the heels of catching a healthy chunk of two straight races on TV. I even listened to pretty much an entire race on the radio while driving home from Denver on Sunday.And I can’t complain. There really is legitimacy to this whole auto-racing-is-a-sport thing. Driver style and skill truly does play into figuring who wins and loses. Pit strategies and teamwork are also huge determinants of success.Clearly, not all Americans respect NASCAR. Auto racing is dogged by the misconception that all its drivers and fans are drawling rednecks.That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson: rednecks? Hardly.As locally based auto racer Bob Schaeffer, who has long run both state- and national-level circuits, put it best during an interview earlier this summer: “(Racing)’s really had to reinvent itself. It used to be viewed as a redneck, greaseball type of thing, but it’s certainly reached mainstream now, finally. I’ve raced against doctors, lawyers, things like that all through my career. Very educated people.”NASCAR is the second-most watched sport on television behind football and is responsible for 17 of the top 20 attended sporting events in the U.S.Who’d have thought, right? It’s finally OK to be a NASCAR fan, so why not? Officially count me among the bandwagon jumpers.But I would like a little help from the NASCAR faithful out there. As I enter the fray of NASCAR fandom, I do have one issue. I can’t seem to tab a favorite driver. Please help me with this. Write me (at the address at the end of the column) and convince me to adopt your favorite driver. And help further my NASCAR education in the process.Contact Jeff Caspersen: 384-9123jcaspersen@postindependent.com

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