It has been a week of unrest, controversy, and insanity. The sport of NASCAR is one that usually brings people apart, but over the last nine days the bigger picture is overshadowing what all took place on Sunday at Bristol. The story of who was right or wrong when Chase Elliott and Joey Logano had their run-in suddenly got overshadowed by another instance of a battle among races, and injustice.
One thing about NASCAR is that it allows folks from so many backgrounds, not just from different racing experience, but ethnicity, religion, race and gender.
It’s about who is the best on the track, not about who is the better person. It’s about at the end of the day, who had the best team, the best driver, and the best car to take home that checkered flag. In the garage, everyone is after the same goal…victory. Among teams, we see diversity beyond the one at the wheel. Engineers, shop technicians, pit crew, and anyone in between can come from whatever background and show they are the best individual for the job.
We’ve seen racing bring an entire nation together after it was unable to enjoy sports for over two months, and made everyone happy and excited.
With sports slowly making it’s return, in a sense NASCAR is one of the hardest to see how it went from being a “southern” sport to having so much diversity in the garage. The idea of what a typical driver should be has been erased pretty much since the early 1990’s when Jeff Gordon came on board. He was an open-wheel guy that made the transition, but he wasn’t the type that would go out in a field and hunt a high-horned deer during rifle season. He wouldn’t be one to get out a rod and go on a lake alongside Bill Dance in hopes of reeling in a large mouth bass. He instead swam with the fish, and enjoyed being on planes rather than at the wheel of a pickup.
Today, drivers are diverse in skin color and interests, religion and hobbies. That in turn, has brought in so many different fans that the sport is rivaling the diversity of baseball.
But when Sunday comes, and the NASCAR Cup Series has the green flag wave in Atlanta, at that moment it no longer is about one color vs. another, but instead 40 drivers chasing one checkered flag.
Drivers have voiced their support and their opinions this week, and very little has been done in backlash and anger. After being away for so long, being together as one big racing family makes everyone happy, even without the grandstands full.
Rest assured, however, when fans are allowed to return to the track to see their drivers, it will be fans of every walk of life that buys tickets.
Sunday’s race now represents being one, as every driver and every team has one goal, but they all are part of a bigger picture. Let’s bring a bit of peace to this world and enjoy some racing on a 23-year-old surface that makes every car slide, all sets of tires wear out after just a couple laps, and makes drivers hold on for every corner.