The Frontstretch: NASCAR-ese: A NASCAR to English Dictionary by Amy Henderson -- Thursday July 7, 2011

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NASCAR-ese: A NASCAR to English Dictionary

Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Thursday July 7, 2011


Sometimes NASCAR is a little like visiting a foreign country. Sure, you took the language in high school, and you understand enough to get by, but you feel like there’s an awful lot being said that you don’t understand. The little dictionary helps, but you still feel a little out of the loop. You really wish you had a translator.

A lot of times, it seems like you might need a translator to understand NASCAR-ese in the Brain France Era. So many words get thrown around and just when you think you understand, NASCAR throws a curveball and changes the game. I’ve put together a little cheat sheet to help clear up any misunderstandings that fans might have with the language. Here are a few words from NASCAR-ese and, to the best I can figure, what they really mean in the local dialect.

Probation Translation: “Well crap. We don’t really want to punish this driver because what he did wrong was A: actually pretty good for the old TV ratings and maybe fans will tune in to see what happens, or B: excusable because we like him and it might help him dethrone Five-Time in the long run. Which would go directly back to A. On the other hand, we sort of backed ourselves into a corner here because we do have rules, so we have to at least look like we’re doing something. As long as we don’t have to actually enforce this deal, we all go home happy.”

No Fighting Translation: “What we actually meant by the no fighting rule was no fighting where anyone can see you. If you slug a guy in the hauler, that’s different than slugging him in the garage, because nobody else saw it. So we won’t do anything if you go at it in the truck. If you go at it in public, well, we do have an actual written rule about fighting, so we’re going to have to punish you. So we’re going to put you on probation. That will take care of it.”

Actions Detrimental to Stock Car Racing Translation: “Look, son, people are pretty ticked at what you did. Whether or not you violated an actual rule is irrelevant because we have this little catch-all. If you did break one, well we can make it sound even more impressive if we add this on to the list. Basically, it means if we don’t like something you do, well, let’s just say donations to the NASCAR Foundation are down this year and you’re going to help make up the difference.”

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have no problem collecting two paychecks a weekend, and NASCAR’s happy to facilitate.

Nationwide Series Translation: “Driver development? That sounds okay. But you know what would be really cool? A division that races at the same tracks as the Cup series so the Cup drivers can race twice every week! Think of the revenue! Think of the t-shirt sales! The fans wouldn’t have to go to all that trouble to learn another set of drivers’ names, that’s way too hard for them to keep straight! It would be great! The fans? We’ll fool them by having a different champion so they’ll think we actually want the series regulars there. No problem. Now back to those t-shirt sales…”

Camping World Truck Series Translation: “The best racing in NASCAR’s touring series. Wait, that can’t be right! We’ll underexpose them and only show the races on Speed so people don’t notice how great they are. They still think rubbing is racing. How dumb is that? That’s SO 1990! Hang on. Can we use truck stats to pad a Cup drivers’ win total and make him look all impressive? Cool!”

The Nationwide Series will race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2012 Translation: “Well, crap. The Cup race just isn’t drawing like it used to. Maybe if we gimmick up the weekend with a bunch of other races we can sell the weekend as a “package” that actually looks like a good deal and draw a few more people. Besides, it just doesn’t look right when we can’t fill seats at the most prestigious track in auto racing with our premier series when those second-series guys sell out that rinky-dink little short track down the road. So we’re going to kill two birds with one stone. Wait, what? Racing? What the hell does racing have to do with any of this?”

Debris Translation: “Something that gets on the track that might damage a car if we don’t clean it up. Visible? You mean should we be able to see it? Only if the race lead is less than two seconds. Any more than that and we don’t take any chances. Invisible debris kills.”

Green-White-Checkered Finish Translation: “We’ll make three attempts at this so that the fans can see the finish they paid for. Unless of course, we like the guy who’s winning. Then we’ll conveniently lose the yellow flag even if there’s a big wreck.

The Official ____ of NASCAR Translation: “A race team didn’t really need that sponsorship money anyway.”

Sponsor Translation: “I wonder if we can get them to be the new Official ____ of NASCAR?”

The Chase Wild-Card Spots Translation: “What are we going to do if Dale Junior wins a race this year and still doesn’t make the Chase? Wait, I have an idea…”

Start and Park Translation: “Oh, you mean the guys who pay us their entry fees and ensure us a full field so we don’t have to pay the network. Do something about them? What do you mean? Why would we want to do that?”

Short Track Translation: “Isn’t that some kind of dinosaur? They’re extinct, right? No? Maybe we should help them along.”

Darlington Translation: “The oldest track longer than a mile? Yeah, that’s nice. Tradition and all. Big deal. The bar scene stinks. I hear the night life in Atlanta is outstanding. Racing? What the hell does racing have to do with any of this?”

Rockingham Translation: “That place in North Carolina we ditched because too many Southern tracks made us look like a redneck sport. But hey, it’s all good. We have Fontana instead! Racing? What the hell does racing have to do with any of this?”

Danica Translation: “Cash Cow. Wait, is it politically correct to call her a cow?”

Contact Amy Henderson

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07/07/2011 11:27 PM

Awesome, funny, and most of all true.

07/08/2011 11:18 AM

“Official ____ of NASCAR is too true to be funny. That is the biggest rip-off. COORS is the official beer of NASCAR? after they ditched Sterling? Not in my Fridge. those sponsors should be on cars…

07/08/2011 11:23 AM

What the hell does racing have to do with any of this? LOL

Carl D.
07/08/2011 01:19 PM

“They still think rubbing is racing. How dumb is that? That’s SO 1990!”

Sadly, that’s how he see’s it.

07/08/2011 01:32 PM

A good summation of why the sport is in the piss poor state that it is.

Bill B
07/08/2011 02:25 PM

“If you slug a guy in the hauler, that’s different than slugging him in the garage, because nobody else saw it. So we won’t do anything if you go at it in the truck.”

Amy, do not forget addendum to fighting rule: if you bring a card-carrying lawyer with you to the fight, the bully WILL get fined.

Second addendum: If you slug Kyle Busch after a truck race, the next time you have a chance to beat him, the hood pins will fly off your truck as your driver moves in for the pass.”

Karma, voodoo, coincidence? Doesn’t really matter as long as Richard the Dickhead suffers.

And Unwritten Rule: NASCAR really, really loves them some Kyle Busch! He is their only crowd-pleasing/displeasing alternative to the one whose name shall not be mentioned. And NOTHING is worse than boredom in the entertainment industry!

07/08/2011 05:09 PM

Caught the little dig at Kyle…again…from Amy.

Kyle is the ONLY reason I still, barely, pay any attention to nascar anymore.

07/08/2011 09:05 PM

Maybe there is a reason Brian is in Daytona Beach.

Here’s a news story from Daytona Beach Shores, so it must be close to Daytona Beach. Be sure to read the last sentence. There’s the reason to hate lawyers.

The city of Daytona Beach Shores will pay a $195,000 settlement to four strippers who were illegally strip-searched.

The federal lawsuit arose from a September 2009 raid on Biggins Gentlemen’s Club, the Florida bar where the women worked, reports the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.

Undercover cops who were investigating the club obtained an “all-persons search warrant” and used it to search everyone on the premises, including four dancers and two female bartenders. The lawyer representing the six employees, Brett Hartley, told the Sentinel the women were strip-searched in front of 20 male officers.

That violates state law that stipulates strip searches must be conducted (and observed) only by people of the same gender as the detained person, said Judge Mary E. Scriven.

The judge agreed such a warrant is illegal and called it “unconstitutionally overboard.”

Lawyer Hartley said most of the settlement money will go to paying his fees, and the women will receive $5,000 each.

07/08/2011 09:07 PM

Great article Amy…this proves the point about how NASCAR really thinks real fans. They must believe we are all oblivious to reality.

07/10/2011 08:55 AM

Great article Amy
you summed it up


Contact Amy Henderson

Recent articles from Amy Henderson:

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Announces Partnership with Cessna, Textron
Fans To Decide Format of Sprint Unlimited at Daytona
UNOH and Kentucky Speedway Extend Sponsorship Agreement
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Want to know more about Amy or see an archive of all of her articles? Check out her bio page for more information.