Voices from the Cheap Seats · Jeff Meyer · Thursday June 14, 2012
Now that we are somewhere between one third and one half into one of the most lackluster racing seasons in recent memory, I find it difficult to really get enthused about NASCAR, let alone write about it every week. Oh, don’t get me wrong, this certainly isn’t the first time, as we have had many a ‘lackluster’ racing season over the years, but it is times like this that really get a man down, if you know what I mean.
Sure, there is the now old (and not un-expected) meltdown of Kurt Busch, but seeing as how it really comes as no surprise and the fact that it has been written about to death already, as a writer, you can only stretch that out so far. Add to all that the fact that the racing action has really just been a series of digitally recorded left turns, it leaves you pining for a bit more. It does me anyway. And so it came about, given all the above, I found myself thinking…’How has NASCAR (or the act of being an avid fan) REALLY changed my life?’
As a writer, I have gotten to attend many races at venues that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford, and I have had the opportunity to meet and forge friendships with some really awesome people. I also get to make a bit of cash just by sitting here and sharing my opinions (whether you agree or not) with you all, so there IS that, but I can’t say that being a member of the racing media has changed me or my day to day life, excepting of course the hassle of having a damn ‘deadline’ every week, in any earth shattering way.
The more I thought about it, I realized that NASCAR has changed the way I drive, or more pointedly, the way I am aware as I drive, more than anything else.
It’s like this; I LOVE to drive! I am a very good driver. Not to toot my own horn, or more eloquently, hoist with my own petard, I know in my heart that I would have been a very successful NASCAR driver, had things been different earlier in my life.
As I was thinking all this, I was, of course, driving. Now, I cannot understand, and I know there are a few out there, a NASCAR fan who doesn’t like to drive. If you are a fan, isn’t that sorta your dream?
Of course, we all know that we are not going to get out there on the track in the heat of competition, by why not, or better yet, HOW DOES IT NOT, affect the way you drive in your every day life?
As I said earlier, I am a good driver. The main reason, aside from the fact that I very seldom crash, is because I am aware of what is going on around, behind and in front of me. No, I’m not going 200 hundred miles per hour with a few other professional drivers, but I am doing (usually) upwards of 80 with a bunch of …of…other people, ranging from 16 to 100 yrs old, sane and insane, cell phone distracted, burger eating, makeup putting-oning (maybe that is ‘onning’?), texting or even drunken….yeah, I’ll stick with the word people. Now, I can’t claim to have never done any of those things while I was driving, but by and large, I do not. I’ve been known to chow down a burger or two but never, NEVER, do I eat Taco Bell in the car!
Anyway, before I ramble on too much, I want to share my secret with you. Yes, I may tailgate you a bit, but don’t worry, I won’t hit you. Yes, I may speed a bit but hey, I hate tickets just as much as the next guy so I usually keep my speeding down to 10 mph over the posted limit. No, I don’t make aggressive, un-safe maneuvers and in fact, I make it a point that, when I do make a move, it should not cause anyone to have to hit their brakes!
All of this comes down to this; I drive way ahead of myself. I’m not ‘focusing’ on the vehicle directly in front of me, yes, I see and know it’s there and I am aware of what it is doing but I am more focused on the ones in front of him! In essence, when I get to any particular spot on the road, I’ve already been there…in my mind anyway!
Unfortunately in today’s age, too many people’s vision seems to stop at the front of their own hood, and they act all surprised when they suddenly find a semi in front of them and want to come into my lane at the last second.
NASCAR fans know what I am talking about. We all aspire to be a ‘driver’. Who aspires to be a ‘groupie’?
I guess what I am trying to say to everyone out there is, when you’re out on the highway try pretending you ARE a driver. Drive way ahead of yourself if you don’t already. It’s a lot safer in that we are (usually) going less than half the speed of a real NASCAR driver, but a lot more unsafe in the fact that we have infinitely more idiots to deal with! That and no ‘governing body’ to provide parity!
Whatever you decide to do or how to drive, I’d love to hear if and or how NASCAR has REALLY changed your everyday life. In the meantime…
Stay off the wall,
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