Thursday, February 21, 2013

Shouldn't it be known as NAFCAR (National Association of Funny Car Racing)?

A recent article at TheDetroitBureau.com by Paul A. Eisenstein, "Ford Putting the "Stock" Back nto Stock Cars" struck a nerve with me. http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2013/02/ford-putting-the-stock-back-into-stock-cars/

The article shows how NASCAR's "Car of the Future" just didn't cut it for fans because all the cars were essentially the same with the cosmetic differences between Chevrolets, Dodges, Fords and Toyotas mainly decals. Ford, to their credit, has made this year's race car look more like an actual Fusion.

But so what?

The connection between road cars, or stock cars, and what NASCAR (the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) races has become more and more tenuous every year since it's inception as a sanctioning body in 1947 to the point now that the cars you see on the track bear almost no resemblance to what you can buy.

Every NASCAR race car is a front engined, rear-wheel-drive car. Every NASCAR race car is powered by an Over Head Valve, pushrod, V8 engine with 358 cubic inches. Every car has an engine of the same size and the cars are all the same size.

Dodge is no longer a participant in NASCAR, pulling out at the end of last year. At that time Dodge was the only participant that offered a street version of its race car, the Charger that had a V8 engine and rear-wheel-drive.

Chevrolet will offer a street car in 2014 that is similar to the new for 2013 NASCAR Chevrolet SS. It will be rear-wheel-drive and have a pushrod V8. How similar to the street car, that will be imported from Australia, the race car is is open to interpretation.

Ford and Toyota do not offer any Fusion or Camry that even comes close to their race cars no matter how much they look alike. You cannot, no matter how much money you have, go down to your local Ford or Toyota dealership and buy a pushrod V8 powered Fusion or Camry.

Don't get me wrong; NASCAR racing can be exciting but it isn't stock car racing. The cars are purpose built race cars built to very specific specifications. The engines are not even close, at least in the case of Ford and Toyota, to any engine either produce.

NASCAR is in decline, not drastically but attendance and viewership is down. When the cars were similar to what you could buy on the showroom floor (even though there were vast differences) they had some relevance. "Race on Sunday, sell on Monday" still held true. But now? Only the completely brain dead believes the Fusion sitting on the local dealer's lot has any similarity at all to the ones on track. You let me know when you can buy a two-door, pushrod V8 powered, rear-wheel-drive Fusion and I'll hustle right down and buy one. And if you find a rear-wheel-drive, pushrod V8 powered Camry please let me know where.

I'll watch the Daytona 500 this coming Sunday but I will not be watching a "stock car race."





No comments: