Is Racing a Real Sport?

Anna Kasulas, Staff Writer

The biggest controversy in racing is whether or not it’s actually considered a sport. When this topic comes up the argument is that they just drive, so how could driving be a sport? 

Oxford defines a sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” The biggest argument of this is that racing doesn’t require any physical exertion on drivers because they’re just driving and “anyone can drive a car.” The reality is that race car drivers experience more G-force than any other athletes plus they experience intense heat especially during the summer. In a NASCAR stock car it can reach up to 170 degrees or more in the car. An example of G-force drivers experience is in Formula One drivers usually experience 5 g while braking, 2 g while accelerating, and 4 to 6 g while cornering.

Not to mention the amount of skill it takes to maneuver any kind of race car whether it be open-wheel, stock, or sport. These aren’t just your typical cars, though they have the appearance as such. Drivers have to be able to control their car at speeds over 200 mph in F1 and up to 200 mph in NASCAR, this includes taking corners, drafting along with braking and accelerating. Hand in hand with car control is fast reflexes, drivers need to be able to read their surroundings and they engage in specific training for their hand-eye coordination. They also must endure the mental, physical and emotional pressure that comes with the job, from driving, training, sponsors, fans, and teams. The emotional toll is seen often when drivers come close to a win or when they wreck out of the race. They also have to have the ability to work with their team-crew chief, car chief, spotter team owner, pit crew, etc.-because it’s not as easy as it seems. There are numerous occasions in which a driver or team member fails to communicate ending in a penalty for the driver on track or the team off track. And these skills come with mostly any sport, so why would racing not be considered a sport?

A major point in the aspect of whether or not NASCAR is a sport is that they just make left turns and drive in a circle. Well most people choose to ignore the fact that road courses do in fact exist in which they make right turns. The point in this is that not just anyone can “just make left turns” at upwards of 200 mph at bankings of up to 33 degrees (Talladega).