The Thrill of the Race...
It is the roar of the engines, the smell of burning rubber and the thrill that comes with running 180+ miles an hour into a banking 35 degree corner with the competition practically biting your heels. It is knowing that one false move could result in a trip into the wall.
That is what auto racing is all about. You'd never guess it from my quiet, reserved demeanor, but this sport is also one of my hidden passions. From the stock car series races of NASCAR's Winston Cup and Busch, Grand National Division Series to the FedEx Championship Series to the drag racing events of the National Hot Rod Association, I love the high speeds and death-defying thrills that accompany this sport.
It all started when I was a little girl. I used to watch the races on television with my dad every weekend. I didn't know it then, but I was hooked.
From its Humble Beginnings...
Today, NASCAR races are some of America's most well-known motor sports events. With drivers like Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte battling it out every weekend, the sport has risen to new heights in terms of popularity as measured by viewership ratings and race attendance figures. The financial side of the sport has also exploded with sponsorship deals and licensing deals that now reach into the millions of dollars.
The sport wasn't always what it is today. Auto racing's beginnings extend back to the days of Prohibition when early pioneers like Junior Johnson beefed up their cars to haul whiskey and elude the police. NASCAR, the main officiating body of the sport, was created in 1948 under the leadership of Bill France. Legends like Buddy Baker, Neil Bonnett and Edward Glenn "Fireball" Roberts grew the sport to new levels.
Teams found ways to build faster cars, and the sport took on a whole new meaning. Legendary drivers like Ned Jarrett, Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt pushed the sport to new levels.
Now, sponsorship deals and race purses have climbed into the millions of dollars, and safety has taken on an even greater importance in light of recent tragedies. However, the true spirit behind the sport has remained unchanged. The competitive nature of auto racing drives its athletes to achieve their best, and the fans' love for the sport keeps it flourishing.
My Own Experience
Last summer, I had the privilege of interning at a marketing communications agency that specialized in motor sports. I had the opportunity to attend several NASCAR and CART races and work alongside some of NASCAR's greatest. I watched the races from the pits and had access to the teams' garages and car haulers.
I remember my first week on the job, I helped host a black-tie dinner to honor legendary driver Junior Johnson as he was inducted into the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. I assisted in representing several of our drivers at race events and helped coordinate numerous media events and interviews.
My experience with the sport was one I will always treasure. I was always a fan, but now I watch the races with an entirely new perspective.
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This page was designed by Jennifer Hogue
Last updated on 3/14/01
MMC 3260/Communications on the Internet