Is NASCAR a sport?

Noah Pagella, Op-Ed Editor

A sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. With this definition of a sport, multiple requirements need to be met for an activity to be considered a sport.

NASCAR (The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) is the American auto racing sanctioning and operating company that is best known for stock-car racing. Stock car racing within NASCAR is essentially driving in a closed-off track shaped like a circle for 500 miles worth of racing. Keeping this in mind the question left in the open is, can driving be considered a sport? NASCAR is labeled as a “motor sport” so, technically, yes, but does it meet the simple few requirements within the definition of a sport? 

The first initial requirement for an activity to be a sport is for the activity to involve physical exertion and skill. Think about driving a car… foot on the pedal driving down the road with occasional turns of the steering wheel using your hands. This is not physical exertion; it requires no specific body type or skill set to drive normally. However, NASCAR is more than just a mellow drive through a suburban town. It’s fast, and requires a level of skill to handle a vehicle at such high speeds, but how challenging could it really be? Although the drivers could face speeds up to two hundred miles per hour making it challenging to maneuver their car, when the only directions they go are straight with an occasional left turn it eliminates the challenge brought forth by the high speeds. Due to its simplicity. This showing NASCAR doesn’t require any physical skill, or intelligence.

NASCAR may be just driving, but it is competitive and the competition draws in millions of annual viewers. That being said, the NASCAR viewer base has been slowly dying, as stated in Forbes magazine, “The race drew 4.75 million viewers, off 20% from 5.9 million in 2017 and 29% from the 6.66 million in 2016.” This steady decline puts into question whether or not it can be considered as entertainment as the fan base decays.

While the fan base is dying of boredom at a steady pace, the prizes for winning races stays high with prizes still up to one million dollars. However based off of NASCAR’S decreasing viewer base, it won’t be long before less, and less sponsorship money comes in, meaning lower prizes.

Reviewing all aspects of what makes an activity a sport put NASCAR under a microscope, because it really comes down to opinion. It meets requirements just enough to be considered a sport, but is it really one? A majority of our staff members don’t believe in the fallacy of NASCAR being a sport, instead we consider it a competition, which is an event or contest in which people compete. NASCAR’s eligibility as a sport can be debated, but no matter what side you are on  just know it’s not a sport.