Poll: do you watch F1 and NASCAR?

Formula 1 and NASCAR. Are they polar opposites with entirely different groups of fans, or can you enjoy them both?

This poll has now closed – see the F1 and NASCAR poll results.

See the results of the previous poll.

NASCAR is the number one motorsport in America by miles. Juan Pablo Montoya defected to the championship from F1 in 2006 and Jacques Villeneuve and Scott Speed are trying to follow him. Villeneuve’s deal to race this year has apparently fallen through and Speed is racing in one of the junior categories to the top level, the Sprint Cup.

This weekend sees the first round of the 2008 NASCAR series at Daytona. Will you be watching?

I can see the appeal of NASCAR – the cars run a lot closer to each other than F1 cars do and there are a lot more of them. And actually being able to go to a race and see the entire circuit from one point has its advantages.

But I feel the same way about NASCAR as I do about Moto GP – although they’re both quite like Formula 1, they don’t excite me in the same way.

NASCARs don’t look like racing machines to me – they look bluff and bloated. Although they can race closely it only seems as though they really fight for position late in the race.

Above all, I don’t find it spectacular. An F1 car on the limit looks fast – NASCARs just look ordinary. It’s not that I don’t like oval racing – some of the most spectacular races I’ve seen were the 500 mile races on the superspeedways in the former CART series.

But NASCAR, so far, doesn’t do it for me. Nonetheless I’ll be watching tomorrow, to see if it finally clicks. How about you? It would be interesting to see if there’s a split between American, European and other fans…

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28 comments on Poll: do you watch F1 and NASCAR?

  1. Robert McKay said on 16th February 2008, 18:31

    I’ve started watching NASCAR because of it’s appearance on Sky (watched the Budweiser Shootout and the Gatorade Duels). I will watch the Daytona 500 to see what the fuss is about. But it’s not easy to get into from a Formula 1 fan point of view. I don’t really understand the sport very well. I’m not going to make the usual nonsense comments about it not being difficult to always go left, because the cars look very tricky to drive in the turbulent air and the pack mentality is very different to F1’s well-strung-out fields.

    But (and this might sound stupid) I can’t see how races are won and lost. The cars are designed so specifically for drafting that you can’t pull away and so it just seems (not saying it is, but as a non-convert it does seem) like it’s fairly random who actually wins. People pass other people, people lose a huge load of places in one go, without it actually being very obvious why they were faster or slower, though I suppose that’s the nuances of the sport. Like all American motorsports, full course cautions add yet another largely random factor into the mix, because you can be scuppered easily with pit strategy. And F1 can be criticised for not having enough overtaking, but definitely too much overtaking is ruinous as well.

    At the moment I’m trying to get into it, partly because I’m kind of interested in how the new open wheelers go – Franchitti, Villeneuve, Carpentier (and JPM to an extent since he’s still relatively new too) – and partly because the motorsport seasons are still getting started and beyond A1GP/GP2 Asia there’s not much on. Will be interesting when all the European motorsport seasons are back up and running (and even American endurance/open wheel series) to see whether I still am bothering to tune in. I’m not going to vote just yet, because I’m not really watching NASCAR as a fan, but I am watching, if you see what I’m getting at.

    One thing I will say as a big plus for NASCAR – the TV presentation. The pictures are great, the onscreen graphics especially good (I don’t understand why F1 can’t utilise the graphics that update the gaps between cars IN REAL TIME, and not every sector/lap).

  2. I didn’t realize the series was available in the UK. For novice viewers, don’t be ruined by the Daytona and Talladega races, as they are the most boring as cited by Robert above.

    My strategy is watch the beginning, go to lunch and cocktails, and come see the end in 3-4 hours. The other tracks and circuits do involve braking and other driving skills, beyond the drafting of Daytona. Not to mention liberal applications of the fabled chrome horn. And please watch them when they go to their two road courses, Watkins Glen and the road course at Sonoma. Very interesting with loads of passing.

    And lastly the team/driver dramas are almost as interesting as F1, including team “cheating” for track advantages. But in my heart of hearts, open wheel will always be number one.

  3. TommyBellingham said on 16th February 2008, 21:27

    Obviously I watch F1, being a massive fan have watched it nearly all my life (since 1996) I occassionally watch a bit of NASCAR on sky when i see its on but to be honest I only really check to see Jacques and Juan Pablo. Although last year i start watching the IRL and got really into it. I will hopefully watch the full season next year as the last few races were amazing. I even enjoyed the ovals! :D

  4. Dave M said on 16th February 2008, 21:30

    I’d be interested in sampling Nascar if it was easily available to watch in the UK. I don’t have Sky though.

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th February 2008, 21:30

    Hi George – Sky are showing it this year, last year it was available via subscription but it’s on one of the proper Sky Sports channels now. Point taken about the other races I will definitely tune in for some of them.

  6. TommyBellingham said on 16th February 2008, 21:35

    Oh and I agree totally with you about other motorsports dont excite you enough. For me an average F1 race still excites me more then a really amazing A1GP or nascar race. Theres nothing like the excitment at the start of an F1 race :D For me its like premiership football, a 1-0 match between Arsenal and Chelsea seems more exciting to me then if Accrington Stanley win 11-0 or something. Its the hype and the amount of importance it has makes it even better

  7. Number 38 said on 16th February 2008, 22:15

    The question asks “….or can you enjoy them both?”
    The correct answer is YES, you can …….. if you want to.

    The poll is meaningless as it’s asked in a naturally biased environment. Ask the same question on a USA oval track site and you’d get polar opposite results.

  8. I watched NASCAR before I watched F1. I still enjoy both, but in very different ways. Specifically, I wish NASCAR races were about half the distance, and I wish the top four spots in F1 weren’t pretty much set before the cars even unload for the weekend.

    The cup races are way too long and seem to only server the purpose of allowing more commercials. Even the drivers know to just ride around and keep their nose clean for the first 80% and they’ll have a decent shot at winning. Also, I truly believe that NASCAR officials have thrown caution flags for “debris” that serve only to bunch the field.

    For those reading who are seeing NASCAR for the first time, don’t judge it by Daytona and Talledega. At those tracks NASCAR mandates the use of restrictor plates in the engine which artificially limit the amount of oxygen it can suck in, which reduces the maximum horse power and also the pick-up of the car. Since no one can out muscle anyone else, and because the cars are so dependent on aero at those tracks, you get those huge clump of cars. The first 400 miles of the Daytona 500 will be very boring. The next 80 miles will be good, and the last 20 miles will be amazing. I second the opinion that you should skip the middle part of the race. I usually watch the first 20 laps and the last 50.

    Stick with it and try one of the other tracks. Well worth watching is the “Bullring” at Bristol (imagine running F1 cars on a go cart track – it’s kind of like that), and Dover and Atlanta usually have great races too.

  9. As a further enticement to watching NASCAR style oval racing, they race practically every weekend, a total of 36 events. And the Q times from 1st to last (43 cars) are usually within a total of 2 seconds with the top 15 not more than 2-4 tenths apart.

    The cars are butt ugly with nothing in common to road cars other than name plates and grill shapes. Standardized aero body shapes and limited engine regs. They use carburetors for god’s sake! It’s very difficult to be creative with NASCAR banning most innovations as soon as they are discovered by tech inspections. Sound familiar F1 fans? That’s where Max is pushing F1 for all he’s worth and I oppose it, having witnessed the negative impacts in NASCAR and American OW racing in general.

  10. Nathan Jones said on 17th February 2008, 4:01

    i’d follow NASCAR if it was shown in oz on free to air!

  11. I don’t follow NASCAR, but I like it as a form of racing in terms of closeness and the ability to draft with a few cars in a chain…however, overall it just doesn’t excite me.

    It’s kinda like having steak ale pie – I’ll have it if it’s there, but I wouldn’t order it.

  12. I did follow NASCAR quite closley when I was in my early childhood- early to mid 90’s, when Earnhart was dominating and Gordon was just breaking onto the stage. After that, I haven’t followed racing until latching onto F1 this last season.

    NASCAR, in my opinion, is drivin by desires for pairity and equality- hence all the restrictions and lack of technological development. With regards to overtaking, I think that appeals to fans of the series itself, but not to the average race fan who tunes in. Many of you do make a good comment about the races being too long, it dose lead to comments such as “NASCAR is a bunch of guys turning left all day.”

    For what i’ve seen, perhaps the toughest hurdle for F1 fans to deal with in attempts to follow NASCAR is that the sport is still deeply rooted in the southern US, where the racing culture is not familiar to fans in many traditional F1 markets. However, this may change a bit with more international drivers such as Montoya coming to the sport. The NASCAR Nationwide Series also visits current and former F1 venues in Montreal and Mexico City on an annual basis now.

  13. Who voted for “Just NASCAR”? The obvious question being “what are doing polling at an F1 site?”.

    Just F1 for me – I can’t stand big points systems and safety cars doing ten laps less than the race winner….

  14. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th February 2008, 9:52

    Mark this – in Britain you can now watch NASCAR live and in high-definition. But not Formula 1. Great job, Bernie.

  15. Robert McKay said on 17th February 2008, 10:15

    Thanks to all the people warning not to judge on Daytona alone…will bear that in mind myself. And thanks for the restrictor plate explanation.

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