Nascar race today. It’s a phrase that has entered the language, but you might not know why or how it works.
In racing, pit stops are frequent; cars have to be refilled with gas, and there can be delays while mechanics work on them. So the strategy is to make pit stops as infrequent as possible, so they can be done without losing track position.
The problem is that every car has a relatively limited supply of fuel. If you are low on fuel when you make a pit stop, you can’t get the car filled up. And if you have to stay out on the track when your car isn’t repaired, your lead over second place goes down.
One solution is to go back to the garage after each pit stop and do some more work on the car. But this adds delay—you need to leave your car on the track for longer than a few seconds for any serious repairs—and leaves you vulnerable to attacks from others lurking in your garage.
Nascar is a special case, in that it requires a special kind of talent. The best drivers are not merely better than everyone else; they are better than everyone else at two things: driving extremely fast at high speeds and managing the risks involved in doing so. They are the acrobats of car racing.
Nascar races are exciting, high-speed races on oval tracks.
Nascar originated in the United States in the 1950s, and today there are many different types of nascar races, from stock car racing to open wheel racing to drag racing. But they all feature big powerful cars speeding around a track at very high speeds.
The first nascar race was held in Daytona Beach, Florida in February 1946. The first winner was a car called Little Red Riding Hood, run by a man named Mabel Ethelreda Henry. She won because the other cars couldn’t keep up with her.
It is known that Little Red Riding Hood’s real name was Margaret Elizabeth Henry; she claimed that her husband had sold her as a child to some people who were running an orphanage and then had conveniently forgotten about her when he got married. That’s what made Little Red Riding Hood so famous: it was the first time anyone had ever gotten revenge on her parents for selling her as a child.
This is not a question of whether nascar is good or bad, or even whether I like it. It’s a question of whether you can make money in it, and we’ll leave the discussion of whether it’s fun for ourselves, when we end up considering whether you can make money at it.
What we have here is a pure case of entrepreneurship. The basic idea is that people will pay lots of money to watch professional athletes perform their job. In the old days professional athletes did their job for no pay. Now they do their job for $200,000 to $300,000 a year. That’s what makes this entrepreneurial: someone who owns stock in the nascar organization makes money from the fact that he owns stock in an organization that does something people want to see done.
The point isn’t that he’s doing anything wrong or unethical. It’s just that if you want to get rich at something, you’d better be good at it.
Sixty years ago, Coca-Cola was a minor soft drink. Then, in the 1960s, NASCAR swept the country, as young people began to watch stock cars racing around big ovals on TV. The sport was inspired by a need for something to fill the emptiness of television. But what we think of now as NASCAR is really a different thing, invented in 1947.
The original idea was a cheap way to race cars in local tracks using automobile parts and techniques that already existed. In its early decades, the biggest problem was getting the cars started. As soon as the technology allowed it, they started using diesel engines instead of gasoline engines, which made them more powerful but also harder to start.
As the sport became more popular, it needed new stories and new competitors besides just local racers. So in 1960 they came up with Dale Earnhardt and his famous black hat. That helped make them famous, but it also made them more dangerous: they were now racing against each other rather than just against local racers. And then in 1965 they came up with Richard Petty driving his
The best driver today is
You’ve been told there is a big difference between work and play. That work is serious and important, and play is silly and trivial. But what if the distinction isn’t there? What if work and play are different ways of doing the same thing?
In fact the whole concept of separate kinds of work (serious or fun) is a cultural invention. In nature, everything we do, no matter how boring or frivolous, is a kind of play. The whole point of life is to do things that matter.