Posted 24 July 2007 - 11:06 AM
Thanks, Nick, for the kind words. As to the athlete comments, Steve and djong are dead on the money. You have to be in splendid physical condition to endure the "left turn, drive like hell, brake, left turn" of motor racing. As to the "astronaut diapers", I wouldn't be to surprised if it were true. After all, these guys have to sit in their driver's seat for up to five hours without getting out.
Temperatures of up to 170 degrees inside the car are not uncommon. The drivers get a chance to get rehydrated a bit during their pit stops. The stress level is incredibly high -- try driving at speeds of up to 200 mph at a distance of a few feet from cars surrounding you for up to five hours (as in the Coke 600).
This all takes a huge amount of stamina. To be sure, some drivers look like they are out of shape. Take Tony Stewart -- he's pretty chunky looking, but when he wins a 400 or 500 mile race, he still has the capability to climb the chain link fence to the top of the starter's stand while still wearing his firesuit, helmet and driving boots.
I also have to confess that I once had a kind of negative view of motorsports. That all changed once I saw a race in person. It's a tremendously exciting experience.
I grew up in Chicago, during the time of radio announcers Bob Elson (White Sox) and Bert Wilson (Chicago Cubs) - I still remember Wilson saying,"I don't care who wins, as long as it's the Cubs". Being a "southsider", I was a White Sox fan. Over the years, I've attended home games of the Cubs, White Sox, Mets and Washington Senators, and more recently, the minor league Charlotte Knights. Being at the games is far more satisfying than watching them on television. On TV, to me, they are stil very boring. Not so with football, basketball or soccer.
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