One of the greatest and most enduring things about NASCAR is its fans. They are some of the most passionate, devoted followers in the sports world today. Just look at any forum or message board; they will defend their driver and/or their team until their death. They are also willing to spend their time and money in order to show their loyalty and devotion. Those passions run deep and anyone who has ever gotten in the way of this can testify just how true this is.
A couple of weeks ago TC wrote a post, ranking first impressions of driver’s websites. If ever he hoped to incur the wrath of a loyal fan base, it was then. Ranking at the top of his list of worst sites was MarkMartin.com. The fans on the website’s forum tore him apart, angry that he would suggest Martin’s site was one of the worst. Their loyalty to their driver was and is impressive to say the least.
Along those same lines, one of my favorite things to do when I have time, is to go on Jayski and look through the comments people have left on the top news and rumors in the sport. It is a great way to gauge interest in certain topics and to hear what people are saying. Often times they veer way off topic and this is most often when people begin defending their drivers, or bashing someone else’s. It is interesting to see how quickly and fervently fans come to defend.
Perhaps most prominently, the race track is where fans most show their loyalty. Dressed in their NASCAR best, they show up to the track days in advance to prepare for Sunday’s event. They are not afraid to rib fans of their driver’s rival, nor are they afraid to show their emotions. For instance, earlier this season when Kyle Busch wrecked Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Richmond, Busch’s crew guys, knowing they would have to exit the infield to get to their rental cars, walked around the garage asking for other team’s crew shirts, afraid of what may lie outside pit road.
Alright, before we go any further I have a confession to make. Many years ago I stood in line, not once, but twice to get a driver’s autograph. I was there for hours with other fans hoping to catch a glimpse and hoping the driver would not stop signing before I got to him. Now I will not say what driver it was, that is not important, but I use this example to say, I know what it is like; I have been there.
The fans are not only what make this sport viable, they are what make this all worthwhile. Your passion and commitment allow 43 guys and countless others to go out every week and compete for fame and glory. Beyond their own egomania it is for the fans that the drivers drive every weekend. Without your passion and a willingness to give up time and money there would be no NASCAR.
Now its your turn. Tell me a time when you spent an inordinate amount of time waiting to see a driver. What do you do to show your loyalty? Have you ever done anything crazy to catch a glimpse of a driver or get an autograph?