Crashes almost every lap. A car flipped over and on fire. Cussing on live TV. The best accents in the world. All this and more from the modified stock car race on Tuesday night, the best/worst TV I’ve seen in a long time.
Before I continue, do not read this if you’re looking for a nuanced race commentary. Go here for that. I didn’t even know who won the race until a few hours later, and I’d never even seen these cars before I turned on SPEED.
What I found was a ‘modified’ race, which had cars with about as much power as a Ferrari Enzo and weighs as much as your aunt’s old Honda Civic (650 horsepower and 2,500 lbs). They were going around a flat, asphalt “short track.” One of the announcers told me ‘all you need is some tires and a parking lot and you can make this racetrack,’ to which I replied ‘don’t encourage me.’
And by going around, I mean going around very slowly. The average speed of the race was just below 39 miles per hour, which is slower than NASCAR racers go in pit lane.
They were going so slowly because it seemed like they spent the whole race under caution, and every time they got a green flag, somebody immediately crashed. Principally this guy, who got flipped onto his roof, and then stuck in a burning car.
The emergency crews were great and he got out unscathed, but he is part of just a family operation and that was his only car, so he’s out for the season.
I can’t imagine Sebastian Vettel saying ‘oh yeah, Kimi crashed into me, so I guess I’m done for the year.’
On the very last lap of the race, the guy in second bumped the driver in first, and at the same time the driver in third bumped the guy in second. The guy in first spun out, and it was all very much legal within the rules.
The guy who ended up in second place only regretted that the spinning car in front of him kept him from making a pass for the lead.
They interviewed the guy who got spun and he was perhaps the angriest looking man I have ever seen.
The excellent @nascarcasm summed up why the censors should’ve been a bit faster with the bleep button.
For future reference, this is not the look of a guy who's about to say "That was balderdash and poppycock." twitter.com/nascarcasm/sta…— nascarcasm (@nascarcasm) February 20, 2013
On the subject of cussing on camera, the driver who had been leading the nearly every lap of the race had been taken out when part of his suspension broke. The camera crews followed him to the pits, catching this lovely f-bomb on the same channel that sells ad space to ‘Christian Mingle’ dating service.
The final winner of the race was Steve Park, who used to race and win in NASCAR’s top series until a freak crash in 2001 while the cars were under caution left him with severe brain damage. After much work, the guy has made a full recovery.
In the end I feel a little strange. You know those weird guys who watch college football instead of the NFL years after they graduate? I became one of those people on Tuesday night, when I watched this junior-league stock car race that was equal parts amazing, terrible, and hilarious. I’ll keep watching, so long as stock cars stay this good, even when everything goes wrong.
Also there was a team entered as “Hillbilly Racing.” I have no jokes for that.