More NASCAR Punditry Flung off the Rails into a Ditch

As seen in my preceding post when it comes to punditry, whether it be of the NASCAR variety or political/social, it must come with at least a modicum of truthfulness. If not you’re just a hack with a license to print.

Yesterday’s example was on the Vickers/Earnhardt controversy. Today’s edition of punditry gone wild is via the Orlando Sentinel and David Whitley. He’s latched onto the age-old favorite axiom of the misguided that NASCAR drivers aren’t athletes.

It’s Whitley’s contention that NASCAR drivers are nothing more than short-order cooks. His reasoning, if your generous enough to call it that? Cooks withstand 100 degree heat for hours just as the drivers do.

A little thing like being about 40 degrees off on the temps apparently fails to register in the mush he passes off as a logical conclusion. He also disregards the fact his “Waffle House” chef doesn’t have a sous-chef inches away going 200 mph like a driver does barreling into turn-three at Talladega.

I won’t bore you with much more, I’m certain many of you have seen and heard the same many times, I will offer this bit of “sage wisdom by Whitley:

Today’s drivers are certainly more fit than the Allison brothers. But if you think they have to be in great shape to excel, I have two words for you.Tony Stewart.

His training regimen consists of burgers, Twinkies and climbing a chain-link fence after wins.

Yeah, we’ve all seen that trick pulled before haven’t we? Single out the one driver – of over 50 competing last year – that fits a disingenuous narrative and in doing so puts on display his total ignorance of the sport. It’s shocking he hasn’t claimed NASCAR isn’t a “sport,” many of his type do.

You can email Whitley a rebuttal ( if you so desire.

I’m working on one, as a sneak peek of what’s in it, and to provide some ammunition for those of you that run up on more deniers like Whitley I’ll provide an excerpt from a study of race drivers conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine – “Racecar Drivers’ Physical Demands Comparable to Elite Athletes.”

“Professional drivers have enhanced their health and fitness in order to gain the competitive edge,” said lead author, Patrick Jacobs, Ph.D., FACSM. “We were able to match the science with the drivers on the tracks where they compete and confirm that they are well-conditioned athletes with cardiorespiratory fitness comparable to other elite athletes.”*****

The results of the road course testing indicated that these drivers reached levels of physical effort similar to those reached in many traditional team sports such as basketball or baseball. The average oxygen consumption recorded while driving near competitive pace on the road course was up to 13 times that of resting energy consumption levels. This work level is comparable to that reported in persons running an eight-10-minute mile or cycling at 20-22 mph. Likewise, on the speedway course, drivers’ heart rates were equivalent to 76 percent of the maximum heart rate, well within the target heart rate range of 70-85 percent for prescribed exercise intensity.

Gee, physical exertion equal to that of basketball or baseball players.

Reality sucks, unfortunately for the deniers they can’t connect to that reality. What they need is 100 laps around Bristol with 25 or more cars and followed by the same at Talladega. Even then some may not see the point, they’ll just shut-up about and go on their demented way.

Next up on pundit lunacy? I fully expect to see a few posts/articles by the enviro-wackos all claiming NASCAR pollutes everything within 50 miles of a speedway (including the air stretching to the troposphere) and uses more gas than the world’s fleet of 747’s and Airbuses.

Wait for it, they’re coming, it happens every Spring.

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