Alternatives to NASCAR

When it comes to racing, be it NASCAR or any other kind of vehicular sport, is a time honored pastime for many. And, for good reason. After all, there’s something inherently compelling about the speed, the thrill of the chase, the competition, the winners and the losers, that consistently draws a crowd. Racing, of the horse drawn chariot variety, has been called “the sport of kings” for a reason. While NASCAR races, and others involving automobiles, are a great way to spend your time, let’s not forget the vast array of different types of races out there. Here are just a few examples of the many ways we challenge each other to competitions of speed.

First and foremost, let’s talk about Winter sports. Winter sports is a surprisingly robust category. So much so that there is an entirely separate set of Olympic games based on Winter sports. And, races are no exception to this rule. For starters, let’s talk about dog sleds. Dog sledding is, like much of our modern sports, rooted in necessity. Dog sleds were once our best bet for transportation in snowy climates in places such as Alaska and Siberia, hence malamutes and huskies, respectively. However, beyond their pragmatic use, dogs sleds have also been the basis of racing events. The Iditarod is a standout example of dog sled racing. Then, there’s snowmobiles. As evidenced in this video, snowmobiles, which are arguably the natural technological evolution of the dog sled, have also transcended necessity to become one of our staple sports. We now prize their speed for competition, and we use that speed to perform skillful and visceral maneuvers to dazzle an audience. There’s just something about kicking up snow into a pure white cloud behind us as we cut ahead of the competition that is inherently appealing, and these sports showcase this beautifully.

Along similar lines, let’s not forget the somewhat antiquated sport of horse riding. Like with dog sledding, there is history of necessity, but we have since moved past that necessity. Yet we still tame and ride these majestic animals, and the fact that they are animals informs the skill required in the sport. After all, not only do you need the mechanical skill to command these creatures, but they need to have the training required to heed your commands.

Then, of course, there’s also the jet ski. Jet skis are, unlike most of the entries on this list, not particularly informed by necessity. While they are arguably a descendant of the boats and ships that have proved necessary throughout human history, there are, in and of themselves, purely a luxury built for recreational purposes. There are, then, the perfect candidate for racing, showing off the speed and maneuverability their small size allows by competing against other racers, as well as performing interesting tricks. Then, we have to consider the other sports enabled by jet skis, such as water skiing and paragliding. These sports pair up two riders, one on the jet ski, ans another pulled in the jet ski’s wake, either skiling or gliding.

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