Wednesday, August 09, 2006

NASCAR Anyone?

Posted by Helen Brenna

Will Ferrell. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. This blog should practically write itself.

Then again. I’m after something specific here.

First off, let me say that Will Ferrell scares the begebbies out of me. Think Anchorman and Zoolander. (I have a twelve-year old son at home. I’m allowed, okay?) Ferrell’s comedy is so far out there I think most of us can’t reach it. I do, however, respect his ability to proudly parade around half naked with a body most women do not find attractive. Think very white and very hairy!

In spite of all that, I kinda liked the Ricky Bobby movie. It actually had a plot, it had character arcs. It was funny, and the acting was impeccable. Will Ferrell was perfect as Ricky Bobby, believable, and even likeable (after a while).

Will Ferrell aside, though, I’m wondering what everyone thinks of NASCAR.

The French family (Bill French is the founding father of modern day stock car racing) is trying to mainstream NASCAR. They want to make it America’s sport, not just a southern delight. Even Harlequin is jumping on the bandwagon. They’re rolling out the red carpet in 2007 with sixteen romances to be released in sets of four, starting with the Daytona 500 in February and ending with the Nextel Cup championship in November. Carl Edwards is spokesman and the authors will be signing at races.

I’m hoping they renew their licensing agreement for 2008 and buy my trilogy proposal. But I’m also curious. What does everyone think? Is NASCAR a fad? Or will it become a mainstream mainstay?


anne frasier said...

helen, i'm not into nascar, but i'm not into anything. haha. as in not into anything you view like sports. is nascar a sport? i think so. BUT almost everybody i know is into nascar. it's just exploded over the past few years, so i would think the books could do really well. i'm anxious to see how that all plays out.

Helen Brenna said...

Anne, NASCAR is considered a sport, especially these days where the drivers actually work out extensively. They spend hours in those hot cars and need to stay fit to stay alert.

I don't know anyone who's into it other than my sister and her husband, so it seems to me as though it could fizzle out. Who has time on a Sunday to sit for 4 hours watching a race?

Candace said...

I live in Indiana these days and racing is HUGE here. People have parties on special race days to watch. Just like with the Superbowl except it seems to happen every couple of months.

There are several kinds of racing--because there are different classes/types of cars, I think--but I am not a race fan (not really a sports fan at all) so I can't distinguish between them.

In any case, NASCAR and car racing in general has been the biggest spectator sport (yes, bigger than football!) in the U.S. for many years. This was true even before it went mainstream, when it was still just a Southern phenomenon. I don't get the allure (see the cars go 'round and 'round) but I think it's here to stay.

Michele said...

"shudder" I've got a Nascar nut in the house. Sent the hubby and the boy to watch a race in FL last year. He's got an entire room decorated for Nascar. I just...don't get it. But I've never gotten any sport.

Helen Brenna said...

What I find interesting is that 40% of NASCAR fans are women. That's huge!

anne frasier said...

helen, i was just going to ask about that. most of the addicts i know are guys, so i wondered about women.

Betina Krahn said...

Who sits for 4 hours watching cars go round and round? My lawyer son and his corporate-CEO-in-training best friend. Go figure. He sure didn't get it at home.

I don't think it will go totally mainstream, but will have increasing credibility and viewership. I think it's like the country Western craze of the early 80's "Dallas" era. That died down after a while, but judging from the popularity of the "cowboy" theme in romance, it left a lasting mark and will probably surge again when the "Dallas-- Return to Southfork" movie comes out.

Helen Brenna said...

Exactly, Betina, white collar professionals are hooked, so NASCAR marketing is doing it's job. Good point about the Western craze.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I don't get the appeal, either, but I have no interest in cars. I go to horse races periodically only because hubby and I love horses. We could look at horses until the cows come home. And have, many times. But I don't often go to horse shows. They're pretty boring unless you know someone who's showing, imo. Racing is quick and exciting.

I'll go to a rodeo once in a while, but the competitive element doesn't interest me that much. (For competition, for me it's basketball.) Now that professional bullriding has become its own sport, there's more of that on TV than regular rodeo, and I was always ready to leave by the time the bullriding (traditionally last) got started. Hubby loves it. I guess part of the thrill is that the risk is greater, so the audience can anticipate some blood spillage eventually. Unless somebody gets hurt, one bull ride is the same as another. But hubby says that about basketball games. He has his favorite riders. I have my favorite team. (Go Wolves! From my teaching days: Go Warriors! And before that: Go UMass! Go South Hadley High!)

Vicarious competition must be part of the appeal. I'm not about to trow my body into the fray, but I can declare my side and taste the thrill of victory. And I can see it when you're watching a beautiful athlete, be it horse or gladiator, lone cowboy or gutsy team. But a dumb car? Eye of the beholder, I guess.

There's a bit about horseracing in RIDE A PAINTED PONY. Come on, now, who can resist a horse?

Helen Brenna said...

Kathy, I can't stand pro basketball, but I do love horses. I guess it's a good thing there are so many different sports to watch, huh?