As I said at the time …

Notes from cleaning up after a big race at (what was then called) New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon:

  • The entire North American Quaker membership would fit in the grandstands and infield. Ditto, Mennonite or Brethren.
  • Baseball is akin to opera, in that individuals stand openly and perform – as part of a team or a cast. They are highly trained to do their job precisely, whether throwing a change-up or hitting a top note and then trilling.
  • NASCAR is akin to rock, in that individuals are stars first, surrounded by crews and sophisticated technical systems that do most of the work. In horse racing, the animal is celebrated for the victory; in motor sports, the machine earns no such respect. Why?
  • NASCAR – earplugs / the grandstands themselves rumbling.
  • This is religion, the drivers as saints. (The big race on the Sabbath.)
  • Their products purchased as acts of faith and obedience.
  • Death, always hovering, as a spectacle of feigned abhorrence.
  • Eyes on the spire, with its changing script. The lap count. The leaders.
  • Maybe the biggest difference between sports and the fine arts is that people bet on the outcome of the former.

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