Stock cars win the race: Official state sport of North Carolina

It’s official! Stock-car racing is now the state sport of North Carolina.

The students of Iredell County who dreamed of putting the homegrown sport of stock-car racing on the list of “officials” for the state of North Carolina have won their case (see earlier report here). Senate Bill 322, sponsored by WNC Sens. Tom Apodaca, Republican of Hendersonville, and Martin Nesbitt, Democrat of Buncombe County, was properly enrolled and presented to the Secretary of the State Tuesday. It had gained House and Senate final approval on June 15.

“It’s an enjoyable entertainment,” Asheville City Councilman Jan Davis told the Xpress, “and it’s quite an economic issue in North Carolina, and I can tell you those people who participate are good athletes.” But Davis, who has been known to go around the track himself as an amateur, said that he wasn’t so sure the basketball community in North Carolina would agree about the designation “state sport,” which he admitted he found a bit of a stretch. Davis also noted, “To me, it does not seem to merit that kind of [legislative] attention … [but] it is a great economic driver.”

Locally, stock-car racing certainly carries its own rich history and sense of importance — legislation or not (see “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines,” Xpress, 9/24/03). And the sport has its own special memorial at the city’s Carrier Park, the former site of the Asheville Motor Speedway (see “Speedway Memorial Dedicated at Carrier Park,” Xpress, 9/23/10).

The legislative bill details the $6 billion contribution to the state’s economy along with 20,000 jobs, as well celebrating as the 30 short tracks in the state hosting 700 events throughout the year — not to mention offering the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame. It also cites the state as “home of ‘The King,”’ Richard Petty, stock car racing legend Junior Johnson, dubbed ‘The Last American Hero’ by writer Tom Wolfe, and seven-time champion, the late Dale Earnhardt.”

And now it’s the law: GS 145-36.

by Nelda Holder, contributing editor


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17 thoughts on “Stock cars win the race: Official state sport of North Carolina

  1. ashevillain7

    What a waste.

    Despite my personal feelings (i.e. It’s not a sport, it’s boring, etc.) car racing has to be one of the most wasteful activities in the history of mankind.

  2. Dionysis

    I agree with ashevillain7. While stock car racing is certainly considered “enjoyable entertainment” by its fans, how in the world can it be called a “sport?”

    1. an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.

    Even if it requires ‘skill’ in handling the vehicle, it is not an athletic activity by any stretch.

  3. uh-oh

    Even though I detest “stock” car racing, I do not see how you can deny that it is a sport. And if you are defining a state sport on a professional level, I would agree that it is far ahead of hockey, golf, baseball, and basketball. If you think they would honor any sport not regularly on the tube, dream on. We live in a cracker barrel state, live with it.

  4. Isle of Man

    Let’s see you guys climb into a car and somehow summon the skill and stamina to race at 200 mph for 4 straight hours in 120+ degree temperatures, then climb out and tell me it’s not a sport. It certainly requires a lot more physically of its competitors than golf does, something that is widely viewed as a “legitimate” sport. Same for bowling. Or fishing. Give me a break.

    I know, I know, you think it’s boring and it’s just a bunch of dudes turning left for 600 laps. I completely understand this sentiment. But to not call it a sport based on those criteria is simply incorrect.

  5. Dionysis

    I figured the fans would take exception to the idea it is not a sport. Uh-oh feels it is a sport, and doesn’t see how it can be viewed otherwise. I base it on accepted definitions as found in dictionaries.

    Isle of Man notes there is skill and stamina involved; driving skills…yes. I acknowleged that earlier. Stamina as well; sitting in a car driving around in circles hour after hour surely requires stamina. Granted. But athleticism? Please. Even the link ‘reasonable’ provided only mentions athleticism in connection with the pit crew, not the driver. And I personally have never considered golf a sport either.

    Back to uh-oh, that it is popular in the state is understood; it is also understood that living in the South means NASCAR is big business. Yep, as someone born and raised in the South, I am quite aware of that. And frankly, it is nothing I need to learn to “live with” since I don’t have a problem with it anyway. If people like it, fine. I don’t care for it myself, but no one is forcing me to attend races either.

    The only point to be made, regardless of who disagrees, is that it is not really a sport.

    You don’t agree with that opinion? Fine, I don’t really care. Each is entitled to hold their own.

  6. WitchDoctor

    Ernest Hemingway said, “There are but three true sports–bullfighting, mountain climbing, and motor-racing. The rest are merely games.”

  7. Isle of Man

    Once again, try and do what they do, then say it’s not a sport. And by the way, stamina is to some degree a requirement of athleticism. Just because it doesn’t involve a cardiovascular workout does not mean it doesn’t involve some form of athleticism, regardless of whether it meets your own particular definition.

  8. reasonable

    @dionysis, there is but one paragraph that mentions pit crews. The rest of the article outlines quite clearly and in detail the athleticism required to race NASCAR. I know you don’t care and neither do I, frankly, but you should be more honest in your critical reading and comments. Just sayin’…

  9. dpewen

    I like car racing but not Neckcar … real car racing occurs when drivers have to turn left and right and have elevation changes. I dig rally car racing and sports car racing … think Road Atlanta.

  10. Dionysis

    “@dionysis, there is but one paragraph that mentions pit crews. The rest of the article outlines quite clearly and in detail the athleticism required to race NASCAR. I know you don’t care and neither do I, frankly, but you should be more honest in your critical reading and comments. Just sayin’”

    I guess I missed that piece, as I found the subject too boring to spend much time on, so I will concede that point. Nonetheless, I still do not believe it is a sport to my way of thinking, and do not equate whatever bit of ‘atheleticism’ that may be exhibited by someone driving a car as anywhere near what true athletes possess. Just sayin’.

  11. tortelvis

    Driving around in a circle for 500 laps is not a sport. If you enjoy watching that sort of thing fair enough but don’t try and tell me it’s a sport!

  12. Isle of Man

    “…to my way of thinking…”

    Thank you for admitting your original thought was subjective and does not rely on an actual definition.

  13. uh-oh

    Athleticism isn’t mentioned much in the definitions of sport in my Webster’s. Diversions, jest, mockery, laughingstock and physical activity engaged for pleasure are.

    Sex for the win.

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