If you’ve been a dedicated reader on True Star Digital Media or have personally kept up with my published articles, you know that I personally don’t cover sports often, I actually never have on this platform. However, I had an amazing opportunity to cover a NASCAR Cup series race recently in Las Vegas, and I must say, the race atmosphere is surreal.
I’ve never gone to a NASCAR event before, although I love the sport of racing. Due to my media involvement at my university, I was given a media credential to cover one of the most anticipated races of fans. When I arrived and got settled at the venue, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway track where the Pennzoil 400 is located, I was amazed. I didn’t realize the massive size off the stadium’s race track, let alone how many laps the racers had to complete, which was 267 laps to be exact.
What I thought was interesting about the Pennzoil 400 race, that is different from the rest of the races in the NASCAR series, is that the winner receives a trophy for demolishing the track. Although Joey Logan’s, defending 2019 race winner, wasn’t the #1 predicted to take home the 2020 Pennzoil 400 trophy, he came out on top once again for his 2nd Pennzoil win.
Being on the sidelines of the track, literally having to have ear plugs locked in so I wouldn’t go deaf from the race car’s motors, I was able to conclude that winning is based on precise timing and your “reset”. Racers have to pace themselves for almost three hours on average to maintain lead and a good distance between one another to avoid spiraling each other out, unless of course a racer purposely does this. Which brings attention to a 2017 fight between top racer Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. Busch claimed Logano purposely spiraled his car out when they were battling for third in their last lap of a race. As you can tell, like any other sport, these drivers take these matters very seriously.
Logano celebrated his victory on the track with showing off his Ford-sponsored car and spinning in circles to fill the air with smoke. Racers revving up their engines after they win their race is their signature move to mark their territory. Although the other racers and teams that didn’t win seemed down about their loss, they still are able to show off their cars when passing fans and immediately make time for press conferences. So, in almost an instance, they don’t really have time to be sad right after losing a race because the pace is just as quick as after they’re out of their cars.
Covering a NASCAR event in Las Vegas was definitely surreal, would I do it again? Maybe. But it’s an experience that everyone should witness in the flesh of a Cup series event. Honestly, I don’t think racers get enough credit. They’re driving a vehicle at an average speed of 90 – 120 mph, dress in heavy clothing, and usually drive in 80 degree plus heat. They definitely are just as important as the other major sports.
By Kori Barnes, Sophomore, UNLV