Sunday, August 26, 2012

NASCAR Is Very Serious Business (Kurt Busch Sucks)

At last night's Sprint Cup race at Bristol, Tony Stewart was contesting for the lead when he got in a wreck with Matt Kenseth.  Afterwards, Tony gets furious and throws his helmet at Matt's car.  Tony went from leader to finishing 27th just like that.  EDIT: Replaced video cause some idiot took first one down.

Now that video makes Tony look like a fat old man.  Also, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed spokeswoman Danica Patrick wrecked too (to nobody's surprise) late in the race (was still on the lead lap, amazing) and pointed at instigator Regan Smith as he drove by.  So it was old-school racing at its finest and everyone got angry.  Lol, you mad?

But Tony's helmet toss is not surprising.  Just for fun, here are clips of people getting mad and swearing for the camera.  Warning: PG-13 Language.

And then there's Kurt Busch who is in a league of his own.  You know about his younger brother Kyle who is an asshat, but he clearly learned everything from older brother Kurt.

You could fill an entire 90-minute special on Kurt's antics.  Oh wait, someone already has!!!  The first 50 minutes or so are about Kurt picking fights with practically every other NASCAR driver.  If you want to skip to the good stuff, I'd say go to 55 minutes and watch that.

Not a coincidence that Kurt was fired from Penske Racing in 2011.  He was picked up by Phoenix Racing in 2012 and his luck has turned for the worse (his car sucks).  Even worse, his #51 car is unsponsored since no one wants to be involved with such a troublemaker as him.  Guess what, Kurt?

Speaking of arguments between drivers about who instigated a wreck and who's the dirty driver and so forth (the kind that would result in fights over Forza, iRacing, etc.) , NASCAR seldom penalizes drivers in these situations unless it's blatantly obvious/reckless on a certain driver's part.  Otherwise, it comes down to vigilante justice.  If a fellow driver treats you with courtesy & makes clean passes, you return the favor.  If he rubs elbows with you, then you rub him back.  You can type "X gets pissed at Y" in YouTube for anyone and see how these rivalries occur.  What goes around comes around--since Kurt was hated by every other NASCAR driver at some point, he is basically abused by everyone in return.


I will go ahead and say this: I think auto racing, both in real life and in video games, is probably the most anger-inducing of all sporting events.  Racing?  As opposed to something more violent like football or Call of Duty?  Seriously, I've heard things on Forza that make Call of Duty kids seem pious.  Ignoring the little Xbox Live kids who curse up a storm because they're too immature to be playing games anyway, let me explain why.  There are three factors:

1. You're on your own.

There's two types of competitive sports/games--teams and solo games.  Team games include soccer, football, basketball, baseball, hockey, Call of Duty/FPSes in general.  Solo games include golf, tennis, auto racing IRL and in games, fighting games, chess & poker (I suppose they count).  Yeah, sure, auto racing is a team effort--you have crews and fellow drivers assisting you, but in the end one person raises that trophy and that's you.

The good thing about being on a team is that you usually have fallback options.  If you're doing poorly--either you make one or two bad plays or need to be benched from the game altogether, at least you have your teammates to pick up the slack and hopefully make a few great plays, guide the team to victory, and make up for your mediocrity.  Sure, it sucks for you but at least you still "won."

However, in solo sports, it's all up to you.  If you play poorly and/or lose, there's really no one to blame other than yourself.  If you're having a bad day or are embarrassed, there's no evading it.  You need to keep your composure and finish the entire length of the event, take the loss, and face the music, knowing "I coulda/shoulda/woulda done better but I didn't and I lost, shame on me."  Yet some can't come to grips with losing which is why we kick and scream when that happens.

2. All it takes is one mistake to ruin the race.

Thinking about other games like football, soccer, Call of Duty, even solo sports like tennis & golf, etc., if you make a few terrible plays, such as a turnover or you die a few times, it's not the end of the game.  You can still catch up.  If the other team wins a few rounds/sets/holes and there's still some time left to play, at least you can outplay them later and make it an even game.

However, in racing, all it really takes is one or two miscues and you wreck and are set VERY FAR back.  Well, it depends on the game--in Mario Kart, crashes are expected to happen but in racing "sims," the penalty is much more severe.  It's so easy to just graze the other person's car and you're both flying.  Hopefully, it's a very light wreck and you're only set back about 10-15 seconds or so (Forza) and you can make the comeback assuming you race your ass off and/or the people in front of you screw up too.

But that doesn't take damage into consideration.  If that wreck dings your bumper, congratulations--your aerodynamics are shot which slows you down and makes it even more difficult to win.  Even worse, the engine/transmission could be shot which means you have to putter around the track at half-speed just to come in second to last as opposed to dead last in order to garner a few more points for the standings.  No worse feeling than that.

Now Forza is bad.  Playing with sim settings is awful once you hit the wall and dread trying to finish, but at least you can start a new race a few minutes later.  So think of it from a NASCAR driver's standpoint.  Each week you travel across the country to a new track.  You take the car out for numerous practice sessions, tune the thing over and over and over and over again to make sure it's just right.  Then you race.  Halfway through the race, the car spins out and smashes to pieces.  That's some hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment GONE in seconds and it probably wasn't your fault.  Plus that entire week was in vain as you finish in the bottom third of the standings and have to do it all over again next week and hope the results are better.  That's just aggravating to think about--I would be cursing too if that happened.

3. Driving is a strenuous ordeal.

Even though sports on a high level, such as football, soccer, baseball, basketball, etc. require extreme fitness, at the very least you get breaks.  You can stop for Gatorade, you can call timeouts, sit on the bench, halftime, hit the showers, etc.  Yet in auto racing, that seldom ever happens.  The race begins and it lasts for some 3-4 hours.  Yes, there's yellow flags (and the rare red flag) which means you're not exerting yourself nonstop.  But to sit in that confined car in that racing suit & helmet of yours and experience those G-forces for that period of time is tough.  BTW, did we mention the possibility of unexpected wrecks, wild rides, injury, death???

As an aside: I still fail to believe some of the things in this video, like the 13 pounds of water weight (I imagine they would be unconscious if they were in a 130-F oven being tossed around for 4 hours without a drop of water) but SportsScience tends to paint athletes as these gladiators who are able to ascends to the heavens and wrestle the gods while us plebians need help to even get up out of bed and use the bathroom cause we're so weak (or something).  But you get the idea, racing is tough.

I suppose this also applies to video games to a much lesser extent (well duh).  There's no pauses in the action--the entire game is nonstop "keep moving."  And that can be tough since the goal is always to move forward--you can't slow down for anything (i.e. "let's regroup" in FPS games and stuff) and hence your mind is always racing, trying to keep the car in equilibrium while simultaneously taking additional factors into play like other drivers trying to cut you off and so forth.  Just something to think about.


Now you know why NASCAR is so hard and why drivers like Kurt Busch get hot under the collar--CAUSE IT'S TOUGH BUSINESS.

BTW, I didn't know this happened at the Daytona 500, hilarious:

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