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Lifestyles -

August 3, 2013

The need for speed

Local fans talk about what draws them to NASCAR

While some prefer to watch flowers grow, others prefer to watch cars go in circles. 

An estimated 75 million people in fact are fans of drivers in the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing venture. The thrilling factor of speed reverberates through the Sprint Cup Series. Automobiles are juiced to reach speeds greater than 200 miles per hour. Drivers are challenged on courses across the nation. The diversity of courses is seen in the triangular Pocono Raceway and the complex shaped road at Watkins Glen International.

Asked why he’s a NASCAR fan, Thomas Gucwa of Delhi had one simple answer. 

“I like the speed,” he said. 

The Sprint Cup Series is the highest level racing series sanctioned by NASCAR. This weekend, 43 drivers and teams will fight to cross this finish line first at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. They will travel the next weekend about 3½ hours to the northwest to do it again at Watkins Glen International in New York. 

Gucwa, who said a friend got him interested in NASCAR about 15 years ago, has been to both raceways, and he has a clear favorite. 

“I go to the Pocono Raceway every year,” said Gucwa. “I went to the Watkins Glen Raceway once and will never go back because it is a road course with nine turns in the track. I can’t see the cars all the time, so that race is much better to watch on TV.”

Gucwa’s appreciation of speed has led him to understand what goes on behind the scenes at a NASCAR event. Each driver has a team. The team helps with car maintenance, strategy, communication, etc. Teams have sponsors. A point system is in place based on finishing placement and laps led. Points are received at each race. They race 10 months out of the year. The points are added up to determine the championship winner. 

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