The God-given right to Guns and Cars, or, Personally, this is America.

I'm not going to get up on a pedestal here, because auto-racing has a long and storied tradition, and it's sort of indespensible to our American folklore and junk like that, and to be honest, I actually enjoy watching it. Not that much, though. I love the way Wiki starts it's "auto racing" article: "Racecars are fast and easy to use." Stock cars are the ultimate equilizer, the ultimate vanity, the ultimate fantasy, a full-body mask. Two hands and two feet controlling 3,000 lbs of American machine. I love how they call it a "muscle car." It's easy to ask a girl out when you've got a gun in her mouth.

Of course, it's a lot more than that, too. But it's also that.

Today, I was watching a NASCAR event that got called off due to rain - I lead a very inactive life, and so I have time for things like this - and I was thinking about how much gas they must have wasted driving around the track for no reason a few dozen times. I realized that I felt guilty the other day when I made a wrong turn and had to drive 2 extra blocks in my 30 city /40 hgwy mpg rated Honda Civic. And then I started thinking, I wonder what the numbers really are?

40 stock cars at
4.5 miles per gallon (average) for
400 miles (conservative estimate) =
72,000 gallons per race. (NASCAR says it's 60,000 per weekend, but why would they shoot straight?)

So, 72,000 gallons per race ($288,000 worth of gas, at $3 per gallon). And every year, they run in the neighborhood of:

40 races =
2,880,000 gallons per season. (An economist recently estimated 2 million gallons. Ok, whatever. Conservatively, $6,000,000 dollars worth of gas, street price.) This in no way factors in the lubricating oil used in the cars, which I'm sure is bounteous.

And this, friends, this is just NASCAR's Nextel cup leaue - where the big boys race. I imagine it excludes their standard 2 days of race-prep time and qualifying, not to mention the transportation of vehicles from track to track. It certainly doesn't take into account NASCAR's Busch League, or NASCAR's Whelen All-American Series, which runs on 62 (!) local tracks nation-wide, or NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series, or Formula 1 racing, or Rally Car racing, or Touring (really, really long races), or drag racing, or Motocross, or all related, motor-vehicle centric events like Monster Truck rallies and shit like that. And it obviously doesn't include all the driving the drivers to do become good enough drivers to drive in, and eventually win races.

Did I mention that NASCAR is the nation's fastest-growing sport?

In what is, by all accounts - at least accounts recounted by liberal pundits - an every-little-bit-helps effort to derail impending, permanent, catastrophic, cataclysmic global devastation (remember to turn off your lights when you leave a room!), it's enough to piss you off a little bit.

But then, in context, according to Conoco Phillips, "Americans remain the world’s largest gasoline consumers, using an average of 390 million gallons a day in 2006." You know, if you think about it, that's only a little more than a gallon of gas per day per person, which seems fucking extraordinary. Powering the whole country on a gallon of gas, per person, per day? Wow! But it turns out, it's not very good at all.

So, if all car racing in the united states uses, per annum, 10 million gallons, or 20, or 30, or 100 million gallons... let's assume it's responsible for 390 million gallons of gas being consumed every year. It would be, under that grave and baleful calculation, roughly and inexactly a quarter of a percent of our national talley. One forth of one percent. A single day's worth of fuel, .0025. Here's a ridiculous article, full of swiss-cheese logic, about whether NASCAR is bad for the environment. It's a great read. There are gems like this.

'"Personally, this is America, and people have a pastime," said Krista Partin of Stockbridge. "And this is my pastime. And this is what they have to use to make the cars run."'

It's the God-given right to Guns and Cars.

Personally, this is America.

I roll up the windows and turn on the AC when I'm driving fast. Not because I don't like the wind wipping against my face, or because it's just too gosh-darn noisy. I just read that if you're driving faster than 45 miles per hour, you get better fuel efficiency with the windows up and the AC on, due to changes in aerodynamic reistance at high speeds. I don't do it because I'm a good person. I do it because I'm a cheap bastard who is susceptible to intense blasts of shame.

Remember that scandal in February, right after An Inconvenient Truth won the Oscar, about how Al Gore's mansion uses more electricity in a month than the average American home uses in a year? And how big a hypocrit it made him look, and how much you wanted to just say "fuck it" yourself, because if Al Gore isn't trying, why should I?

This shit is just exhausting to think about. Do what I say, don't do what I do. Mothafuckaz is 2 Legit 2 Quit.

Oh, yeah, did you hear the head of the Bush Administration's foreign policy of teaching abstinence only was turned in for hiring sex-fantasy escorts to give him massages? Only massages, though. Least, that's what he says. I wonder if they drove. I think we should start a new initiative that encourages whores to walk to their marks.

Get set.


(See how I tied it all together there, right at the end?)

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