The pressure of many environmental groups and regular consumers around the continent has created trouble for many industries. Hybrid cars are slowly becoming a major product in the automotive industry, clean energies are trying to push away petrol and gas… there is one industry, though, that is still alive and loved by many: racing. Many championships still take place every year in North America and the cars are far from being hybrid vehicles! It’s sometimes a bit hard for a newcomer to understand which are the “real” races to watch. Here are a few tips.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing was founded in the ’40s by Sir William France. After a driver named Bill France organized a championship in 1947 (the NCSCC, National Championship Stock Car Circuit), a bunch of men regrouped together and decided of the rules that would govern the championships. At the time, 3 different series were launched: Modified Cars, Roadsters and Strickly Stock. Eventually, things evolved and NASCAR now boasts seven sanctioned series.
The most competitive one is by far the Sprint Cup, which regroups 36 races over a period of 10 months. The best racers of the circuit are known to win millions of dollars because of their sponsorships, and they are adored by racing fans all around United States (NASCAR being less popular in Canada). Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards are amongst the big names of the series.
As for the biggest single race in NASCAR, it is definitely the Daytona 500, sometimes called the “Super Bowl of NASCAR”.
Being outmatched in popularity by NASCAR in the United States, Formula 1 is probably Canada’s preferred championship because of the Montreal Grand Prix. This event was, in 2005, the world’s 3rd most watched sporting event after the Superbowl and the UEFA championship; it draws a lot of international attention. F1 is also a very old championship and its races are spread all over the continents, with Grand Prix recently added in Bahrein and China.
The Grand Prix is said to have attracted close to 300 000 tourists in its best years. Lots of international celebrities are known to attend the event and enjoy the crazy Montreal nightlife during the three days race weekend. The Montreal Grand Prix is also an unforgiving race because of its sharp turns and its “Wall of Champions”, which is known to have caused many crashes over the years within the best drivers of the circuit. The race is held on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve: the circuit also hosted a NASCAR event in 2007.
It is hard to determine the 3rd position in this top 3 since NASCAR and Formula 1 thrive in their respective countries. IndyCar, though, is a respectable racing championship that also draws a lot of attention. It merged with CART (Champ Car World Series) in 2007 and it is broadcasted on NBC and ABC, two major networks in the US, as well as by Sportsnet in Canada. Even United Kingdom inhabitants have the opportunity to watch these competitions, though, through the Sky Sports networks.