Why NASCAR makes for a good metaphor

As a kid, I was obsessed with NASCAR.

By this, I don’t mean that I really liked to watch NASCAR. I mean I was obsessed with NASCAR. But it wasn’t the drivers or the culture that I was interested in. In fact, I cared less about the racers than a maniacal snowman does about the sun when he’s hell-bent on devouring the soul of a terrified child lost in the woods. But all Frosty the Snowman references aside, I really liked NASCAR. I guess it’s fitting that I moved the Charlotte, NC—home of Charlotte Motor Speedway and of NASCAR itself.

But then I grew up, and I lost interest in watching things go in ovals. However, last night—I watched a bit of the Bristol Night Race with my roommates; and what I saw was a pretty exciting race punctuated with a couple of crashes and the victory of a pretty deserving driver who held his own during the final ten laps!

Point is, though—those drivers drive at 180+ miles per hour and cover 400, 500, 600 miles in a night.


To put one of the maxes (600mi) into perspective, you can travel from the blue pin in the center of the circle and get to the outer edge—either the Canadian Border of a wee bit south of Tijuana, Mexico.

However, by driving in circles, the drivers don’t really get places. Sure, they drive fast. But speed isn’t the only thing in life. In fact, speed without intent is useless. We can rush through day-to-day tasks, assignments, interactions, what be it all we want. But unless we become intentional about doing something and taking the time to do it right we’re not really going to move much more than a few hundred yards.

Granted, sometimes those 100 yards are all we care to move. But other times—whenever we take on the challenge of a radical reinvention—doing something as simple as trying our best to know what we’re doing can make all of the difference in the world.

So sure, NASCAR may be fun to watch, but it can also be argued that Formula 1 is better—people actually make right turns there! But that one is a story for another time.



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