Saturday, October 16, 2021

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NASCAR as the official sport of North Carolina? Why Not?

By Brody Jones

Recently, according to the Mooresville Weekly, 3rd grade Mooresville students have put forth a plan to lobby state law-makers to designate stock car racing as North Carolina’s official state sport. Laugh if you must, but apparently North Carolina State Representative Grey Mills supports their proposal. And according to these kids, the idea makes “dollars & sense”. The sport contributes more than $6 billion dollars annually to the state income through jobs, fan support, and facilities. Plus North Carolina has all sorts of local race tracks to go to and roughly 95% of the team’s shops are located within an hour radius of of the Mooresville area. So the idea really isn’t so far fetched as one might think.

One cannot deny that North Carolina is truly the Mecca of motorsports, and the fact is stock car racing is practically like an organized religion in the state with each race being a sort of revival at the altar of speed with each driver preaching their own, unique message by their own particular style of driving. Local races in North Carolina tend to draw large crowds, especially at “The Mad-House” Bowman-Gray Stadium and Hickory Motor Speedway, in particular. The NASCAR hall-of-fame is anchored in North Carolina, and much of the early history of the sport is uprooted in North Carolina. So perhaps these kids just might be on to something here.

Basketball fans, however, might take hombrage to the thought of auto racing being the official state sport of North Carolina, and admittedly with good reason. Much like NASCAR, basketball is treated almost like a form of religion in North Carolina with an NBA team in Charlotte, the UNC Tarheels, the Duke Blue Devils, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, and a whole plethora of basketball teams that would probably fight against NASCAR being the official state sport of North Carolina. Like NASCAR, basketball brings in a ton of revenue to the state as well, whether it’s on a high-school, collegiate, or professional level and also like NASCAR, these events draw very large crowds in the state.

Ultimately, North Carolina law-makers are going to have to make a tough decision. Do they pick basketball as the official state sport or do they pick auto racing? Though this journalist is nowhere near qualified to offer any meaningful political advice, to me it seems like the logical solution is, like with King Solomon in biblical times, why not cut the baby in half and declare both of them the co-official state sports of North Carolina? That way both sides are mollified by the measure and state elected officials don’t lose the rabid sports-fan vote. But the thing is that would actually make sense, so that probably wouldn’t happen. One has to admit, however, that these kids in Mooresville are acting with a lot more foresight and vision than many of our primary elected officials in this country. Never mind that they’re roughly two decades away from likely being legally able to run for political office. So if the teachers and students of Mooresville read this article, I say to you kudos and keep fighting the good fight.

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