NASCAR-aholics Anonymous

Apr 202006

I used to be ashamed of it. I used to hide my passion.

I used to hide my passion from people out of fear they wouldn’t like me if they knew the truth. The fear of what would happen if they knew the truth about me and about who I really am.

The truth is, I, Tanner Bennett, am a NASCAR fan.

It all started about a year ago. My buddy bought the new NASCAR game for the PlayStation 2. At first it was just fun to drive against traffic and cause horrible car crashes.

But then my competitive gene kicked in. The same gene that causes me to cuss out my grandmother when she finishes a Sudoku puzzle faster than me. I played the game seriously for a few minutes and I was hooked.

Like marijuana, this video game was my gateway drug, and my new fix became NASCAR.

My favorite number is 20 and as a result, the driver of the number 20 car, Tony Stewart, became my favorite as well. I soon found that the man and myself have a lot in common. Like me, he fancies himself as an athlete, even though he is overweight and un-athletic. Like me, he sports a permanent five o’clock shadow. And like me he has been accused of being a prick. It’s like we are twins, separated at birth.

Thus my love affair had begun with NASCAR. Soon I started watching each race religiously and even joined a NASCAR fantasy league.

But allow me to digress.

NASCAR is the perfect American sport. It lends itself perfectly to the no-attention-span generation. On TV, the camera views switch every few seconds. It’s as if I am channel surfing without having to go through the pain of actually holding a remote control and the agony of pressing the buttons. It is perfect.

As a photographer, I am easily distracted by bright, shiny colors. NASCAR is a feast of color and shining metal. The paint schemes on the cars range from the pink Target-sponsored car to the rainbow-colored DuPont car. It’s as if the sponsors of the cars are in a competition to make the gaudiest visual spectacle ever.

Now, I am not going to tell you to like NASCAR. Most of you already have your minds made up on this issue. But I ask you to pay attention to the Collegian’s coverage of NASCAR in the near future. Learn about it today, watch the Subway Fresh 500 race Saturday at 6 p.m., check out the photos of the race online at, and read the follow-up information Monday and Tuesday. Once you’ve given NASCAR a fair shot, then you should make your decision.

The Collegian is hopping on the NASCAR bandwagon; don’t be scared to come along for the ride.

Tanner Bennett is the Visual Editor at the Collegian and can be reached at

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