NASCAR racing is unique. While in football, baseball or basketball, the best team frequently wins, it’s quite the opposite in NASCAR. The best car on a given day doesn’t often win. It’s this unpredictability, combined with the speed, sights and sounds that makes NASCAR racing one heck of an interesting sport to follow.
If you haven’t yet watched more than a few laps of a NASCAR race, grab a Bojangles’ Big Bo Box and invite your family and friends over on Sunday, September 3, to watch the Bojangles’ Southern 500. While you’re tuning in (6 p.m., NBC Sports), here are some things to look for:
- Race Stages: Before this year, the only mid-race breaks came if a wreck or issue brought out a caution flag. Races could go hours between these breaks. But this year, NASCAR has broken each race into several stages, not unlike a football game, where teams get a short break between each quarter. At the conclusion of each stage (Lap 100 and 200 for the Bojangles’ Southern 500), a caution flag will be thrown. This gives you the perfect opportunity to reload your plate with Chicken Supremes and Dirty Rice without missing any of the on-track action.
- Who to cheer for: If you’re new to NASCAR, you’ve got to pick a favorite driver. Like a winner who’s also a good family man? Jimmie Johnson’s your guy. How about an aggressive, winning driver? Try Kyle Busch or Brad Keselowski. Looking to follow an up-and-comer with a bright future? Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott or Ryan Blaney are all talented “young guns.” Nearly every driver is active on social media, so you can easily get a glimpse inside their personality before deciding who to cheer for.
- The Championship: The Bojangles’ Southern 500 is the second-to-last race before the NASCAR playoffs begin. That means any driver who has not yet won a race this year has added incentive to win and clinch a playoff berth, making this race an incredibly important one for all drivers and teams.
- Throwback: Darlington Raceway hosted its first NASCAR race in 1950, so to say it’s a historical venue would be an understatement. In an effort to recognize the heroes of racing, Darlington Raceway created a throwback theme which has been widely embraced by the industry. Cars feature iconic paint jobs made famous by legendary racers, team members don vintage-style uniforms and the raceway invites racing heroes and Hall-of-Famers to the track for a special Q&A with fans. It’s even recognized as “The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR,” so this is the real deal.
Long story short, if you’re new to NASCAR there are no shortage of storylines to follow. So load up your plate, refill your glass of Legendary Iced Tea, and settle in for a thrilling race this Sunday.