These 12 Questions-style fan profiles are one of the rewards offered as a tier on my Patreon page. You can catch up on the other profiles so far this season here.
Name: Tara (last name withheld at Tara’s request)
1. How long have you been a NASCAR fan?
About eight years.
2. How many races have you attended?
3. Who is your No. 1 favorite driver?
4. What made you a fan of his?
I love Ryan and all the new kids — Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suarez, Kyle Larson, etc. Their energy and skills are refreshing. I love to see NASCAR adapt to the times, rather than being hidebound by that gruff good ol’ boy image from the old days.
These kids take their craft seriously; they are incredible drivers with a lot of talent and focus. But they’re also just FUN. I found the Nicktoons channel simply to watch Bubba and Blaney’s segment on Karsyn Elledge’s show Hammer Down. Watching them goof around never ceases to crack me up.
And that’s good! Sports should be fun! I really hope the NASCAR powers that be recognize what they have in those guys and use it to the fullest.
5. Who is your most disliked driver?
6. Why don’t you like him?
He comes off as such a jerk. I’m not alone in this; he even seems to know it. There’s a headline on KevinHarvick.com that reads “Kevin Harvick’s goal: try not to be a jerk.” The only likable things about him to me are his wife and his kid.
7. What is your favorite track?
Richmond. I LOVE Richmond. Dennis Bickmeier is easily one of the smartest executives in all of sports, and his approach to running races is phenomenal. I love the friendly, pro-fan environment there. Everyone should come to Richmond for a race. EVERYONE.
8. What is one thing you would change if you were in charge of NASCAR?
I’d institute some sort of luxury tax or other profit-sharing mechanism between the mega-teams and the small teams. I don’t know exactly what it would look like, and I think some of the recent rule changes are tiny steps toward evening out the playing field.
But haves vs. have-nots is going to continue to be an issue in the next few years, and if NASCAR wants to stay strong, it should consider taking strong action to balance out the money.
9. What is one thing you would keep the same if you were in charge of NASCAR?
I’ve always loved how dedicated people in NASCAR are to teaching fans about the sport. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is an INCREDIBLE learning experience — it really deepened my understanding of the entire industry. The broadcasters, especially the ex-crew chiefs like Larry McReynolds and Steve Letarte, are phenomenal resources for learning what’s going on. I hope that never goes away.
10. How often do you yell at the TV during a race?
Depends on how often Harvick does something good. 🙂
11. Do you have any advice for other fans?
I came to NASCAR fandom somewhat late in life, unlike my husband, who grew up loving Mark Martin and Davey Allison. So my advice would be more tailored to the “fans-in-law” out there, people who got into NASCAR through a loved one’s passion for it.
NASCAR is this great blend of competitive spirit, technology and personality. There’s a depth and breadth of fandom available to you far beyond just pulling for a team or a person. It’s a fantastic family interest. My husband and I have spent so much great quality time around NASCAR, and it’s something I never saw coming. So embrace your “fan-in-law” status. You’ll find something to love about the sport no matter what your interests are.
12. What else do you want the NASCAR world to know about you?
I’m from Alabama originally. For the longest time, I ran away from the idea of liking NASCAR because of the stereotypes associated with the sport. But when I started going to races — Richmond in particular — I saw what the folks reading this already know: this is a great, diverse community full of people from all walks of life. (Seriously, come to a race at Richmond! You will have the best time!) It’s been so much fun learning to love racing. I’m thrilled that Jeff has built this new community for us to come together and share our fandom. It’s really something special. See y’all out at the track!