Cletus, we likes corn dogs
C. Shane Santi for The New York Times
At 190 M.P.H., Who Needs a Spare Tire?
By KIM SEVERSON
Published: June 14, 2006
LONG POND, Pa.
JEFF GORDON misses corn dogs the most.
Mr. Gordon, a compact Nascar dreamboat, has been careering around racetracks since grade school. When the competition was over, his mother took him straight to the drive-through.
He never outgrew his taste for fast food. But in 2004, after more than a decade in the big leagues of stock car racing, Mr. Gordon realized that his body and his driving might be better served if he ate better.
Like an increasing number of the millionaires who drive for Nascar, he hired a nutritionist. No more lasagna on race day. No more barbecue. And he's learning to live with less sugar.
When Mr. Gordon stays at his girlfriend's apartment in Manhattan, he manages to work in elaborate dinners at top-shelf restaurants. And he sneaks the occasional bowl of rocky road ice cream. But over all, he is a changed man. "I used to hate salmon," he said. "Now I love it."
If you don't consider turning left for three hours a real sport, you might wonder what nutritional perspective a Nascar driver's diet might offer. But proper food and hydration is becoming as important on the racetrack as it is on the football field or the tennis court.
Stock car racing is a sport in which winning and losing is measured in milliseconds. Toward the end of a race, after three muscle-tense hours in a cockpit that reaches 120 degrees, dehydration saps concentration and poorly fed muscles fail. Under that kind of strain, at 190 miles an hour, the wrong dish at lunch or one quart too few of water could mean, quite literally, death.
Not that a change of diet and attitude is easy. Nascar is a big-bellied sport with Southern roots and several million fans whose food culture is built on barbecues that last three days, funnel-cake stands and homemade beer nuts.
The chef Mario Batali, who waved the green flag to start the Pocono 500 here on Sunday, is trying to nudge Nascar food up the culinary ladder with a new cookbook. But not too far up. "Basically we Nascar fans will eat anything, and we're proud of it," he writes in the book, "Mario Tailgates Nascar Style."
Since the sport began in 1948, the drivers have eaten that way too.
"What you ate didn't necessarily correlate to what you did on the racetrack back in the day," said Darrell Waltrip, the 1980's Nascar star who now serves as the Fox network's color commentator. "I ran a lot, but I certainly didn't pay attention to what I ate. Most of it was fried, and I'm a Southern boy, so if you can fry it I'll eat it."
I love the condescention of the Times. These ignorant hicks still eat like crap and we need to show them how not to.
NASCAR says a race track in the New York area is vital for their expansion?
Yeah. Just like Wal Mart.
This article is dripping with respect for NASCAR.
They will build a spaceport before they build a NASCAR track near New York.
posted by Steve @ 12:31:00 AM