Today, NASCAR is one of the hottest sports out there. It seems that everywhere you turn you'll see someone wearing a NASCAR racing number or hear people discussing the weekend's races. You can't watch the news or read the sports section without coming across a report or update on NASCAR. Just like people have NFL game day parties, people get together to drink beer, cook out and watch NASCAR. If you don't understand the sport or follow the sport regularly, it's easy to feel left out. Fortunately, NASCAR is a fairly easy sport to get into, understand, and follow. All it takes is a little bit of research and some commitment to what has become a way of life for many Americans.


NASCAR is short for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

NASCAR is the governing body for the majority of racing in the US. It's highest form of competition is the NEXTEL Cup Series.

Racers in NASCAR earn points for their finishing place. Obviously, the winner gets the most points, with each subsequent finisher earning a progressively lower amount of points. The racer with the most points at the end of the season is the champion.

Races are held on gigantic oval tracks across the country. There are a handful of races on closed courses with various twists and turns like with Formula One races.

Stock cars are used in the races, and they must meet basic standards of horse-power, weight and other mechanical requirements.

Four brands of cars are used in NASCAR, Dodge Charger, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Monte Carlo and the Toyota Camry.

The NEXTEL Cup Series consists of 36 races throughout the season, the first and most important of which is the Daytona 500. Other high-profile races are: the Brickyard 400, the Bristol Motor Speedway, the Coca-Cola 600, and the Talladega Super Speedway.

The NEXTEL Cup Series season runs from February to November.

NASCAR races are typically several-hundred mile races (the Daytona 500 is 500 miles) lasting upwards of 2-3 hours. Tracks are anywhere from half-mile to 2.5 miles long.

Drivers are just one part of a full team for each car. A car is sponsored by a major company, such as Budweiser or Home Depot, which pays for entry-fees, salaries and more. The team also consists of marketing personnel, pit crew, coaches, and mechanics, among others.

Famous drivers include: Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte, and Jeff Gordon,