Are the drivers athletes?

aunty dive

Team Owner
Contributor
Joined
Mar 17, 2014
Messages
22,769
Points
883
Thats kinda how I feel towards this... I wouldn't call race car drivers athletes, although its well documented what they do is really challenging and takes tons of skill...

If you give these guys the tag of "athlete", then you might as well go the route you're saying and look at everyone who breaks a sweat in a given day...

As Carl Edwards said many times in his days "guys, this is a dream job... we're paid to drive race cars..." kinda says it all.
Most people would break a sweat getting in the car. At a 110 plus degree ****pit temperature, 3 + hours is an eternity.

It's much more difficult and physically demanding than it appears on television. The athletes in the field run hard at the end of races.
 

JGR_20

CHRISTOPHER BELL
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
1,139
Points
223
Most people would break a sweat getting in the car. At a 110 plus degree ****pit temperature, 3 + hours is an eternity.

It's much more difficult and physically demanding than it appears on television. The athletes in the field run hard at the end of races.
No doubt, not saying any of its easy...I'm aware that it's entirely not easy, not even close. I was given a taste doing a couple ride alongs at one point, even those are barely 3/4 the actual race speeds, and the feeling is unreal... can't imagine the driver enduring all the conditions and also reading and feeling everything his car his doing and relaying that information as required... I could not do it, and neither can most others, even if they think it looks easy. I got respect for it.

I just choose not to label them athlete's. Not intended to take anything away or disrespect.
 

JGR_20

CHRISTOPHER BELL
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
1,139
Points
223
I think if you get your heart rate to those levels and need to maintain it there
For 4 hours, you are an athelete.
Good to know though. There are everyday warehouses which have things like order selecting in uncontrolled air temperatures year around. Been through it before, had to go to a local sports physical medical office which works with an NFL team in this area. Had to pass a sports conditioning physical where they monitor all your numbers as you simulate the job experience. It just gets a little loose on passing out the athlete tag cause everyday people are doing strenuous activity for paychecks too. Sometimes 10 or 11 hour days by the way.
 

Reck

Team Owner
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Messages
27,494
Points
1,013
Racecar drivers meet the criteria that makes up the definition of an athlete.

I dont think they compare with the broader definition of the word and what encompasses a complete, all around athlete though.
 

Ford 222

Team Owner
Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
1,390
Points
243
Good to know though. There are everyday warehouses which have things like order selecting in uncontrolled air temperatures year around. Been through it before, had to go to a local sports physical medical office which works with an NFL team in this area. Had to pass a sports conditioning physical where they monitor all your numbers as you simulate the job experience. It just gets a little loose on passing out the athlete tag cause everyday people are doing strenuous activity for paychecks too. Sometimes 10 or 11 hour days by the way.
Exactly. Because someone endures harsh conditions and their heart rate increases due to the stress of the job makes them an athlete? No.

Their HR isn't increased from aerobic activity as much as adrenaline from the race.

Athletes compete man to man or team to team. The car does the actual work, they control it. Skill and coordination sure. Same as a video gamer. Just under harsh conditions.
 

JGR_20

CHRISTOPHER BELL
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
1,139
Points
223
Exactly. Because someone endures harsh conditions and their heart rate increases due to the stress of the job makes them an athlete? No.

Their HR isn't increased from aerobic activity as much as adrenaline from the race.

Athletes compete man to man or team to team. The car does the actual work, they control it. Skill and coordination sure. Same as a video gamer. Just under harsh conditions.
Very correct. Think about firefighters for crying out loud. Even cooks in a hot kitchen working doubles short staffed... the list can go on..

The everyday man and woman are my heros.
 

ahudsonman

Team Owner
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Messages
243
Points
123
Good to know though. There are everyday warehouses which have things like order selecting in uncontrolled air temperatures year around. Been through it before, had to go to a local sports physical medical office which works with an NFL team in this area. Had to pass a sports conditioning physical where they monitor all your numbers as you simulate the job experience. It just gets a little loose on passing out the athlete tag cause everyday people are doing strenuous activity for paychecks too. Sometimes 10 or 11 hour days by the way.
I think What you may be missing is that those jobs are rarely if ever,100% non-stop.
As soon as you walk away, stop, take any kind of break the heart rate drops off. That may be the difference.
It's the continuous exercise at that elevated heart rate that is to me, athletic. Sometimes 3,4 or even 5 hours at a time.
 

JGR_20

CHRISTOPHER BELL
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
1,139
Points
223
I think What you may be missing is that those jobs are rarely if ever,100% non-stop.
As soon as you walk away, stop, take any kind of break the heart rate drops off. That may be the difference.
It's the continuous exercise at that elevated heart rate that is to me, athletic. Sometimes 3,4 or even 5 hours at a time.
You feel like telling a firefighter any of that to their face though? A firefighter never knows what their day could be. You could have 4 or 5 dangerous calls back to back.

A cook in a busy kitchen... their stress could be off the chart and then it can be super hot.

I'm not saying anyone's wrong. I'm just trying to be a voice in this conversation for those I feel deserve recognition for their strenuous daily jobs. To me a race car driver looking to be labeled an athlete is small potatoes to a lot of contributions people do.
 

Zerkfitting

Team Owner
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
3,391
Points
443
Location
Minnesota
Some drivers are more athletic than others.

Athlete - a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill (dictionary.com)

I think a lot of athletes fall under "a participant in a sport".
 

Bowtie3

Team Owner
Joined
Apr 21, 2016
Messages
1,022
Points
193
One thing you have to remember is that not all athletes are created equal. Peyton Manning was no Bo Jackson but he was an athlete. The Oakland Raiders have a defensive lineman that weighs nearly 300 lbs but he can do a standing backflip. Is anyone gonna say he's not an athlete. Pro golfers are athletes. Pro bowlers are athletes. Pro Bass fishermen are probably the most overlooked athletes anywhere. Not saying amateur golfers, bowlers or fishermen are but I think the pros are.
 

bustedknee

Curtis Turner Fan
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
146
Points
103
Location
Virginia

You imagine Jimmy Spencer as a basketball player?

Basketball is a game of freaks.

Imagine Jimmy in a legitmate sport...like

Like...

Like...

Sumo Wrestling.

Hahahavroomsplat
 

dpkimmel2001

Team Owner
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
34,603
Points
1,033
Location
Western PA
You imagine Jimmy Spencer as a basketball player?

Basketball is a game of freaks.

Imagine Jimmy in a legitmate sport...like

Like...

Like...

Sumo Wrestling.

Hahahavroomsplat
Perspective! Now I've got it. You've convinced me. Jimmy Spncer is an athlete. My scenario is no longer valid.
 

Ford 222

Team Owner
Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
1,390
Points
243
I guess I've always looked at athletic competition as when your strength and skills are pitted against mine and the better man or team wins through those attributes. Not who's equipment is most high dollar and does the bulk of the exertion. JMO.
 

Wrangler1

Team Owner
Joined
Dec 13, 2013
Messages
725
Points
273
Location
New York
Maybe Jimmy Spencer would have made a hell of a nose tackle.

Different sports or disciplines have different demands. Vince Wilfork or Prince Fielder wouldn't last 5 minutes in an NBA game but it doesn't mean they aren't athletes.

Drivers may not be athletic in the sense that stick and ballers are but they qualify IMO.
 

Ford 222

Team Owner
Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
1,390
Points
243
Again, the argument is incredible hand-eye coordination and ability to endure harsh environments for 4 hours once or twice a week. Doesn't make someone an athlete or require athletic skill to do so.

Brad is my man because he is a phenomenal race car driver but he is far from an athlete. Does he consistently beat Denny Hamlin because he is more athletic? Hell to the no. He does because his car has been better this year. Usually. Lol.
 

aunty dive

Team Owner
Contributor
Joined
Mar 17, 2014
Messages
22,769
Points
883
Again, the argument is incredible hand-eye coordination and ability to endure harsh environments for 4 hours once or twice a week. Doesn't make someone an athlete or require athletic skill to do so.

Brad is my man because he is a phenomenal race car driver but he is far from an athlete. Does he consistently beat Denny Hamlin because he is more athletic? Hell to the no. He does because his car has been better this year. Usually. Lol.
Mr. Keselowski is a very fit athlete. If he wasn't, he's be falling out of the seat after 50 laps at Bristol. If you ever get a chance to go for a ride at 75% or race speeds, you wouldn't be so sure of yourself.

"The most successful drivers today are “fanatical about their physical training,” Carlson said, explaining that strength training is necessary for an individual’s muscles to combat the extreme G loads, and cardiovascular fitness is key in keeping a manageable heart rate (and by extension, blood circulation) against the odds."

http://www.motorsport-safety.org/media/news/science-proves-it-racecar-drivers-are-athletes
 

Ford 222

Team Owner
Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
1,390
Points
243
Mr. Keselowski is a very fit athlete. If he wasn't, he's be falling out of the seat after 50 laps at Bristol. If you ever get a chance to go for a ride at 75% or race speeds, you wouldn't be so sure of yourself.

"The most successful drivers today are “fanatical about their physical training,” Carlson said, explaining that strength training is necessary for an individual’s muscles to combat the extreme G loads, and cardiovascular fitness is key in keeping a manageable heart rate (and by extension, blood circulation) against the odds."

http://www.motorsport-safety.org/media/news/science-proves-it-racecar-drivers-are-athletes
Physical fitness doesn't make someone an athlete. Tony Stewart was as successful as they come and did nothing in the way of training, except during his double duty days.

Look I know it's grueling in those cars. But there are lots of physically grueling jobs in extreme conditions people work every day for 10+ hours. Doesn't make them athletes.

Lots of amazingly fit and healthy people are just not that athletic.
 

AuzGrams

Team Owner
Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
3,443
Points
343
Race car drivers are generally not athletes, but it's not like some of these baseball, golf, and even select football players are either.

The Tony Stewart example is a good one IMO. Would have been interesting to see if he was/would be any better if he didn't eat at BK all the time.
 

NASCAR Apologist

Team Owner
Joined
Jul 25, 2017
Messages
400
Points
173
It requires a unique skill set and a certain level of a certain type of fitness, so I'd consider many of them to be.
 

Thegeneral23

Team Owner
Joined
Apr 23, 2017
Messages
1,976
Points
243
Race car drivers are generally not athletes, but it's not like some of these baseball, golf, and even select football players are either.

The Tony Stewart example is a good one IMO. Would have been interesting to see if he was/would be any better if he didn't eat at BK all the time.
Baseball golf and football not athletes?? Wow lol..
 

Kiante

Team Owner
Joined
Sep 6, 2013
Messages
15,751
Points
883
Location
Florida
I guess Carl Edwards wasn't an athlete.

That was the main reason why Carl won the Southern 500 IMHO. He could man-handle the car for about as long as anyone else that night.

Fitness plays a role, just can we call a driver being "race fit"?
 

jaqua19

Team Owner
Joined
Feb 17, 2015
Messages
4,391
Points
443
Location
Peabody, Massachusetts
Current engines produce a lot more heat than the ones Spencer et al used.

I once lost 8 pounds of water in 200 laps on a very hot Sunday afternoon at Evergreen Speedway in Washington state. I was literally sitting in it. These days, race winners and front runners are athletes. JMO, of course.
People don't seem to understand the science of sweating. Unless the nervous system is being tricked into fight or flight because of cognition, sweating is the body's attempt at cooling itself down from strenuous activity. Driving a race car does not require natural human athleticism but it takes a very speckfic skillset and muscle chrsyalization to do what they do. They are absolutely athletes.
 

Johali

Team Owner
Contributor
Joined
Mar 21, 2012
Messages
26,686
Points
883
Yes, Cup drivers are athletes. Here ya go.

Definition of athlete
  1. : a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.
 

Ford 222

Team Owner
Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
1,390
Points
243
People don't seem to understand the science of sweating. Unless the nervous system is being tricked into fight or flight because of cognition, sweating is the body's attempt at cooling itself down from strenuous activity. Driving a race car does not require natural human athleticism but it takes a very speckfic skillset and muscle chrsyalization to do what they do. They are absolutely athletes.
Really? They wouldn't be sweating because of the 500 degree exhaust running beneath them or the few hundred degree engine directly in front of them, both radiating heat into the ****pit to 100+ degree temps? Or the adrenalin from the speed? In addition to thick Fire Retardant clothing?

Majority of the work is being done by the car people. As well as the athletic effort we witness. Car...
 

gone

Team Owner
Joined
Oct 29, 2013
Messages
596
Points
223
In my experience, too many people who opine that race drivers are not athletes are people who have never driven a race car in a race. They assume that it's pretty much the same as driving their street car on the highway, only maybe a little faster. Maybe those of us who still have access to racing vehicles should take some of those critics out to a track on a practice day and let them get a taste of actual racing. I used to do that with my racing karts - and they always ended up admitting that even at the kart level it was more intense that they had assumed. Plus they always complained about their arms and shoulders ached afterwards... I used to suggest that they then imagine being strapped into a very hot machine that could pull even more G-forces...
 

JGR_20

CHRISTOPHER BELL
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
1,139
Points
223
Well I must say, I would like to have back my earlier posts in this topic from a few years ago.

I know what I was trying to convey but it wasn’t working at all... apologies.

I guess I wish there wasn’t such a ‘fixation’ on making our drivers equal to the likes of a LeBron James or Arron Rodgers. I look at race car drivers as doing something waaayy more outstanding than playing a ball game.
 
Top Bottom