An athlete is defined as a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength or a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill. Given these standards, one is likely to say baseball, football, basketball, or even golf players are considered to be athletes in competition. What about professional race- car drivers? To some, a race- car driver requires no athletic ability whatsoever and should not be considered an athletic figure.On the contrary, the intense practice, workouts, and stamina required for them to win a race indubitably meet the standards of an athlete. Some people even believe drivers require even more endurance and strength than athletes of other sports. Therefore, professional race- car drivers should ultimately be considered athletes in this highly competitive world of sports.
Maintaining a velocity of 200 miles per hour for four hours in a cramped space is no easy task for professional drivers.The amount of practice needed to become a top- notch racer can be related to that of many athletes in sports. Just like any other athlete, professional race- car drivers require years of practice and simulation training in order to become skillful at what they do. An average NASCAR driver will have the same routine for thirty- six weeks in a year. Get to the track, practice, race, and repeat. This general schedule can compare to that of a professional football player.
Football players arrive at a field, practice, compete, and repeat.Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a senior medical correspondent of CNN and U. S brain surgeon, shares results of research that shows NASCAR drivers sweat as much as a football player at practice. “They can lose 3% of body weight in sweat, that’s about 5 lbs for each race” (“Are racers athletes? ” 1). Moreover these drivers will practice three to four days in a week on the race- track in order to fully prepare themselves for a race.
The commitment involved in training for racing directly relates to the training of many famous athletes around the world.On top of the many hours of practice and experience, competitive racers go through intensive physical workouts just to finish a full- length race. Four hours of complete focus in temperatures of up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit is no easy task for a driver. Sweat and vibrations impair the eyes of the focused competitors while standard 3. 5 g cornering forces strain the body to its limits. Being able to fight through these obstacles requires intense physical workouts. Most drivers train six-days-a-week during the in season that include running, cycling, interval swimming, sparring or medicine ball.They will work on heavy-duty cardio vascular exercises that are designed to sustain heart rates in the 160-170 beats per minute for ninety minutes (Skibbe 1).
In fact Ed Carpenter, an Indy Car Racing League driver, spent a lot of time working out with Olympians in order to get in shape for races. The amount of physical training that is needed to race undoubtedly make these motivated drivers competitive athletes in the sports world. Unfortunately not all people believe that professional race- car drivers are athletes. This criticism is provoked mainly from the notion that race- car drivers rely solely on their car for success.Critics argue that in order to be an athlete, “one must rely solely on their own body to accomplish their goal”(“Drivers are not Athletes…” 1). For example, a football quarterback can have all the padding and equipment to protect him, but needs to rely on his own strength and mind to make a throw.
Likewise baseball players use gloves to catch a ball, but rely on their bodies and strength to field and throw. For a basketball player, if he loses a shoe he can still play, although not at the same level, but in NASCAR, if a tire gets blown, the driver must get the car fixed before continuing to race.Consequently “if one car is faster than another, with better tire traction, the driver can do little to prevent the other from winning” (“Drivers are not…” 1). In summary, Race- car drivers use their body to turn and accelerate on the track, but the car is providing the strength to create success. Race- car drivers might rely on their car to win a race, but the mental focus and stamina required to compete, both physically and mentally, far surpasses that of any other athlete. Jack Stark, a sports psychologist for Hendrick Motorsports, contributes his thoughts on race- car drivers.
You gotta have tremendous stamina and strength to be able to get in a car and go 200 miles an hour for four hours [in] very hot, difficult conditions where you’re cramped in, and be able to move that car, and the G-force and upper body strength … you gotta be a very good athlete. And you’re reflexes have to be quick, you have to be able to see things, so it takes a tremendous amount of ability and skill, I think, to be a driver” (“Going the Distance” 2).
The cars win the races, but the drivers inside the cars utilize years of training, workouts, and practice to control their victory just like any other athlete in the world.In conclusion, professional race- car drivers are athletes in the world of sports. The many years of training required to develop a skill set for racing can be related to that of baseball, basketball, or football players. Additionally, the intense workouts that they go through make them worthy competitors to any athlete. The amount of mental focus and stamina required to stay on the race- track far surpasses the focus of any other athlete in the world. Although critics argue that the “cars” create success for the driver, without the years of practice and simulation training there is no way to succeed in professional racing.
Driving a race- car successfully is not something one can pick up in a few days. A true, experienced athlete is needed to control a victory on the track.Works Cited “Are Racers Athletes? Ask the Doctor, Sanjay Gupta. ” Checkered Past. 12 Oct. 2005.
Web. 26 Sept. 2010. . “Drivers Are Not Athletes, and NASCAR Is Not a Sport. ” Celtics, Patriots and Red Sox Analysis | NESO.
16 Feb. 2010. Web. 26 Sept. 2010. .
“Going the Distance – CNN. ” Featured Articles From CNN. 17 Nov. 2005.
Web. 26 Sept. 2010. .