Race car driving is not a sport


By Izzie Thornley 

Illustration by Kassidy Weber

So, you want to be an “athlete?” Why don’t you invest your life savings and drive a car in continuous circles everyday? All that extreme physical effort will total to a loss of a whopping 55 calories an hour because not only do both arms have to move simultaneously, but your right foot has to switch between the accelerator and the brake. You heard that right, switch between two pedals. The level of multitasking a race car driver endures is astonishing, and I’ll never be able to comprehend it, but wait, I kind of can. 

Buckle up because I’m irritated and ready to shine the truth on this controversial subject. Race car driving is not a sport. Think about it. Do you hear me screaming from the hilltops that I am the best athlete in the world after beating my best friend for the fourth consecutive time in Scrabble? Of course you don’t because although mental capacity and concentration are necessities, physical strength is not required to achieve victory in either Scrabble or race car driving.

After passing my permit test, I realized that although nerve-wracking, driving is only difficult because you have to pay attention to your surroundings for extended periods of time. Following a brief, fifteen-minute lesson in an empty parking lot, I was totally capable of using my arm to reach to the gear shift and press my foot against the accelerator. Driving, a task everyone over 16 is basically required to learn, does not count as a sport, so why should driving at higher speeds and on a controlled track? The race car may be zooming, but it is not due to the driver’s physical effort; it is the mechanics in the vehicle moving the drivers while they sit. If you classify race car driving as a sport since it is hot and sweaty, I want you to think about driving in the mid-summer heat of Las Vegas in a car that is not air-conditioned. Also, don’t bring up the fact that race car driving is dangerous, so it has to be a sport. I could get in an accident on the way to school tomorrow, and you’re telling me I’ll be considered a high-profile athlete if I get rear-ended by a Jeep Wrangler. 

The demographic for this activity consists of scrawny young adults that received participation trophies during their Little League Baseball seasons. If you are not blessed with athleticism, don’t create a new activity that consists of no physical exertion just so you can pose as an athlete behind black and white checkered tracksuits. I guess these races are broadcasted over national television making them seem important, but “Wheel of Fortune” is as well, and I use more brain cells conjuring up a three word “Food and Drink” than signaling to change lanes. 

Mental exhaustion is real, and I applaud those who have the nerve to spend hours concentrating hard. However, the thought of everyday people assuming that driving a car in loops at excessive rates is a physical process is driving me crazy. For the last time, race car driving is not a sport, and if you still believe otherwise, I’m going to have to come to the conclusion that you are overly naive. Apparently, I guess I’ll just have to accept that.

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Izzie Thornley, opinion editor, is a junior this year, and she has been on “The Roar” staff for two years. Along with writing and editing opinion pieces, she is also a copy editor. She’s a part of the varsity swim team and the president ofNational English Honor Society (NEHS). In her free time, Izzie enjoys listening to music, working out, religiously watching the “Bachelor” franchise, and obsessively cleaning her room. She hopes to attend college in California and either become a criminal defense or family lawyer. Even though she doesn’t appreciate the grammar, she agrees with Mason Ramsey and his lyrics, “If you ain’t got no giddy up then giddy out my way.”


  1. A sport isn’t dependent on physical effort, but a competition between two or more people in an event. Racing is a game of building and driving cars at high speed, high risk situations. You may think it’s easy or that it’s not exerting but I encourage you to go and try to race someone else. It’s not easy and to claim it isn’t a sport is a little close minded. There’s a lot of effort going into racing and building cars and it’s costly and competitive. I agree that it’s not physically exhausting but it does require a lot of skill.

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