The world of open-wheel formula racing made its move. Your turn, stock car racing. Ride the lightning!
Formula E is kicking off soon with some more predictable and some less predictable influxes of electricity-driven race cars. While it is not a "World Championship" in title, the media attention around it rendered it to be virtually the second most followed open-wheel series right after Formula 1 without any races completed yet.
So after Europe's two golden children - F1 and WEC - went hybrid with the newcomer being fully electric, raised eyebrows now point towards America, requesting an answer.
The short answer by Robin Williams:
A longer answer by Jack Roush:
One Arpil's Fools joke suggested last year that Tesla would join the Sprint Cup, generating some great laughter, but the expressions 'NASCAR' and 'electricity' in the same sentences keep popping up more often.
NASCAR hasn't been charged with pushing road vehicle technology too much since the early 70s and it doesn't seem to change in the future either with their relatively recent move to switch to fuel injection, however high-tech and cutting edge some of the teams are with their R&D and craft. Why would the series be cutting edge at all when the technical rules require cars to be identical and sporting rules keep shuffling the cards between drivers and teams to stay in one huge pack throughout the season to have a last-corner championship decider in the last corner of the last lap of the last race by all means. Besides, they can generate money much easier, e.g. by selling something stupid, like a duck call.
Electrifying NASCAR wouldn't even make sense technologically, either. Apart from some short tracks and the odd road courses, drivers never touch the break pedal during racing, making regeneration impossible, and however much they pushed, a fully electric racing wouldn't be able to cover the 5 or 600-mile challenge of some of the feature races.
It is the format, really, that 'outlaws' electricity from oval-track action, and unless NASCAR comes up with e.g. some short, sprint series specifically designed for electric cars, Lightning McQueen will have a poor reputation on-track.
But what if we just threw all that flickered hypocrisy away and accept NASCAR what it really is (i.e. not the challenge of 'the best drivers in the world', but rather what Mr. Williams said) and turn all tracks into gigantic dodgem bumper car venues (with Chrysler as the main sponsor, of course), making each and every car like Marty McFly's DeLorean riding the lightning.
Sure, no sound from the cars, but some country-ish thing could also pump from the speakers, depending on who's being in the lead.
American fuel from American nuke, no Middle-Eastern oil, sir.
Sure as hell: as long as second, third, fourth generation drivers are willing to race, there will be a NASCAR for the masses, whatever the fuel is.
How would you free NASCAR from oil for FREEDOM?
image is of Creative Commons licence