While both Days of Thunder and Red Line 7000 do a reasonably good job of portraying the world of stock-car racing, neither video really gets grease under its fingernails. A closer look at the sport can be found in the newly released premier volume of NASCAR Video, the official videocassette ”magazine” of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. Hosted by Benny Parsons, a folksy former racer who seems to have learned hand gestures at the George Bush School of Broadcasting, this tape is the video equivalent of a glossy printed program, and the NASCAR imprimatur means that the tone is unfailingly upbeat.
Fair-weather fans will find this tape’s emphasis on NASCAR nuts and bolts off-putting, although it offers enough to interest auto freaks — and with stock-car racing the second-best-attended sport in the country after baseball, there are plenty of NASCAR buffs around.
There are interviews with many racers, including Dale Earnhardt (below, in the 1990 Daytona 500) and the ”Golden Boy” of the ’60s, Fred Lorenzen. But most of them, with the exception of seven-time Daytona winner Richard Petty, are better on the racecourse than they are with discourse.
Among our favorite sound bites: 1986 Daytona champ Geoff Bodine dryly comments that ”one lap or two at 190 [(mph)] is pretty monotonous.” And Darrell Waltrip sets up his ”Driving Tips” segment with this intriguing scenario: ”You’re driving down the interstate, you see the off ramp too late, and you ask yourself, ‘What would Ironhead or Wild Bill do?”’