The Plague Of XenophobiaI admit it-I'm a NASCAR fan. Some of the editors at our sister publications make fun of me, but I stand by my enthusiasm for NASCAR. I have heard it all-oval racing is not real racing, NASCAR is just for rednecks, etc. For me, motorsports is motorsports. I do not discriminate. I have yet to come across a sporting event involving motors that I won't watch. My wife incessantly pokes fun of me when I watch tractor pulling and snowmobile racing-we're not exactly a hotbed for either here in California. I will watch Formula One, rally racing, funny car and top fuel drag racing, motorcycle racing, you name it. I hate it when people are snotty and they think one motorsport is superior to another. I'd be rich if I had a dime for every time I heard a road racer complain that it takes no talent to drag race. I appreciate the fact that all motorsports require driver skills and mechanical performance. They may be a different set of skills, but each type of piloting requires the careful hand of the driver. Each engine requires the expertise of the mechanic or pit team to perform optimally.

I am also, in general, just a sucker for performance. I will be competitive about paper airplane races in the office (my aerodynamic design just has to work), racing shopping carts in parking lots (also to my wife's dismay), and any other situation that involves who or what can go faster. My mechanic background comes out in that I have to evaluate everything technical to see how I can tweak it to perform better. It's from this perspective that I am a fan of any sort of modifications, whether it be riding lawn mower drag racing or a kart race car.

The worst offense to me is not only when people are snotty and think their personal favorite motorsport is superior to the others, but when they make it overly political in nature. I was reading through my auto club's publication when I came across a letter to the editor lambasting Toyota's entry into NASCAR. The reader was so pissed that a foreign manufacturer would enter NASCAR that he planned to no longer watch the series in protest. He further suggested that foreign car companies should create their own series and only compete against each other (Toyota, Kia, Subaru, Honda, etc.). I was incredibly offended by his remarks. While you can dismiss one zany person's comments, I unfortunately guess that many a NASCAR fan might share his sentiment.

Is it just American pride that hinders some folks from wanting to see a Toyota win NASCAR? It seems ludicrous that we are going to pick on one Japanese car company when our lives are filled with products that are produced in Asia. You can't race with us, but every third item in your house was made in China. Has our country not recovered from the anti-Japanese car furor that swept the U.S. in the '80s when many domestic car plants shut down? It makes me cringe when anyone suggests segregation, even if it's just an import-only racing series.

I believe all cars, domestics and imports, should have the opportunity to race together and duke it out. Our country prides itself on diversity, so to advocate segregation of imports and domestics in NASCAR just makes us take several steps backwards. It is already concerning that I can't name one non-European-American NASCAR Cup driver so I think that any possibility of diversifying the series is a move in the positive direction. Toyota will bring in a broader audience to NASCAR, just as the fan base will broaden by having more ethnic minority drivers. Notably, NASCAR runs promotional commercials for its African-American young drivers mentoring program. I am proud that NASCAR is not afraid of alienating its old-school fans by supporting such a program, as well as embracing the likes of Toyota and hopefully Honda in the future.

I will be cheering on Toyota in NASCAR with a sense of pride. I will also be cheering on the mud bogging and rock crawler events, albeit with slightly less pride but with equal glee. I encourage everyone to take an enlightened approach to motorsports. Speed is speed in any region, country, and language. Without sounding like a Gatorade commercial or a movie line, it's all about winning. Period.

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, GROUP PUBLISHERJohn W. Cobb III

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, GROUP PUBLISHERHoward C. Lim

EDITORIALEditorRobert Choo - Robert.Choo@primedia.com

Managing EditorCristi Millington - Cristi.Millington@primedia.com

Interim Technical EditorMike Kojima

Copy editorBill Klein - Bill.Klein@primedia.com

Editorial AssistantSharon Malm - Sharon.Malm@primedia.com

Contributing EditorsEvan GriffeyDavid LuongHenry Z. DeKuyperDino Dalle CarbonareIssac MinonJohn PrescottPablo Mazlumian

ART DIRECTION & DESIGNArt DirectorJoel Marasigan - Joel.Marasigan@primedia.com

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