I've been an avid Nascar fan for many years, and one of the most upsetting things I continually hear is " Nascar drivers aren't athletes." That's nonsense. Fully 99 % of today's drivers are in perfect health and shape. They train daily, eat the right foods, and maintain  perfect weight (exception being perhaps Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, and  Joe Nemechek).

Imagine going 200 mph around a steeply banked corner, or 225 on the straightaway (as Jeff Gordon did recently). Temperatures inside the race car 100 degrees plus, and races with as many as 400 laps. Many racers do double duty, racing on Saturday and Sunday as well. To do this every week from February thru November, one must be in perfect shape. Several athletes from other sports have taken rides with a Nascar driver, and all have said what tremendous athletes Nascar driver are. The latest in Shaq.

According to a recent interview with Nascar.com, the toughest thing Shaq has done was to drive a racing car.

In an interview with NASCAR.com, Shaquille O’Neal revealed that driving a race car with Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the “toughest three hours” of his life.

From the interview:

Had a chance to spend a couple of weeks with Dale Earnhardt Jr. – when I was doing ‘Shaq Vs.’ I raced him. Whoever said these guys aren’t athletes are out of their minds. That was the toughest three hours I’ve ever had in my life. I was fitted for a car, me and Dale raced 50 laps, and I slept for two days after that. I really did.

Shaq went on to say he was scared senseless by the event.

“I don’t really get scared by a lot of stuff, but I was freaking terrified,” he said. “You definitely have to be a great shape to do this. And you’ve got to be small.”

Watch a Nascar race some weekend, see for yourself the great shape the drivers are in. If you do, you too will agree they are athletes.


(Thanks to NASCAR.com for sharing.)