By admin | January 3, 2013
By Richard Allen
During the debate over the recent tax break that was extended for race tracks by the so called “fiscal cliff” legislation, the use of the term “NASCAR” came into question. Since the term can have multiple meanings, there was some misunderstanding, and misinformation, as to who was being referred to when that term was used.
NASCAR, of course, is an acronym for the National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing. That organization was founded in Daytona Beach, Florida in the late 1940s by Bill France, Sr. and others for the purpose of sanctioning stock car racing.
The debate about the use of the term “NASCAR” came when some pointed out that the organization still based in Daytona Beach was not actually receiving any benefits from the government when a tax break for motorsports facilities was extended as part of the last minute governmental legislation of January 1, 2013. While it is technically true that NASCAR itself was not receiving any tax breaks, the broader use of the term needed to be considered.
So, here are some of the ways the term “NASCAR” may be used.
First, “NASCAR” is a sanctioning body that governs the sport of stock car racing. This is, of course, the truest meaning of the acronym. But to limit the term to just this particular definition would serve to eliminate a great many uses of the word.
“NASCAR” can also be used to describe the sport itself. The term is often used to refer to a form of racing. How many times have you heard someone say, “I am a NASCAR fan.”? That likely doesn’t mean that person is a fan of the organization that runs the sport, but rather, the person is actually a fan of the form of racing refered to by the word.
The same could be said of someone who declares that he is an NFL fan. The person is referring to the sport, not the organization that runs it.
When some media outlets reported that NASCAR was receiving a tax break, the sanctioning body took exception to that and pointed out that it was actually the tracks used by NASCAR that were benefiting.
However, those tracks are a part of NASCAR. The term was being used to refer to the sport, not the actual sanctioning body. It would be the same if such a break had been given to each NFL team. The stories would have likely been headlined, “NFL Receives Tax Benefits From Fiscal Cliff Bill” or something to that effect. It would not be necessary to list the name of each team.
I have wanted to write a piece like this for a while because of the multiple meanings of the term “NASCAR” and the confusion that sometimes results. The debate over the “fiscal cliff” finally motivated me to do so.
When someone asks me if I am a “NASCAR” fan, I answer that I am. However, some have also gone on to ask how I can call myself a fan when I am so critical of NASCAR in my columns. This is where a distinction in the term must be made. I am a fan of the sport, its drivers, crew members, sponsors and team owners. However, I do not always agree with the organization that runs it. So, I am a NASCAR fan but I am not a fan of NASCAR…if that makes any sense at all.
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