The great debate between horses, cars

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2005

May is a big month for racing and in many varieties.

High schools are absorbed in track. On a national level, the Preakness ran Saturday just two weeks after the most famous of all horse races, the Kentucky Derby.

And just a week away is one of the most famous auto races, the Indianapolis 500.

Email newsletter signup

These are very different races, but they are similar in other ways. They run on an oval track and two of the three have races that are over in a matter of minutes.

All of this left me pondering which is the best of all these races.

I eliminated track as a contestant in this great debate because it involves almost strictly the human element, although clearing a hurdle is somewhat like the equestrian competitions

where the horse jumps a fence.

Horse racing has a jockey and auto racing a driver which is similar, but they also have two contrasting elements: a horse and a car.

The two have been in competition for years, it just hasn't surfaced. When we talk about what kind of speed a car travels or how powerful of an engine is under the hood, we want to know its horsepower.

When a horse comes up lame, we say it has a bad wheel.

Football still reigns supreme in America followed closely by Major League Baseball. So which of the two racing sports is the next most popular with America?

According to the latest polls, it is auto racing.

NASCAR has surpassed the NBA in terms of a television viewing audience, bumping hockey (Is that still a sport?)

Although I like horse racing, I think there are a lot of reasons why NASCAR has moved up the ladder in terms of popularity.

Here are my top 10 reasons why NASCAR is more popular than horse racing.

10. You can fall asleep for hours and still see the end of a NASCAR race.

9. Saddles pose an obvious health danger for jockeys.

8. You'll never see oats or carrots used as a fuel.

7. Taking ad stickers off the horse would be very painful.

6. How many times do you see parts of horses fly into the air when they collide?

5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. never wears blinders.

4. NASCAR has Jeff Gordon. Okay horse racing, we'll give you that one.

3. Roses are for girls. Milk does a body good.

2. Jockeys never get in a fist fight after the race.

1. If you shoot a car, the gas tank will explode.

Jockeys, start your engines.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.