Collision Course

The Boost Mobile/Freestylemx.com Tour Hits NASCAR Head On in Charlotte

is quickly becoming the most popular sport in America. In a recent article discussing the growing fad, Tim Kawakami from the San Jose Mercury News reported that there are more than 75 million fans in the United States alone who eat, breathe and live for NASCAR. The obsession begins with budding fans buying a few random products associated with their favorite driver, and ends with a complete lifestyle change that involves complete commitment for anything and everything endorsed by the team.

NASCAR enthusiasts make up a distinct breed of humanity. You know the type; you see them loyally snatching up every bit of Dale Earnhardt paraphernalia that the local Wal-Mart has to offer, from bumper sticker tributes to clothing to Dale Earnhardt-endorsed gun racks. They drive around in high-performance, American-made muscle cars like the legendary and sporty Monte Carlo or Chevy Lumina, oftentimes adorned with their favorite driver’s stickers, a clever checkered flag pattern or design, and some sort of bowtie pride decal to let the passerby know where their allegiance lies. Because of this deep commitment by the fans, the sport is big business. So big, in fact, that series sponsor Nextel shelled out a reported 700 million greenbacks this year to become the title supporter.

As popular as NASCAR is, though, a group of vagabond freestyle motocrossers have a different view of the sport, claiming that their brand of entertainment is much more exciting, dangerous, and just plain interesting than the type provided by cars that, well…go around in circles really fast.

In short, the small group of riders felt they needed to show the world once and for all how much cooler FMX is than NASCAR. Five freestylers total-Mike Mason, Todd Potter, Jeff “Ox” Kargola, Wes Burr, and Fluffer-all came to Charlotte Motor Speedway with one thing on their minds; stealing the money, fame, fans, and women away from the popular stock car drivers. With only their 250cc motorcycles and a single ramp-to-ramp jump in their arsenal of weaponry, the riders knew the challenge would be immense, but it was their destiny to inflict a full-blown battle royale: FMX versus NASCAR.

As the bitter-cold October night in North Carolina wore on, the immediate differences between the two sports became quite obvious. Being the serious investigative journalists that we are here at TransWorld Motocross Magazine, we broke the showdown apart piece by piece, comparing and contrasting NASCAR with freestyle motocross to see which one really is a better sport. Though we risk being skinned alive by angry NASCAR fans and having the TWMX offices set afire by any one of millions of Earnhardt partisans when publishing these never-before-told facts, we are here to unveil the cold, hard truths that were unearthed in Charlotte. The following is a comprehensive, world-exclusive list of observations and differences from that fateful fall day. We compiled all of the facts so that you could draw your own conclusions and see for yourself which sport is cooler. Let the battle commence!

Fan Attire: Letterman Jackets

vs. Mulisha Shirts

In NASCAR, the cool guys in the crowd enjoy keeping warm with jackets that resemble the same letterman jackets that the coolest jocks/bullies from your high school once sported. However, at the races the letters have been scrapped for, you guessed it; the corporate sponsor and team logos of whichever driver the fans want to represent. Oftentimes a strange coincidence occurs and the spectator’s favorite driver also happens to drive for his/her favorite beer company. This is why Budweiser jackets with big number 8s on them are so prevalent. Hmm. Oh, and the jackets quite often feature strange and brilliant color combinations like fluorescent orange and yellow mixed in with a few stripes of baby blue and pea green for good measure.

In contrast, the FMX world enjoys a diffent style altogether. Here we find black Metal Mulisha shirts, oodles of spinning belt buckles, and Jesse James “Iron Cross” inspired decorations on anything and everything from T-shirts to the mud flaps on their jacked-to-the-heavens F-150s. Flames are also extremely popular with the freestyle crowd, which seems to be one style that both sides can agree on. Whereas many of the NASCAR fans present in Charlotte donned tight Wrangler jeans, though, the FMX crew were the ones with baggy Dickies shorts and black socks halfway to their knees.

Hat Alterations: Hats with Bent Bills vs. Sideways Trucker Hats with Inverted Bills

In the stands, it was oh-so-obvious that the only way to go when taking in a tight, action-packed NASCAR race is to run your hat fairly high on your head, straight forward, with a single large crease right down the middle of the bill. As for logos on the hats, they range all the way from popular NFL teams to the name of the local rodeo arena, but the most prevalent are obviously race team hats. Many times the hats are also used for storage, as those Oakley Blades and Blue Blockers that were great during the day become obstructive for viewing come night time.

Over on the FMX side, the way to go is with a trucker hat, but the key is to never wear it straight, regardless of whether it is facing frontward or backward. It must always be slightly sideways. Some of the guys even add their own flair by creasing the bill. It’s not creased down the middle like it is in NASCAR, though; here just the tip of the bill is flipped up to the sky, horizontally.

Language and Dialect: Siiick, Bro! vs. Yee Haw! And Fixin’ To

Since many of the truest, most diehard NASCAR fans reside in Southern habitats, it’s no big surprise that the same strong, distinguished Southern dialect that prevailed at Charlotte is also the chosen tongue at most of the other races on the circuit. Ox was perhaps the most rattled by the strange sounds coming from the fans’ mouths, and when one admirer approached him and said, “Man, y’alls nuts!” he wasn’t quite sure how to respond, and even wondered if the man was talking about part of his anatomy. “Dude, that guy just said something about my nuts!” was all Ox said after the encounter.

As for freestyle, the few true FMX fans we found at Charlotte Motor Speedway somehow were hip to the language of freestyle, a rare find outside of Southern California. How did we know that these guys were down? As a matter of fact, they said things like “down,” as well as the most popular phrase of all time in the sport; “Siiick!” Interestingly enough, more than one “Siiick!” was heard echoing through the dense crowd after each and every trick that was pulled throughout the entire 20 minute Boost Mobile/Freestylemx.com jump show.

Groupies: Middle-Aged Housewives

vs. Teenager Girls

Circling the pits in Charlotte revealed that as with any professional sport, NASCAR has more than its fair share of groupies. The chicks here are a little different than the ones in competing sports like FMX, though. Throughout our painstaking research we found the majority to be well-fed, heavily into country music and daytime television, and extremely tolerant to several shots of booze. We hate to generalize people, but the hotties of NASCAR had a ton in common with one another. For example, 93.6% of NASCAR groupies we interviewed had at one time or another been crowned queen of their respective trailer park, had several fake teeth to boot, and wore a strange type of shoe that combined heeled pumps with high leather uppers that covered most of the leg.

Unfortunately, the FMX crew at Charlotte was forced to throw their hats in the ring with the fine ladies mentioned above during the after-party, as the riders struggled to find even one true FMX groupie in the bunch. What, you ask, were they looking for? That’s a good question; the common FMX groupie (or “ramp tramp,” as they’re sometimes called in freestyle circles) is waaayyy too young to be doing the things she’s doing, dresses in short skirts with star-studded white belts barely holding said skirt up, and borrows a bit from the guys by accessorizing with her own trucker hat, though it’s often pink. These girls always claim to be 18, but never can seem to find that darned ID.

Deciding on which sport is cooler with regards to the women followers is tough and very subjective to the individual, as the age range is so much different. If you’re into the older, more experienced crowd that can drink you under the table, NASCAR is the way to go, but if you prefer to teach them things they’ve never done before (and probably shouldn’t be doing at that age), then FMX is your game.

Action: Circling Cars

vs. Flying Bikes

Though all of the categories have been very close thus far, here’s the one we feel made freestyle motocross the standout winner of this vicious battle. During the demo in Charlotte, even the tried-and-true NASCAR devotees found it tough to argue that watching FMX riders jump 30 feet into the air while pulling all sorts of death-defying tricks like the backflip that Ox threw over the ramp-to-ramp double jump was way more exciting than watching other people drive their cars in circles a few hundred times in a row.

While plenty of action was to be had when the drivers collided, it wasn’t enough to measure up to the multitude of tricks the freestyle guys were pulling. Throughout the demo, the crowd was treated to all sorts of different tricks, including the Kiss of Death, the 9 o’clock Nac, and even a double grab Hart Attack or two.

When the demo was done and the gentlemen in the stock cars fired their engines, the reality of it all lay over the stadium like the giant blanket of fog covered the adjoining trailer park: the several thousand NASCAR lovers had been converted to FMX, and the sight of fan after fan filing out of the stadium just laps into the race were enough to prove that the FMX riders were victorious. In the end it was a close fight, but the freestyle “David” took down the massive “Goliath” of NASCAR with one major difference: the added element of air.

After accomplishing the task at hand, the freestyle riders left Charlotte Motor Speedway with huge grins on their faces, several cases of lukewarm MGD, and a NASCAR-turned-FMX groupie on each arm. It all led to a long night of partying at the Charlotte Motel 6, and when the smoke cleared the boys left North Carolina with more than they came with, both emotionally and physically (but hey, there’s an ointment that’ll clear up almost everything, right?!)

called in freestyle circles) is waaayyy too young to be doing the things she’s doing, dresses in short skirts with star-studded white belts barely holding said skirt up, and borrows a bit from the guys by accessorizing with her own trucker hat, though it’s often pink. These girls always claim to be 18, but never can seem to find that darned ID.

Deciding on which sport is cooler with regards to the women followers is tough and very subjective to the individual, as the age range is so much different. If you’re into the older, more experienced crowd that can drink you under the table, NASCAR is the way to go, but if you prefer to teach them things they’ve never done before (and probably shouldn’t be doing at that age), then FMX is your game.

Action: Circling Cars

vs. Flying Bikes

Though all of the categories have been very close thus far, here’s the one we feel made freestyle motocross the standout winner of this vicious battle. During the demo in Charlotte, even the tried-and-true NASCAR devotees found it tough to argue that watching FMX riders jump 30 feet into the air while pulling all sorts of death-defying tricks like the backflip that Ox threw over the ramp-to-ramp double jump was way more exciting than watching other people drive their cars in circles a few hundred times in a row.

While plenty of action was to be had when the drivers collided, it wasn’t enough to measure up to the multitude of tricks the freestyle guys were pulling. Throughout the demo, the crowd was treated to all sorts of different tricks, including the Kiss of Death, the 9 o’clock Nac, and even a double grab Hart Attack or two.

When the demo was done and the gentlemen in the stock cars fired their engines, the reality of it all lay over the stadium like the giant blanket of fog covered the adjoining trailer park: the several thousand NASCAR lovers had been converted to FMX, and the sight of fan after fan filing out of the stadium just laps into the race were enough to prove that the FMX riders were victorious. In the end it was a close fight, but the freestyle “David” took down the massive “Goliath” of NASCAR with one major difference: the added element of air.

After accomplishing the task at hand, the freestyle riders left Charlotte Motor Speedway with huge grins on their faces, several cases of lukewarm MGD, and a NASCAR-turned-FMX groupie on each arm. It all led to a long night of partying at the Charlotte Motel 6, and when the smoke cleared the boys left North Carolina with more than they came with, both emotionally and physically (but hey, there’s an ointment that’ll clear up almost everything, right?!)