As an avid fan of South Park, one of my favorite episodes happens when Cartman becomes a NASCAR driver. In the often-messed up cartoon series, Eric Cartman cried about being unable to attain his dreams of being a race car driver because he wasn't "poor and stupid" enough.
This episode, though it was hilarious and poked fun at misogyny via the Vagisil gags, did have me thinking. How do race car drivers get their start? After all, it's not like they have a college track for NASCAR... or do they?
I decided to find out how to become a NASCAR driver, and this is the process that most sites described. If you've ever wondered what it takes, this will give you a better idea.
First things first, there are many ways to become a NASCAR driver.
NASCAR isn't a normal sport, nor is it a normal career. This means that the normal recruitment arenas will not often work for people who want to be race car drivers. There's no "college NASCAR league," and there's no special NASCAR job fair to attend.
That being said, it's hard to actually find a definitive route to NASCAR. Even some NASCAR drivers won't be able to tell you how to become a NASCAR driver, primarily because they had family members who offered them an easy in.
You will need to take risks, and chances are high that you'll need startup capital to get into NASCAR racing. Disclaimer aside, let's learn how many others got their start...
WikiHow suggested that you start go kart racing when you're young, then compete in actual local races as you get older.
This is one article which teaches you how to become a NASCAR driver through a somewhat viable route. By slowly building up your racing portfolio, you will be able to learn the basics of racing. By entering a lot of races, you can get fans and also establish a name for yourself.
That being said, one thing that really stood out is that the article explained that you will need mechanical knowledge — and that you should also attend a NASCAR driving school if you want to go full pro in the stock car racing circuit.
Another article really emphasized the importance of networking when trying to break into NASCAR.
The WikiHow talked about the "slow and steady" part, but Motorsport took another route. Along with emphasizing time on the track, they also pointed out that it takes a certain type of personality to be a NASCAR driver.
After all, NASCAR drivers don't only have to be good on a track; they also have to be charismatic enough to pull fans and also get sponsors. No sponsorships means no track time — and a failed career as a NASCAR driver.
Part of learning how to become a NASCAR driver, therefore, is learning how to get sponsors, fans, and attention on your side. If you can't network and find a way to get into the track, you won't be able to make it in.
90 percent of getting into the world of professional racing is being able to afford the cars and learning who to talk to in order to get on the track. Thankfully, being able to get your foot in the door is probably doable as long as you can get in touch with the pit crew at a local track.
That being said, every guide emphasized that NASCAR drivers are anything but poor and stupid. They're wealthy, well-mannered, and have the business acumen necessary to keep them on the NASCAR track — and that's admirable.
Lastly, schooling is strongly recommended.
While college isn't necessary for success in the NASCAR world, almost every guide mentioned that getting some knowledge about race car driving and car stats is pretty crucial. Many also strongly suggested attending a professional driving school, a NASCAR driving course, or a stunt driving school.
When you graduate from a NASCAR course, it's likely that you will have more proof that you're a good enough driver to be able to hit the official tracks. Moreover, you might also meet someone who will tell you how to become a NASCAR driver through these courses, too.
So yes, education might play a bigger factor than you'd have expected here. And, that means that Cartman probably would never have made it to NASCAR as an adult in real life.