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Fans Debate: Are NASCAR Stock Cars Too LOUD?

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What’s Happening?

One of the distinct qualities of a NASCAR race is the loud noise. The roaring engines as the cars speed down the backstretch, drowning out the sound of 10s of thousands of screaming race fans. However, a recent observation by Australian Motorsports journalist for Speedcafe, Roland Dane, has ignited the debate: are NASCAR stock cars too loud?

  • NASCAR stock cars have always been loud from the very beginning. With the cars sporting internal combustion engines that have made as much as 900 horsepower, they just always have been very loud.
  • However, other motorsports have opted for slightly quieter cars thanks to alternative fuel methods. Formula One quieted its cars down in 2014 by introducing hybrid engines, and IndyCars cars are far quieter than their NASCAR counterparts.
  • Fans are split on this issue. Some fans believe that the noise is part of what makes the sport great, and they don’t mind it. Others believe it hurts the at-track experience since it impacts the ability to talk to people around and could be unhealthy for the ears.

Yes, the Cars are Too Loud

One of the biggest proponents of quieting the engines is Michael Waltrip. He proposes that each manufacturer be required to meet a certain decibel level with their sound.

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Another proponent of quieter cars is Brakehard. He found it particularly interesting that an outsider gave their perspective.

Brad Perez also works in the sport as a part-time driver, and he believes the cars are way too loud. He feels supercars are the perfect level of noise.

Fans think the cars are too loud because they claim it causes hearing loss in overexposed people. SciroccoMark discusses this point below. Obviously, at the moment, it also keeps fans from talking to each other during a race.

Anyone who has been to a NASCAR race understands how loud they are. If you go to a race without using ear protection, which I have done for the past decade-plus, your ears will ring nonstop when the race is over.

In my experience, that ringing often lasts the rest of the day before it fades away, with the fading ringing continuing for the next day or two. Obviously, that is not an endorsement or a hard and fast rule; it is just my experience of not wearing ear protection at a race.

Multiple outlets claim that a NASCAR race can reach up to 130 decibels, which the American Speech Language Hearing Association classifies as a “Painful steady noise – Not safe for any period of time”. The ASLHA also claims that people should not be exposed to noises of more than 91 decibels for more than two hours at a time.

Well, that’s a rule I’ve broken at almost every NASCAR race I’ve attended for the past decade.

Jay Stone claimed that the noise got worse when the NASCAR Cup Series switched to the Next-Gen car from the Gen-6 car.

Rickey the Maker also agrees with this view. He says that the new car was so loud that he doesn’t attend races anymore.

Vito Pugliese believes that there is an easy fix. He believes a simple muffler will do the trick. NASCAR has used mufflers, particularly at the Chicago Street Race and the Clash at the LA Coliseum.

No, The Cars Are Not Too Loud

Some fans are outright okay with the noise. Stock cars are loud, and they always have been. Chad Frankenfield believes that the cars are just fine, and he accompanied that thought with a video from Daytona.

Colby believes the cars are just as fine as they are and should be left alone. The sound is just fine, according to him.

Josh Sottong notes that he does wear ear protection at some races. He is okay with taking the risk of hearing issues down the road.

Landon is a fan of the loud noise of Cup Series cars.

Many fans who are against NASCAR quieting the cars down point to other options that fans have. If the noise is too loud, wear some ear protection.

Fans have multiple options for this. They can wear small, foam earplugs that can be found at a typical supermarket or even full ear muffs that block out the noise. A radio scanner with ear muffs often works as well.

Scott C. Ford Jr believes that as long as fans can use hearing protection, then why would NASCAR quiet the cars down? It’s up to the fans to decide what they want to do in his eyes.

CarolinaCane also agrees that fans who don’t like the noise should wear ear protection. He views the noise of the cars as part of the experience and simply part of watching racing.

RussellParker says he’s never seen a place at a race where fans can get ear protection. He believes NASCAR should do a better job of offering it or at least marketing that it’s there.

What do you think about all this? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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