NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France was a guest on MSNBC on Thursday to talk about the sport's green initiatives in advance of Earth Day.
France was asked several questions about NASCAR's environmental push by anchor Thomas Roberts, who apparently thinks race cars are actually fighter jets.
"The obvious draw for NASCAR is the speed," Roberts said to France. "Cars going up to about 500 mph, right?"
France quickly replied, "Right," which I'm guessing was a reflex to the surprising question.
I mean, what was he supposed to say? "Actually, Thomas, our cars are 300 mph slower than that." I don't think so. In a national media interview like that, France probably just wanted to go on, hit his talking points and make a good impression.
Roberts, though, certainly didn't do his homework.
No race car has ever traveled even close to 500 mph. NASCAR stock cars go just over 200 mph, IndyCars go about 230 mph and NHRA top fuel dragsters travel about 330 mph before reaching their 1000-foot race limit.
The all-time land speed record for a vehicle with a piston-powered engine is 415 mph and the wheel-driven vehicle record is a little higher, at 458 mph. Andy Green went 763 mph in the ThrustSSC, but that was basically a rocket ship on the ground.
Either way, you're not going to see NASCAR racing at 500 mph anytime soon. Though as Performance Racing Network play-by-play man Doug Rice noted:
hey on the bright side 500mph speeds would really shorten the races!— Doug Rice (@Riceman61) April 19, 2012
If NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars really did travel that fast, then Roberts would have been right about one thing.
As he told France: "That is going to burn a lot of fuel, going that fast."