It has been a summer of violence in the United States and around the world. NASCAR drivers Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski recently talked about what role NASCAR and pro sports in general can play in providing a distraction for fans during troubling times:
Harvick: “You are definitely in a role to try to make people happy. It’s not uncommon to see pictures from mothers, fathers, grandparents, kids of their sisters, brothers, husbands – whatever the situation is – in the casket in your race gear. At that particular point it’s fairly obvious that you need to try to do the best you can to not take for granted what we do and realize exactly how much it means to a lot of people.”
Keselowski: “I think it’s a balancing act. You don’t want to ignore what’s going on. Of course we all want to know what’s going on, and I’m as curious as anyone else, but I also understand that a lot of the attraction that our fans have to this sport and any sport is to help them get out of those moments or get out of that mental space.
Harvick: “This is definitely a distraction for a lot of people to get their minds off of things that have been affected or not affected or worried about something. It’s definitely something that we can play a big role in being positive impacts on a lot of people’s lives. It’s a daily reminder of a situation or somebody has cancer or just died or people in the situation that we just had in Dallas with everybody worried and frightened about the things that are going on in their city.”
Keselowski: “I try to balance being cognizant on my own, but also understanding that in some ways I am an entertainer as a race car driver and a lot of the role that I think I serve in the community with what I do is to help brighten people’s day and make them smile.
Harvick: “All of a sudden for four hours you have something that can get their minds off of things or something that you post on Twitter, whether it’s a picture of something that we did or something of (son) Keelan that makes somebody smile. We have the opportunity to have big impacts on people’s lives. Every day you learn more and more about how much of an impact you have. Sometimes you can get so buried into what you are doing, but we are so fortunate to be sitting here doing what we are doing in this environment. Then you see all the real world things that are happening around you and sometimes it’s easy to forget that you are pretty lucky to be sitting in the position that you are in. So, yeah, you think about it a lot.”
Keselowski: “There’s maybe a fuzzy line, but certainly a balancing act between being conscientious of what’s going on but also conscientious of the position that we have as a sport in society.”