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NASCAR 101: What Is This Sport And How Do I Understand It?

As I previously explained, I'm not a NASCAR fan -- but I'm going to try to be. SB Nation's resident NASCAR expert, Jeff Gluck, is teaching me "NASCAR 101" so I can better understand what NASCAR is and how to enjoy it.

The first installment in our series is pretty simple: What is the first step to understanding NASCAR? 

Take it away, Mr. Gluck....

"For those of you who aren't into NASCAR yet - or don't ever see yourselves getting there - that's alright. I've been there, and things can change. Speaking from experience, it is very possible to add NASCAR to your list of favorite sports without abandoning football, baseball, basketball or hockey.

I know what you're thinking: "Why would I want to watch cars driving around in circles for three hours?" I once shared that same thought, but now that I "get" NASCAR, the whole thing makes a lot of sense.

Basically, it's like this: A high-speed, drama-filled soap opera on wheels. In some ways, it's like pro wrestling in a legit form.

When you watch other sports, all of the big names are spread out among various teams. NASCAR is like an all-star game every week, because all of the drivers participate in every Sprint Cup Series race (Sprint Cup is like the major leagues).

So when you flip on a Cup race - or go to one - you're guaranteed to see all of the star drivers in one place. And because they're all together each week, the storylines build from one race and carry over to the next.

Remember when Todd Haley wouldn't shake Josh McDaniels' hand after the first Chiefs-Broncos game last season? Well, everyone had to wait until the next Kansas City/Denver game to get some resolution.

In NASCAR, any rivalries or bad blood or drama are dealt with in the next "episode," so to speak. So there's usually something to follow.

I always say NASCAR is not about the cars, it's about the people in the cars. Each driver has their own set of fans based largely on their personality. If you pick a driver and follow him each week, it's much easier to get into the sport.

Oh, and the actual racing can be pretty exciting, too. TV broadcasts and SportsCenter highlights just do not even begin to do these events justice.

The speed of the cars is much more impressive than you'd think, and coupled with the ear-splitting sound, the smell of the burning tires and the atmosphere at these giant-sized racetracks, it's quite an experience.

When you see a huge crash or an awesome finish, it gets the adrenaline going just like a walk-off home run or a pick six in football.

So although NASCAR might not appeal to you if you haven't grown up with it, it's actually quite easy to get into if you give it a chance."