Thank you for your article on the booming interest in NASCAR ( NASCAR Nation, July 1). After I started following NASCAR in 1996, I found I did not miss talk of collective bargaining agreements, lockouts and strikes, inflated egos, trade demands, salary caps, athlete arrests and drug use. NASCAR is about real people. The drivers are great role models, and their accessibility to the fans is unmatched in any sport. Can you imagine being able to listen to Shaq's thoughts during a game the way fans can tune into their favorite drivers, via radio scanners, during a race?
DEE DEE MULLENIX
I must congratulate Jeff MacGregor for achieving an absolute pinnacle of literary expression: " NASCAR is at once death-defying and prosaic."
WILLIAM H. NORDSTROM JR.
NASCAR may yet replace baseball as America's national pastime, but I wonder if this is necessarily a good thing. In your picture of two bikini-topped fans, I can make out at least five Confederate flags in the background. Somehow I doubt that those flags are being flown only to commemorate the tradition of gentility and charm that the South is known for. How many drivers in NASCAR are nonwhite? NASCAR races are fun to watch, and the drivers are certainly very skilled, but until the sport acknowledges its lack of diversity, I don't think NASCAR deserves all the fawning adulation that it gets.
MARK JEANFREAU, New Orleans
Reading your article about NASCAR's popularity I am reminded of something my grandfather said to me: " NASCAR is for people who aren't sophisticated enough to appreciate the WWF."
MICHAEL BERQUIST, Pittsburgh
Has Jeff MacGregor been watching the same races I have? " Dale Earnhardt Jr. Leads NASCAR Nation." Yeah, leading all the way from 14th place in the Winston Cup standings and finishing 26th or worse in seven out of the first 13 races. Thanks for the laugh.
MIKE HECKENDORN, Goose Creek, S.C.
As I read through Steve Rushin's AIR AND SPACE (July 1), I was brought into the world and personal life of President Bush as never before. This is what writing is all about. Thank you Mr. Rushin for giving me the opportunity to relate to and connect with the leader of our country, even if only for a brief moment.
TERRY JUDE, Louisa, Ky.
Please spare us the puff pieces on Mr. Bush. He has an entire staff—financed with taxpayer dollars—dedicated to keeping us informed about what a sensitive American he is. What good is being physically fit when Bush is so intent on trashing the Clean Air and Clean Water acts? Maybe I'll just take my snowmobile to the ANWR and watch the oil rigs in action. Leave the pandering to the professionals, Mr. Rushin, and stick to sports.
GUSTAV P. RECH, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
George W. Bush was born into every imaginable privilege, including the presidency. Does Rushin expect me to pity Bush because his job has temporarily interrupted his life of leisure? Sorry, Steve, all Americans should have such problems.
JEFFREY H. KAPLAN, St. Charles, Ill.
You old guys can ogle Anna Kournikova all you want. This 21-year-old male will take a real athlete like Sue Bird (The Sky's the Limit, July 1). Kournikova has decent legs, but to me, all the athletic moves, last-second shots, leadership ability and championships make Sue Bird way sexier.
TY DILTS, Council Bluffs, Iowa
I've been a fan of Bird since she stepped onto the court at UConn four years ago, and I've been amazed at how her personality has never changed and her incredible smile has never left her face. She truly is the face of women's team sports, and I can think of many male athletes who could learn something from her about acting like a role model.
AMANDA BOWES, Waterford, Conn.