“Baseball – a slow, serene game played with a wooden bat, a cloth ball, and cowhide mitts on a broad, grassy field – surged in popularity just when the industrial revolution was taking hold, leaving masses of urban workers and shopkeepers yearning for the pastoral peace and quiet of the fabled agricultural age. They could relive this for a day by attending a baseball game. By extension, no wonder stock-car racing – a fast, furious sport contended on a paved roadway with snarling, smelly machines operated by hand – is surging in popularity at the very time the computerized information revolution is transforming our society from top to bottom.” –Social Science at 190 MPH on NASCAR’s Biggest SuperspeedwaysFirst Monday)
The above speculation is from an article by David Ronfelt, who credits “long-time race promoter and track owner H. A. ‘Humpy’ Wheeler” as quoted in Scott Huler’s A Little Bit Sideways: One Week Inside a NASCAR Winston Cup Race Team. This line of reasoning also accounts for the popularity of BattleBots.