@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

March Meh?

Posted March 14, 2011 4:39 p.m. EDT
Updated March 15, 2011 8:40 a.m. EDT

Heads up, hoops fans. State legislators want to name an official state sport – one that has nothing to do with brackets or boards or shades of blue. 

Senate Bill 322 and its companion House Bill 333 would name stock car racing (as in NASCAR) NC's official state sport   

From the measure:

"Whereas, stock car racing has played a significant role in the history, heritage, and culture of North Carolina; and

"Whereas, stock car racing leads the way in the motorsports industry in North Carolina; and...

(snip)

"Whereas, North Carolina is the home of "The King," Richard Petty, stock car racing legend Junior Johnson, dubbed "The Last American Hero" by writer Tom Wolfe, and seven‑time champion, the late Dale Earnhardt..."

You can read the whole thing here.

State lawmakers seem drawn to these symbolic rivalries. They've been fighting for years over whether vinegar or tomato barbecue should carry the official state sanction. There was the official "red berry" versus "blue berry" skirmish. And who could forget the battle between the "snot otter" and the bullfrog for the title of official state amphibian?  

But filing this bill during the NCAA playoffs? That's taking it to a whole new level.  

Then again, racing is the family business of one of the Senate sponsors, Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt. More here. 

UPDATE:  Another sponsor, Sen. Tom Apodaca, says the bill is the project of a 4th-grade class. He says lawmakers are hoping to bring the class to Raleigh for a real-life civics lesson. 

"But after watching Duke play this weekend,"  Apodaca joked, "I'm considering running a committee substitute to make Blue Devil basketball the state sport.  I don't think I have the votes, though."