When NASCAR, the U.S. auto racing federation, announced last year that all drivers would be required to earn a Ph.D. by 2014, in addition to the physical exam requirements, the news made little fanfare.
The recent clarification that the degree must be in Engineering or a physical science has created outrage among the drivers. A number of drivers were upset that mathematics was not considered an acceptable discipline for an advanced degree.
NASCAR driver Horace "Sketter" Watkins was asked about this on Friday. "This is bullshit, my daddy was mathematician and my granddaddy was a mathematician, it don't make sense that I gotta get my degree in somin like physics or mechanical engineering".
NASCAR president Buford Cunningham offered little encouragement yesterday, "we have made our decision, the drivers know what they need and 2014 is the deadline". The American Mathematical society had no official comment on the matter but many of its members are grumbling at the perceived offense.
Last week the Formula One circuit spokesperson Gavin Chadwick was asked to comment on the NSACAR initiative. "We all thought those NASCAR chaps were a bit elitist before all this, now we are really convinced." Chadwick further added that Formula One has no plans to change its requirements for drivers, "we feel that the current requirement of a master's degree in European Art is more than adequate for F1".