No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to get into Nascar this season. I used to be the guy that would watch every single race from green flag to checkers. I used to check a couple of Nascar related websites at least twice a day. I used to watch most Nascar related shows on TV. I read every Nascar related article in the paper and could recite things almost verbatim. I used to see a Nascar related driver sticker on several vehichles supporting the number of their favorite driver. Now, unless it's an 88 sticker, I rarely see anything Nascar related on any vehicle. I just don't seem to really care these days, and that hurts me to say it, but it's the truth.
I think I may be like a lot of other fans. I have sat and wondered why I think the way I do and have come up with some things.
First, I think Nascar officials in the sitting in a cushy office at their headquarters in Daytona Beach (hey Brian France, are you listening?) have forgotten about the fans. From later start times for races a few years ago to taking some great tracks off the circuit for tracks that hold more seats (and potentially more fans) in larger tv markets. Forget about racing twice a year at Darlington. Forget about even racing at Rockingham. Hello Kansas, Chicago, and California. While Darlington has seemed to have done better in the terms of ticket sales for only having one weekend, it just shows that France's Fanatics have sold their soul to the devil for more money in their back pockets. Have they given track promoters a break in their sanctioning fees? Nope. Have the track promoters given fans a break in ticket prices? Some have only after a continued drop in ticket sales. Other tracks still insist on fans paying a fee for the right to buy tickets. This practice throughout the sports world is ludacris.
Once Nascar went to the later start times, they began to see a drop in tv ratings. Fans who used to race home from church to catch the National Anthem and green flag drop had to wait til late afternoon to do the same. To me, it seemed like the entire day just dragged on when you watched the end of the race at 7 pm est. Those fans who got bored waiting for the start of the race, found other things to do in that time period. When Nascar decided to come back to a uniform start time on the east coast, it hasn't brought those once hard core fans back in the fold like it was hoped for. Does Nascar really care? Probably so only because it affects their bottom line and potential new sponsors in the sport. After a decline in tv ratings, they seem to be inching back up. Maybe it's because the newer fans to the sport that can't afford to come to the track, sit at home watching the races. Maybe it is because of an earlier start time.
Let's move on to that car design. Used to, you could easily tell the difference between a Chevy Lumina or Monte Carlo, a Ford Taurus or Dodge Intrepid. Nowadays, without the decals of the make or even the car number, you have no clue to what it is. Could this be part of the problem with car sales? Quite possibly. The old saying of "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" meant something. Now the car dealers have no clue to what that means.
Let's face it...with the internet, Nascar coverage can be found any time of the day from pretty much anywhere you can get a phone signal. That leads me to me too many Nascar TV shows on the tube. We are overrun with information. Even with a dvr, why catch a 30 or 60 minute show when I can just make a couple of clicks on the computer and get the info I want in five minutes.
Which leads me to the number of races. We have racing starting in mid February and lasting to mid November. 36 points races is too many. We can easily eliminate at least four dates off the calender and still get enough racing in for the fan. Heck, I would be good dropping the number of points races to an even 30. The drivers and crews will get an extra weekend or two off during the season. Each race will mean more in the championship which could easily lead to more hard, competitive racing. Heck, let's even reduce the length of the races some. Shorter races mean the drivers will drive harder to get to the front and stay there. The pit crews will have fewer stops and emphasis will be more on them to be at the top of their game.
If some of the changes I talked about would be implemented, I think I would be more inclined to becoming the fan i once was. Nascar big shots have said "they listen to the fans." Well Nascar are you listening to me and some of my friends? I doubt it but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt to see if you actually do.