Today I read a tweet from Hermie Sadler where he asked “Besides ‘it ain’t like it used to be’ what is wrong with stage racing” to which John Roberts replied “Hermie, if you don’t like stage racing you probably don’t like ice cream, pizza, and puppies. “ And this got me thinking……..
NASCAR has been toying with all sorts of stuff over the past 15 years trying this trying that, and few have worked. They changed the points system, changed the cars, jacked with the format, changed the way penalties are issued and classified, for some, these were wonderful changes, for others it was a bandaid on a gushing wound.
How each fan takes it varies, greatly, I know lots of fans who have watched the sport for decades who despise the changed, saying it has destroyed the integrity of the sport, taking away the very things that made the sport so popular. But some see it as changes that were needed to keep the sport going, things that were needed to attract new fans.
Lets look at a few things that have happened since lots of these changes have taken place,
- attendance dropped, and in response to this NASCAR removed seats at many of the tracks. Stating they didn’t want the TV camera’s to show so many empty seats. Well here is a novel idea, how about giving those seats away? to say, Veterans, or children charities, or first responders? it would fill the seats, it would be a HUGE PR move for NASCAR and it would help attract new fans.
- As a result of sagging attendance and lower TV ratings NASCAR decided to make all these changes to the car’s to make the racing “closer” all that done was create the “Aero effect” and causing problems for drivers trying to race hard.
- points system. they created the “Chase” trying to make it like stick and ball sports with a play off system, and they have tweaked it numerous times going more and more toward a Tourney type system. An what has that done? …. nothing.
- Format changes… went from racing 500 miles or laps which ever the case may be, to “Segments” or as I like to call them, “Two heats and a Feature” supposedly to make the drivers race harder, and has it? depends who you ask. Long time fans think it is stupid, newer fans seem to like it, but only because they have never seen “real” racing, like in the old days.
All these things NASCAR has put into place to stimulate attendance and bring racing back to the forefront, and it has had the opposite effect.
I mean look at the Charter system, and how NASCAR has stopped releasing the information like purse amounts, and attendance. it’s like NASCAR is saying that if we hide the dwindling numbers, the fans will think everything is all peaches and cream…… nothing could be farther from the truth.
If you look at the numbers both attendance ( all you got to do is look at the grandstands at races during the race) and the TV ratings numbers have continued on a downward trend. But they refuse to admit there is problems, problems with leadership, they now have the drivers making the rules, and that’s like letting the inmates run the crazy house.
So here is something for NASCAR to consider, go back to your roots!
- give some things away like seats, to Vetrans, and children’s charities.
- Go back to stock sheet metal on the cars and get away from the Aero garbage,
- trash the current points system, and go back to how it used to be stop giving bonus points for every little thing, it’s not a participation trophy.
- Try actually walking down in the stands and asking what fans want. not any of these slanted polls and survey’s
- Go find some of the core groups’ of fans who have supported NASCAR for years and ask them what it would take to get them to come back.
- Stop with the Gag orders of fining drivers for making comments or expressing their thoughts on what is wrong with NASCAR.
- Get rid of the brass at the top, bring in new blood. someone who actually cares about racing and not the money it puts in their pocket.
- go talk to the pioneers of the sport and ask their advice on how to improve thing.
- stop acting like everything is A Okay, when it isn’t.
- Find a way to get kids and the young people involved back in the sport, for they are the future of the sport,
Now is this the end all fix all solution to fixing what is wrong? No and I know it isn’t, BUT it is a starting point that needs to be addressed. or else in a few years we will be talking about NASCAR in the past tense.
And most of all, stop insulting the core group of fans who have supported NASCAR for decades, but insulting them if they don’t agree with the direction that the sport they have loved for years, is going. How about listening to them, and finding common ground where the issues can be fixed and save the sport, by thinking outside the box.