I’m not sure how much of its fan base NASCAR is indeed losing BUT….. I have read that the mega-tracks like Daytona and Charlotte are converting large sections of their grandstands to “open areas” in order to make the remaining seats more of a premium. That sends a message that The Golden Era of NASCAR might indeed be “in its rearview mirror”.
We’re not talking “WNBA empty seats” but a lot more than even 2-3 years ago.
Some (many) claim the demise began with the closing of North Wilkesboro…. and Rockingham. I am NOT a subscriber to that theory. NASCAR enjoyed 10+ years of sell-outs and high TV ratings well after “the small town short tracks” gave way to the Big Market Mega-Tracks with The France Family and Bruton’s Gang slugging it out for prime dates.
I think the “why” is a confluence of socio-cultural-techno changes in American society and not any one “here’s why”. Everything, except the MacRib, has a shelf line, an alpha and an omega. George Burns didn’t live forever and neither will Betty White.
My personal experiences with NASCAR was during that period post-North Wilkesboro and into Ft Worth, Los Angeles, Las Vegas et al. I’ve told parts of this story before….
For 8+ years in the late 20th Century and early New Millenium I attended over 30 NASCAR races across America. I enjoyed VIP credentials and access to all the closed doors and High Security areas that a typical NASCAR fan would cut off a thumb to get to. Short of the rest room on Jeff Gordon’s motor home, I could go about anywhere.
My Favorite “Gentlemen, Start …..” celebrity was Goldberg (The Wrestler). He and I became pretty good buds over a 2-3 year period.
I learned Colin Powell is a real jerk. And David Browning does the World’s Best Barney Fife impression.
I recall a couple of very young and very nervous young C&W singers about to sing The National Anthem before Busch Series races in Atlanta and Charlotte. A Kenny Who? and a Brad Who? Thats Chesney and Paisley for you Albert.
Alas, The BobLee Era of NASCAR was pre-Danica. I exited about two years before she arrived. DARN IT!
I’ve got stories galore from pretty much every venue in NASCAR but I’m saving the juicier ones for my memoirs.
Then one October Sunday in Charlotte about ten years ago I ate my last Pringle. Amid another cacophony of crowds and noise and stealth bombers doing fly-overs and fast cars going around an oval…. I decided “I’ve had enough of this.”
I left twenty minutes into that race and have never been back.
Kinda like when I went “cold turkey” on playing golf 15 years ago. I still watch The Majors but have not “waggled” once since I said “I’ve had enough of this”.
Will I ever say that about posting incredibly insightful columns here? I doubt it. This is a “pry my cold dead fingers off the keyboard” thing.
Anyhoo…. NASCAR IS “losing fans” as described in the following article. The reasons are more numerous than stated in the article but all the “whys” add up to empty seats and falling ratings.
The drivers aren’t GOBs any more – “Good Ol’ Boys”. All the GOBs have retired or died. About the only Real GOB left is Dale Jr.
I sorta follow Carl Edwards because we know his momma and step-dad but other than him… they could all be Tampa Bay Rays or San Jose Sharks or Charlotte Hornets for all I know or much care.
You probably have thoughts about this. Lets hear’em.
Humpy Wheeler on What’s Wrong With NASCAR….
NOBODY knows Sports Promotion / NASCAR like Humpy Wheeler. A very SMART man and a very GOOD man….