Is it Time to … Stick a Fork in NASCAR ??

BobLee
June23/ 2020

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June 23, 2020

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Is It Time to Stick A Fork In NASCAR ???

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This commentary was posted several hours BEFORE the latest news about “the Noose”

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Full Disclosure: From the mid 1990s until the early 2000’s I had a VIP Full Access Pass to any NASCAR event in America.  I attended 6-8 major races per year.  I could go everywhere from Pit Row to the VVIP suites … from Start/Finish Line to Victory Circle.  I had access usually reserved for folks named “France” or “Smith (Bruton)” or “Humpy”.

Raise your hand if you know what “The Hat Dance” is in NASCAR? … or if you know who “Chocolate” Meyers is/was?

It was what I refer to as NASCAR’s Major Sport Era.  I was at the inaugural races at Texas… at Fontana (LA) … and at Las Vegas.  Some of the Good Ol’ Boys (GOBs) were still around – Petty, Wallace, The LaBontes, Waldrop, and, of course, The Intimidator / “Dale Sr”.  The Next Generation was arriving led by Jeff Gordon and his Rainbow Warriors.

NASCAR

I don’t recall the exact year but I recall the place … The Humpy Tower at Lowes / Charlotte  MotorSpeedway about half-way thru the October Race.  I had that “one Pringle too many” … and did not want another one.  All the cars … all the noise … all the hassle of the crowds … ENOUGH!

Like Elvis,  BobLee “left the building” and left NASCAR. … Lots of OMG memories but I haven’t missed it.

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How NASCAR Became A 2nd Tier Spectator Sport in America.  Relegated to below the fold with LPGA and Champions (Senior) PGA Tour.

Those theories are like “favorite barbecue joints”.  Everyone is a self-annointed Expert On The Subject. Who wants to argue with Experts?

Incidentally… the 4th annual Smartest Guy/Gal on Facebook/Twitter awards were given out last week.  For the 4th year in a row … I finished all alone in Second Place.   For the 4th year in a row – EVERYONE ELSE was tied for 1st.  Sigh… but the plaque simply says 2nd Place … which is pretty cool.

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NASCAR is now a 2nd Tier Spectator Sport in America.   It had become such long before “Bubba” Wallace was anointed The Colin Kaepernick of NASCAR.   Will Brett Favre be declaring “Bubba” Wallace – Greater Than Danica Patrick. ?

HOLY Kyle Rote Jr – Batman.  NASCAR is now well behind SOCCER in overall American sports media “give a damn”.  …. Behind Freakin’ SOCCER.   If Freakin’ Soccer can replace NASCAR in America’s Heart & Soul … is Life / Liberty / Pursuit of Happiness next to fall ???

Don’t believe me?  Approach a BLM / Antifa Urban Terrorist and ask him/her “What does NASCAR stand for?”  They will yell “F*** You” which is what they would likely say to anything you ask them.

NASCAR stands for National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing.

NASCAR’s decent into the obscurity of “and in other sports news…” can be attributed to – 1 – a combination of The Passing of the Legendary GOBs being replaced by faceless fellows named Matt and Kevin and … … thats all I can think of.  There is that guy who was Danica’s boyfriend before Aaron Rogers … “Something Jr.” ???

– 2 – a bold business-direction decision that made sense when it was implemented … but will end up on the Oops Trash Heap with New Coke and The Edsel.

In the 1990s NASCAR decided its future was cookie-cutter 1.5 mile SuperSpeedways in new major metro markets.  To fit these new markets into a NASCAR calendar meant forsaking smaller regional tracks – North Wilkesboro and Rockingham specifically.

Die-hard NASCAR fans in The Carolinas still had easy access to Two annual events in Charlotte and Darlington and Martinsville so NASCAR was NOT deserting them.  But NASCAR Was forsaking the excitement of short track racing for the BORING four hours of SuperSpeedway racing.

NASCAR Bristol

BUT … a 1.5 mile oval can accommodate many more seats … much more sponsor signage … many more revenue $$$$$.

NASCAR fans like all sports fans don’t agree on very much.  With One Exception …

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THE #1 Most Popular Race each season = “The Night Race @ Bristol”.

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During my NASCAR days… a ticket for that race was on a short list of Tough Tickets with The Masters.  They were “inherited” in wills.

162,000 seats in a steeply elevated oval grandstand bowl in a Blue Ridge Mountain valley … “Thunder Valley”.  Three hours of swapping paint on high curves … a dozen crashes and caution flags … and a final 2-3 laps of all-out pedal to the metal “Racin’ …. once described as…

“like flying fighter jets inside a gymnasium”.

162,000 emotionally-drained fans would leave Bristol saying … “Why can’t NASCAR build “more Bristols”?  … as NASCAR built more 1.5 mile boring cookie cutter SuperSpeedways … sigh.

Those 1.5 Cookie Cutter Speedways now look like Football stadiums that host Whozit Bowls … large blocks of seats are canvassed off.  In many cases grandstands have actually been torn down.

An oft-over-looked element in NASCAR’s descent to 2nd Tier is simply popularity for American consumers’ discretionary income is a very competitive cutthroat business.

He/She who forsees / reacts to “trends” before their competitors do … wins the battle for market share.   NASCAR gambled on the metro markets move … and lost.

IMO… the Future of auto-racing whether as NASCAR or some other entity could be a return to local quarter-mile Saturday night racing… like minor-league baseball.  “Local boys” swapping paint with bitter rivals from nearby towns as well as “big names” who might drop in.  With the occasional Special Race at a regional NASCAR Speedway ???  But what do I know ???

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Regarding NASCAR’s current Brouhaha with Extreme Woke-ness / Racism / BLM / Nooses / Yadda Yadda / Blah Blah.

Unlike other major sports… NASCAR is essentially “owned / controlled” by The France Family.  For several decades Bill France and Charlotte’s Bruton Smith engaged in never-ending legal battles over all sorts of major and minor issues that boiled down to “who has the largest male genitalia”.

Its 2020 … both the France and Smith Families are into their 2nd generations … as with Rupert Murdoch / FoxNews and numerous other business dynasties … once the “kids” are calling the shots … nothing is safe.  The France Kids are very very “Woke”.  As are Murdoch’s “kids”.

This current OMG The Confederate Flag … The Noose … Yadda Yadda will play itself out in a few weeks.  The SJW Woke drive-by media will “drive-on-by” to attack another business entity.   More predictable than Capistrano’s swallows.

NASCAR’s fan base – already in steep decline – will just decline faster.  NASCAR calling them “Jackasses” was an “interesting strategy”.

The Wokey Lib/Dems SJWs WILL NOT become NASCAR fans any more than they will become Chick-fil-A customers.

In Every case where a major retail brand grabs its ankles to PC Woke-ness … it suffers irreparable customer attrition that is never replaced.  Lib/Dems Do NOT Build … They Tear Down and Censor.

Marketing / PR gurus should warn their clients DO NOT Knee-Jerk to PC / Woke Terrorists.  Maybe they do … but the beleaguered clients never listen.

In the case of NASCAR … its surrender to Wokey PC Terrorists only hastens its inevitable decline into a 3rd Tier sport … then “poof”.  It’ll be gone.

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For More BobLeeSays … Click Here.

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Over On SAIDWHAT... An Awesome Column by Jason Whitlock

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iratepyrate
iratepyrate
1 month ago

BREAKING NEWS from (insert your hated fake news outlet here) … Governor Roy Cooper has just signed an executive order changing the name of the Neuse River!!! Ole Roy says it sounds way too much like “noose” and we woke folks in North Carolina can’t be a party to that. Coop hasn’t released the new name of the river yet. However sources say he’s waiting for the Always Right and Holy reverend Willie Barber to waddle up to the executive mansion and whisper it his in ear! (By the way folks, this is a joke. Unless of course something like… Read more »

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Been to one race, mid 90’s, Richmond 400. Got to see the late, great, Davey Allison win that day. Can’t say that Nascar has ever been very entertaining to me, but Bob is 100% accurate that its something everyone needs to see in person. I think that’s part of the issue. The Major Metro area fans quickly fell out of love with it. Too loud, too long, too damn hot most of the time. . Hockey made a similar mistake leaving the blue collar Canada and Northern US cities for places like Florida and Cali. At least Hockey will be… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Rob
Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

Sounds like a lot of Saturdays at Carter Finley lately, the alumni would just as soon drink in the parking lot and talk about HGTV projects. The young’uns are inside just long enough to selfie and post it on social media.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

Changing quickly, Sammy Howell is quickly becoming the Philip Rivers of Chapel Hill. Simply put, offense fills seats. Doeren has fielded some pretty good teams, but nothing that puts sizzle on the steak. Doesn’t look to be changing either. Much as it pains me to say it, Mack is eating his lunch.

Radio_Smuggles
Radio_Smuggles
1 month ago

NASCAR sounds like it asked a marketing firm to analyze its fanbase and received bad news. Aging fans are leaving/dying at a fast clip and the number of younger people are flat or declining would be my guess. So where to find untapped resources? I think that’s pretty clear.

Down East Heel
Down East Heel
1 month ago

Aside from NASCAR turning their back on their traditional tracks over the last 10-15 years, over recent years I’ve noticed another sign of NASCAR’s decline. In this one-time hotbed of NASCAR fans (Greenville-Kinston “metroplex”), there are no radio stations within our reception carrying NASCAR. Also, it’s been months since I’ve heard anyone talk about racing.
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Unrelated, but keep your ear to the ground on another of your recent blog posts. Rumors abound.

Down East Heel
Down East Heel
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

I promised I wouldn’t say a word about King’s BBQ. 🤣

Last edited 1 month ago by Down East Heel
David
David
1 month ago

Bob Lee: . There are “hints, allegations, and things best left unsaid” circulating in the media ( FOX ) that NASCAR was actually backed into a corner by Bubba Wallace. . Allegedly, NASCAR called in the FBI in order to insulate themselves from potential blow back. The report said that Bubba did not accept NASCAR’s retort that it was merely a garage door pull-down that has been there for sometime. . There was an unconfirmed insinuation that Bubba’s new “sponsor” may be pushing the issue. . Beware…….After 16 years, I was blacklisted from PackPride for reporting this and referring to… Read more »

former96heel
former96heel
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

Wife and I are playing the guessing game of ‘what’s next?’ Also a time line guessing game of how quickly Covid disappears from the radar after the election. We live in a time of such rampant misinformation and outright lies, that we are being told wearing a porous cotton rag, of any quality, with a dryer sheet inside, is the difference in pandemic, and normal living. Words such as surge and spike are used to model our thoughts without any realistic analysis behind the statistics. THEY have most people cowering under worry and fear from multiple angles. I am no… Read more »

Queen City
Queen City
1 month ago

What would be the parameters involved in going back to Rockingham and North Wilkesboro? I’m sure it would cost a ton of $$$$ to bring them up to standards but maybe it’s not out of reach while we are in the no fans era and they would just need a track and infield upgrade. . I would love to see NASCAR make a comeback but your spot on with the 1.5 mile tracks. The cars are too spread out and it is boring to watch. Also, I am personally no longer attached to cars like I was in my teens… Read more »

Wes in Richmond
Wes in Richmond
1 month ago

Ha…BL what’s this information about stock car racing? I always thought NASCAR stood for “Non Athletic Sports Centered Around Rednecks.” You learn something new every day!

rowdybluetarheeler
rowdybluetarheeler
1 month ago

this is merely another nail in the coffin that was filled when Dale died @ Daytona nearly 20 years ago…the hypersensitive amongst us are gleeful. crazy, ain’t it? the garage door rope loop knot aka “the noose” was in place for months with nobody paying any attention. 15 FBI agents to solve this hate crime? really?

goose
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

Rumor is private equity firms have been in discussion with the France family, especially after the Oxycontin driving issue with Mr France in of all places, The Hamptons. Very surprised Nascrap tried to burn it down before selling the junk.
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And Nascrap died the day Sr passed away. Chocolate is a legend. And Charlotte will never see homegrown promoters like Bruton, Humpy, or Jim Crockett ever again. Instead we get stuck with the insufferable Mr Tepper and MJ.

goose
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

George was a lower class Jim Bakker, without the smarts. Almost forgot to add Mr BET, Bob Johnson to the list. Everyone of them a grifter in their own way.

goose
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

Bob is from DC area I think. Mr Jerry Richardson has already been cancelled, into the dustbin of history, including his self-glorifying statute that was subsidized by the taxpayers when we gave him 100 milly to not leave for Rock Hill or Hickory or Kings Mtn.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

Been saying that for nearly 20 years, wannabe ATL indeed!

Leroy Rogers
Leroy Rogers
1 month ago

Wow, well said! NASCAR kicked their customer base to the curb in pursuit of a more (how shall I say?) urban, sophisticated, culturally diverse demographic that unfortunately has about as much interest in automobile racing as a redneck like me has in the Iditarod.
Now if they had gone 100% Prius…

Rix Evans
Rix Evans
1 month ago

H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler has an excellent video on the decline of Nascar (yes, its done, stick a fork in it): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwCByvLkSK0

OldWuf Vet
OldWuf Vet
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

There’s also an interview with Bruton Smith where he talks about the early days. Bruton and Humpy hustled. They knew their market. Both had nothing when they started. Street smarts. They don’t teach their brand of business development in MBA programs

Former96heel
Former96heel
1 month ago

They still actually race cars? I thought after going to mini races as a trick, they decided to save everyone gas and play a connected video game this year. The new green Nascar
Say hello to WNBA in sports the USA today hypes, but nobody knows exists. Who is going to be the first Asian tranny racer? It’ll open up that Demo they’ve failed to crack the first 70 years of existence.

OldWuf Vet
OldWuf Vet
1 month ago

Agree with your analysis of the downhill slide of NASCAR. My first race was the 1976 Southern 500 at Darlington with the BS troop.(not counting Bowman Gray). Spent a World 600 on top of a converted school bus and farm truck with scaffolding next to the Unocal 76 sign.(Paid $20 to walk in) I count a major owner, multiple drivers, crew chiefs, engineers, crew members and radio commentators as past and current clients and neighbors. I’ve been in church with NASCAR’S most famous gas man and ol’DW’s crew chief from his JJ days. The 80’s and 90’s were heady times.… Read more »

Jay Light
1 month ago
Reply to  OldWuf Vet

Amen, you are right on point. Rockingham, North Wilkesboro, et.al turned many against NASCAR including myself. Sponsorship is helping pushing the fork in, sick of drivers saying “yes the Tampax Morning Glory Goodyear Sunoco car ran great today”. I miss the Fireball Roberts, Fred Lorenzen, David Pearson, Curtis Turner, and yes even Wendell Scott.

DM Carpenter
DM Carpenter
1 month ago

A few unrelated thoughts: When I saw a picture of the “noose”, my brain refused to accept that this pull loop brought in 15 FBI agents?!? Jesus wept. . Last night, I watched the 88 AS game on FSS. Tonight is 92 AS game. Seeing how much bigger McGwire got in 4 years is stunning. Tonight, watching Bobby Cox pull Glavine, and replace him with a Cub, named Maddox, has been fun. My detailed memory does not extend to sports, so I am enjoying these rebroadcasts. . Your analysis of the death of NASCAR is in the park. As the… Read more »

DM Carpenter
DM Carpenter
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

Brian is 3d gen, following Bill Sr and Jr. Yes, the 3d gen is the usual “where dynasties die” slot. Current CEO, Jim, is 2d Gen, but his tenure has just made the PC Kamikaze dive a bit more steep.

NCSU68Grad
NCSU68Grad
1 month ago

https://www.wralsportsfan.com/no-charges-in-nascar-noose-incident-involving-black-driver/19158211/ . PC runs anuck. I taught “Pioneering” to Boy Scouts for over 10 years. I was not quite an “Eagle” as a scout, but I could (and still can) tie knots and many ex sailors are envious. . I really thought that it was an “Inside Job” as we have found out so many times. I thought it was somebody that wanted to “GRANDSTAND NASCAR” and irritate their fan base. In come ways…it was. Stupid PC reaction….and NOW there will be no “WE OVERREACTED” and accused our fan base and our teams of being racist. . You don’t need.a… Read more »

70sTarheel
70sTarheel
1 month ago

The FBI just announced that the “noose” had been there since October. Apparently all the garages have a rope with a loop to facilitate pulling down the door. A two minute investigation by NooseCar would have uncovered that fact. But they WANTED the story to be true. For some unfathomable reason they believed that such an incident would propel their brand to wokeness. I am disgusted with them and the pander bear drivers who virtue-signalled away any respect they may have had. I believe that there is a need for a focused repudiation of a particular sport by a large… Read more »

David
David
1 month ago

I cannot wait to hear your take on the FBI’s finding that “It was actually just a rope that had been there for 8 months before Bubba was assigned the space” mess.

geek49203
1 month ago

1. Used to be media for NASCAR before I said “eff you” and walked away. . 2. They badly stepped into both that Flag thing, as well as the Noose thing. Most NASCAR fans now wonder if the NASCAR leadership looks at cis white hetro males as 1) potential rapists and 2) probably KKK members. This was an unforced error on their part. . 3. Every sports body needs to understand that we, the fans, don’t want politics and moral shaming as part of our sport. Play the damned game, run the effin race. . 4. The real problem w/… Read more »

geek49203
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

Know Chocolate by site, never got to talk to him. Hat dances, of course. . With the big money, NASCAR could hire big talent, and could overcome stupid mistakes. W/O that money, they have maybe 1/3 the payroll (adjusted for inflation) that they once had, and they can’t buy their way outta mistakes. I think that some 500+ promotional folks in some agency in Richmond VA were cut loose one day, for instance. Always look at the names of the sponsors… gone are many of the big names, and what you’re starting to see now are big name teams running… Read more »

unctarheel1984
unctarheel1984
1 month ago

Spot on. I’m a late 50s ENC boy who has never been to a NASCAR race, watched darn few of them on TV, but have kept up with it all my life. You are correct as to the reasons for NASCAR’s decline. And you are right that it will continue.

MC in Goldsboro
MC in Goldsboro
1 month ago

I think NASCAR is ripe for the picking- someone with the right $ and the right connections could start an alternative circuit, and reopen some of those abandoned tracks, like North Wilkesboro and Rockingham. Give some of the up-and-comers an early shot. Welcome all of the aforementioned “jackasses” abandoned by NASCAR. Might just work. (Or maybe not, what do I know?) . Nice analogy of the fighter jets. I have a good friend who is an F-15 pilot. He did a flyover at the Charlotte track, and was rewarded with a ride-along in the State Farm on-track car, driven by… Read more »

NCSU68Grad
NCSU68Grad
1 month ago

Yes, both hands raised. Chocolate was a featured speaker, hired by fellow Catawba fountain and HS classmate, the ELEVATOR lady, Cherie K. Berry. He is a down to earth guy who tested up talking at dinner about stripping off the #3 logo . The idiot with the piece of rope probably did NASCAR a favor and got it closer to being taken off life support . I wonder how many of the HOF’ers in the glitzy, but typically vacant HOF in Charlotte or their ghosts would turn their portraits around? Maybe take a knee when the designated PC Person said,… Read more »

NCSU68Grad
NCSU68Grad
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

Staying isolated. Stress of all this mess and the BLM and the protests are not good for anyone’s mental health.

Am at a MB timeshare. You struck a nerve today and I fell off the wagon.

Jay Light
1 month ago
Reply to  NCSU68Grad

Bout time someone mentioned Wendell Scott….used family as a pit crew, all the other teams helped him, the GOBs can see a good man regardless of color. Wendell was well respected I remember as a teen.

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