June 23, 2020
Is It Time to Stick A Fork In NASCAR ???
This commentary was posted several hours BEFORE the latest news about “the Noose”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …
THE #1 Most Popular Race each season = “The Night Race @ Bristol”.
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 ???
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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