As I sit here watching quals at Talladega today, I’m cruising the normal NASCAR threads on the internet and I’ve come to a realization that there are about 10 negative comments about the sport to every 3 positive ones. I ask myself… “who is REALLY ‘ruining the sport?’” I see so many comments from people saying things like “Brian France is running NASCAR into the ground,” “Boring racing, just cars going around in circles,” “just look at all of the empty seats,” “NASCAR is giving away championships.” “Toyota bought NASCAR,” “so and so is cheating because they won,” and my two personal favorites “I miss the ‘good old days,’” and “I AM LEAVING NASCAR FOREVER!!!” Two quick notes… #1 those empty seats are a result of a growing pain NASCAR experienced between 1998 and 2008 when it was the latest fans, we had a stronger economy, and tracks ADDED thousands of seats to accommodate the influx of new fans. The economy crashed, a percentage of those fans went on to the next new fad, and the means to view NASCAR via cable, dish, streaming, and saturation of internet sites and social media exploded. Right now ticket sales are down in all major sporting events, likely this stagnant economy. With NASCAR even more so because a trip to the race usually involves hotel and meal expenses not as common in sports where the fans can go a few miles and see their team play in their own city. #2 Those “good old days?” They were historical and nostalgic, but the competition wasn’t anywhere near as close as it is today. In the Petty era, there were about three or four teams at most who had a chance at winning every week. In the Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Senior era, there may have been five to seven at best, excluding plate races and road courses. Hell, there were even races when a driver led every lap, or a driver lapped the field. Those my fellow fans are facts. Facts that can be checked as the stats are available if one chooses to look for them. Right now in our sport, there are about sixteen to twenty teams that have a shot at getting a win on any track. So… my opinion? NASCAR fans are the ones ruining the sport. A good majority of the comments and posts on social network and other forums are filled with fans bitching about this great sport 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sour grape fans who are pissed off when their driver doesn’t win, fans who are bored and count empty seats instead of watching the race, trolls who like to sit around and just stir up drama, beer fueled tirades that make absolutely zero sense, people who can’t except changes in a sport driven by technology and mechanical engineering, and lastly that strange, but of so common creature who just isn’t happy unless they can find something to be happy about (THAT is crazy). How are we supposed to grow as a sport, entice new fans, and increase viewership if all we can do is sit on the social networks and piss, bitch, moan and complain about the sport? That is how NASCAR “fans” are “ruining the sport.” Just the tired musings of an old dirt cowboy who smells like apple wood smoke. Y’all enjoy the race… I always do.
Onward… Forward… Upward
I started watching NASCAR in 2008 (a late bloomer!) Prior to NASCAR, the only sport I ever loved was thoroughbred racing. That ended when I moved from Calif. to Indiana. There were no tracks, no newspaper coverage, no access to the Racing Form or thoroughbred magazines. My interest died from lack of access. Then I found NASCAR and fell in love. But I remember how shocked (and naive) I was at that time that NASCAR fans were so negative and down on their own sport compared to horse racing fans.
We had our icons in horseracing too and we loved them. Man O' War and Secretariat and Affirmed were our legends like Dale Earnhardt et al was yours but we didn't stamp our feet and say no one else could compare and the sport had died with them. We were thrilled to see the next new great champion come along. We didn't accuse teams or stables of cheating (although there is probably the average amount of cheating in horse racing as any other sport). We didn't boo the horses we didn't like.
My thought then, as it is now, was: why do they watch if they don't seem to enjoy or appreciate it?
thx, mark and vicki,,,your continued discussions and common sense is so refreshing,,,i agree completely,,a positive outlook is so much better than a negative one,,,,