Jeff Gluck's terrific article about Nascar's future (thanks to my friend, Mary Boots Jones, for passing this along).
Jeff Gluck's theory is that there are two kinds of NASCAR fans - those who think everything is going along fine, no worries. And those who are believe desperately that NASCAR is going down hill and needs some serious changes to save itself.
In my typical wimpy fashion, I am somewhere in the middle here. My feeling, and this isn't first-hand, I only became a fan in 2008, is that a big part of the problem is the leadership.
I wasn't around when the older France's were running the sport but I have done a lot of research, and from what I've gleaned, it seemed they loved and lived for NASCAR. They were filled with passion for their sport. They were super-salesmen who constantly tried to find ways to sell The Show.
That seemed to change when Brian France took over. He barely even seems to like NASCAR, much less love it. At the last banquet, we got the feeling that his main thought was, "hurry up and get me the hell out of here."
How can anyone expect him to sell the Wow factor when he doesn't feel it himself? No matter how good of a salesman you are, you won't be successful at trying to sell something you don't believe in. Brian may believe in the business but he doesn't appreciate the sport itself. He's a corporation man, not a sportsman.
So, I think that needs to change, whether he steps aside and let's someone take over who feels joy in NASCAR or whether he sells it....as long as the new owners doesn't see it strictly as a money- making proposition instead of a lifestyle.
I've been grumpy about NASCAR myself lately but that's probably coming from someone who is unhappy because their driver is doing poorly this year. I'd probably be right back to where I used to be if Jimmie won a damn race. I grouch about the Big Three and I really do think the media focuses on them too much but they are the best in NASCAR right now and that's the way it goes. At least, there are three to pick from rather than one totally dominant team. (Eeny, meeny, miny, mo.)
I don't know how to bring younger fans on board. I'm old and us oldsters don't like a lot of change. I don't care for stage racing. I think drivers and crew chiefs need more personality. They are often almost as politically correct as Brian France himself. Where are the Tony Stewarts when we need them? I don't like any racing where all the cars in one team work together. I like "every man for himself" racing. I hate all the damn nit-picky rules and regulations and the number of cars that don't qualify because they are off in height by a 1000th compared to a laser. I think crew chief "creativity" should have to be egregious before it is punished.
But those are my minor gripes and I know they are relatively unimportant in the scheme of things.
I think NASCAR is suffering the same fate as most sports. The attention span of younger fans is shorter. Maybe that means races should be shorter. More young ones get their information from their cell phones or laptops than from television. Race costs, including food and housing, have gotten too
expensive for many fans, especially young ones. (Every potential fan needs to see a race in person to get the full flavor.) NASCAR gained a lot of followers a few years ago but it will probably eventually settle in to a core base, the ones who would have been fans all along.
Lastly, our country is now so divided, we can't disagree on anything without getting nasty. I've completely quit reading most of the comments on the NASCAR sites (and I used to love the NASCAR.com blogs and made many friends there but NASCAR shut them down because they got so hate-filled). I argue about politics on another blog, This blog is a refuge. I don't want it to be filled with dissent. I don't mind people disagreeing it they do it respectfully.
Despite my complaints, I will be there watching the races each and every Saturday or Sunday.
I read jeff glucks article too,,very good,and some of the responses he got were also very insightful..,and I totally agree with you here,,but like you, I also will keep watching as long as they are running.
Yes, I thought the people who responded were sincere and thoughtful!