• 64°

NASCAR: Don’t blame gas for empty seats

By Scott Adamson
Scripps Howard News
A photo that ran on the sports front of my paper this week was telling. It showed a whole lot of empty seats at Daytona ó and Daytona doesn’t normally have a whole lot of empty seats at a NASCAR event.
Do we blame it on gas prices? That’s obviously a big factor. It costs a lot of money to drive hundreds of miles to see a race. Shoot, it costs a lot of money to drive anywhere these days.
But I refuse to blame sagging attendance solely on the terror at the tank.
From what I’ve heard from you ó and from my own experience ó Cup competition just isn’t that much fun anymore.
It’s certainly not stock car racing. It hasn’t been for years, of course, but with the Car of Tomorrow it’s even less so. There was a time when fans rooted for manufacturers as much as drivers. Except for the company logo, the cars are all the same now.
Take away the colorful logos and numbers and you can’t tell one from another. The winner of an event might be driving a Chevy, but you know as well as I do it has no relation to the kind of Chevy you see tooling down the highway.
NASCAR officials called a meeting with drivers last month and told them to stop “whining” about the COT, but fans don’t care too much about the vehicle, either.
While we aren’t concerned about how it handles in corners (after all, we’re not driving it), we see it as yet another move by an organization hell-bent on turning the sport into some sort of Madison Avenue event.
First we get cookie cutter tracks. Then we get cookie cutter cars. And more and more drivers are being forced to become cookie cutter drones that simply reel off a list of sponsors, sport a Stepford smile and say nothing more dramatic than, “The guys in the shop gave me a great car.”
Say what you will about Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch, but at least they say what they think and show some passion. It’s usually not politically correct and I might not even agree with all of it, but at least it makes me realize there are still some individuals in a sport that should celebrate individuality.
Before the green flag fell on the 2008 season, NASCAR CEO Brian France said it was time to get back to the basics and return stock car racing to its roots.
Was I absent the day that happened?
I mean, I didn’t expect the competitors to start running moonshine again but I don’t see any signs of the Cup series catering to its core audience, do you?
This year’s version of NASCAR seems just like last year’s version of NASCAR ó a slick Hollywood production that tries to hit on all the demographics except the ones that really matter.
With gas prices continuing to rise, chances are more and more people will have to pick and choose which tracks they visit and which ones they take a pass on. But NASCAR has bigger problems.
At some point the corporate giant is going to have to loosen its tie, roll up its sleeves and start paying attention to the little people.
Because little people like us are the ones who made it big to begin with.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

‘Meet the need’: Rowan County Health Department looks to add to vaccination options

Local

Seaford is first woman in county hired for town manager position since the ’90s

Local

Colonial Spring Frolic makes a comeback to kick off museum’s year

Local

Concord City Council wants to name bridge for fallen officer, Rowan native

Education

RSS administration will recommend selling Faith Elementary property to charter school

Business

Inspired by advice from father-in-law, Angela Mills launches her own business in memory of him

Local

Rowan County Democrats re-elect leaders, pass resolutions

Local

Baseball: Memories come alive in Ferebee book

Local

During Child Abuse Prevention Month, professionals reflect on detecting abuse in a virtual world

Business

Biz Roundup: Small Business Center announces spring slate of workshop for business owners

Clubs

Kiwanis Pancake Festival starts Friday

Local

Rowan fire marshal seeks to clear up confusion, worry caused by solicitation letter

Education

Fun every day: Fifth anniversary for Yadkin Path Montessori School

Nation/World

Charles: Royal family ‘deeply grateful’ for support for Philip

News

North Carolina sites to resume J&J vaccines after CDC review

News

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Playoff time means get ready for ‘big-boy football’

High School

High school football: Hornets overpower South to secure playoff spot

Crime

Jeffrey MacDonald won’t be released despite deteriorating health

Business

Amazon warehouse workers reject union in Alabama

Nation/World

Ex-NFL player’s brain to be probed for trauma-related harm after Rock Hill shootings

Education

Duke University to require COVID vaccinations for fall term

Education

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Record night for Pinckney as East cruises; Carson wins thriller in OT