The Frontstretch: Five Simple Ways to Make NASCAR Fans Happy Again by Amy Henderson -- Thursday February 26, 2009

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Five Simple Ways to Make NASCAR Fans Happy Again

Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Thursday February 26, 2009


It wasn’t that long ago when every major sport could have taken a page from NASCAR’s book. This was a sport that was fan friendly. The drivers were accessible to the fans and happy to oblige. The sport was rich in tradition and the racing was good. Everyone wanted to win the Daytona 500 and the Southern 500, the two notches in the fencepost that mattered most to teams. It was a family sport that parents could watch with their kids. What was not to love?

Then, seemingly overnight, things began to change, although the changes have come over the course of a few years. The sport is not so fan friendly—watching the sport together has turned into watching the start and then sending the kids off to do their homework. The oldest race on the circuit has been gone for several years, replaced by a “market.” The drivers are scarce in public areas, and the tradition and good racing are all but gone, replaced by trends and fans who will likely only ride this bandwagon until the next stop, and then jump onto the next trend when it rolls in, leaving longtime fans and purists scratching their heads and wondering what happened to the sport they once loved.

Sure, many of them still watch, but it’s not the same as it once was. Where there was once anticipation and blind faith that this would be a good one—after all, it was Sunday, and there was a race-a race!on-had turned into a sad hope that this week will be better, that this week, it will be like it once was and reawaken the fire in their hearts that once beat in time with the music of the motors.

The Southern 500 at Darlington was a long standing Labor Day tradition, not raced in May on Mother’s Day.

The problem is, the sanctioning body either doesn’t care or doesn’t have a clue how to fix a sport that is rapidly deteriorating to the point that it will be beyond repair. Yet, there are some ways that NASCAR could win back some fans, make it fun and real and exciting again. And they could make a great start without even making a single rules change for the teams on the racetrack. In fact, there are five simple things NASCAR could do to remind its old fans and new how great the sport was and can be again.

1. Revamp the schedule

I mean, really sit down and start from scratch, and make the schedule about the racing, not about pandering to a “market.” Last time I checked, the “market” was the fans who tune in to races from coast to coast, not a few who largely can’t be bothered. NASCAR sold its soul in the late 1990s, when they allowed North Wilkesboro to be sold for spare parts. They made it worse when their sister company, International Speedway Corporation, sold North Carolina Speedway to rival Speedway Motorsports, Inc. with the condition that the track be closed and its races moved elsewhere. ISC did a nice job making Bruton Smith look like the bad guy, but they essentially used Rockingham, as the track was affectionately known, as a pawn in an attempt to appease SMI with another race date and get out of the inevitable upgrades to Rockingham all in one fell swoop.

NASCAR needs to think outside the box on this one. Their excuse for taking the Labor Day race away from Darlington, where it had been since practically the beginning of time, was that the track wasn’t selling out two races. But they moved the race from the first superspeedway designed for stock cars to a superspeedway that was designed for open-wheel racecars without so much as an afterthought to stock cars. If selling out two races is the criteria, then only tracks who sell out two races should have two races. Right now, that is only Bristol Motor Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway with any consistency. So, if a track cannot support two races, take one away and spread the wealth. If Iowa Speedway can build the seats necessary, race there. If Rockingham Speedway (as it has been renamed) can make some necessary upgrades, race there. Race at Road Atlanta and another road course—including one in the Chase. Give Kentucky Speedway a date. But don’t try to sell Auto Club Speedway on fans as deserving of two races. The races there are disappointing every time out, plain and simple.

Finally, don’t try to pass off the May Darlington race as the Southern 500. The Southern 500 was run on Labor Day weekend, and Mother’s Day was a week off to give the drivers some family time. Used to be a family sport, remember? Don’t try to insult our intelligence or our loyalty by calling this race the Southern 500. Anyone who thinks it’s right or cool to rename it probably was never a fan for a real Southern 500.

2. Get the drivers involved with the fans

The Indy Racing League holds autograph sessions before every race. The drivers are cordial and friendly. And they have to be there if they want to race.

I’m not suggesting that this format would work in NASCAR, but NASCAR should make sure that drivers are more accessible to their fans. It would be easy enough to do—you find an hour on Friday or Saturday or don’t bother to come on Sunday. Would the logistics be tough? Of course, but it could be done. Some drivers would, as necessitated by their popularity and the lack of basic manners of far too many fans, have to be in a segregated area, while others could easily be done at the haulers. Give a certain number of tickets to each gate attendant, to be given to the first fans, age 15 and under, to enter through their gate. Once they run out of one driver, the kids pick from who is left. Letting a few kids meet their heroes each week would do a lot for keeping the sport popular for generations.

But I agree that the drivers already have a lot to contend with. The solution—ban autographs in the garage. Let the corporate types get them in hospitality, and the kids get them in scheduled sessions. If the drivers choose to sign at other times, cool. But while saying they owe the fans might be too strong a statement, many need to remember that they are someone’s hero, and just a smile and a hello would go a long way towards making a race magic for some fans.

3. Start races earlier

Once upon a time, most races started at 1:00 local time. Most fans didn’t complain, and it made both watching the race on TV and going in person an easy family activity. You got home at a decent hour even with traffic, and if you watched on TV, you could have a family dinner before sending the kids off to do their homework and get ready for school on Monday.

Then the networks came along. And they said that the races started too early…couldn’t grab those early ratings from people who ran errands after church. Couldn’t get ratings if…something. So NASCAR caved, and created races like last Sunday’s ridiculousness. If a track wants a night race, it should be on Saturday, with the lone exception of the Coca-Cola 600, which is on the eve of a holiday.

Several friends of mine commented after Sunday’s race that their kids couldn’t watch the end, because it was a school night. There goes the family aspect.

The solution: start Sunday races at 1:00 PM local. All of them. Or schedule them for a Saturday night race. It used to be church, race, family dinner. Now it’s church, green flag, and go your separate ways to do homework and Sunday night chores. The earlier starts were a long standing tradition, and traditions start for a reason.

4. Work with tracks to make a better experience for the fans

NASCAR needs to start with the family business here. Say what you want about Bruton Smith, SMI tracks blow ISC out of the water when it comes to fan friendliness. It was understandable for tracks to make some security changes in the post-September 11th days when everyone was afraid. But while other tracks have kept security up with searches, ISC used the guise of safety to keep fans from bringing coolers in to the tracks and thereby forcing them to spend whatever ISC asks for concessions instead. It’s kind of low to use fear as a tactic to sell beer.

One thing that NASCAR needs to ban at all sanctioned tracks is the ticket policy that allows tracks to force fans to buy package deals in order to get the best seats at a race. Allowing a speedway to tell a fan that they would rather have an empty seat than sell a single race ticket to a fan is nothing short of a disgrace. Fans should be able to purchase whatever seats they want for whatever race they want. Period.

5. Don’t let cheaters prosper

Sure, teams bend the rules. They have done it since the beginning, and it’s part of the game—props to those who don’t get caught, especially under the close scrutiny they get in the garage these days. If teams didn’t push the envelope every single week, the racing would get boring quickly. But when someone is caught enhancing performance illegally, do something about it, and do the same thing every time.

My take is this: if a team gets caught in opening tech, slap them with a hefty fine and send them back through, last in line. Missing laps in first practice is punishment enough for a car that has not been illegal in competition. No harm no foul. You caught us, we’ll fix it and write you a six-figure check. Caught after making a qualifying run? Now they have competed. Toss the time and any guaranteed starting spot along with it. Let a legal car race in your place. Finally, a car with an infraction that enhances performance during a race should forfeit its finishing position and give up all points and purse associated with the race. NASCAR tossed the winner for cheating in the very first race in the series that evolved into Sprint Cup, so the “precedent” argument just doesn’t hold water. If a team can prove that a part failure caused a car to be too low or too high, that’s one thing. If not…stop rewarding them.

NASCAR fans often get asked by newer fans why we stick around if we are unhappy. That’s simple—it’s because we know how great it once was, and just maybe could be again. It’s up to NASCAR not to let that hope fade completely. Fans just want the sport they once loved to be great again. Shouldn’t NASCAR want it to be great, too?

The Frontstretch Newsletter, back in 2014 gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up now. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!

Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

02/26/2009 11:18 PM

Wow, Henderson!

What a bunch of drivel; assumptions without facts adding up to a big whine.

Racing has been around a long time and goes thru constant evolutions… Please compare what racing was 40, 20, and 10 years ago and you’ll notice that on the whole, it’s still getting better.

Or, do you long for the good ol’ days with fatalaties all season long, racetracks that had little more than a rain gutter in the restrooms for relief, and TV times didn’t matter because there wasn’t TV coverage!

So, Henderson… get over yourself, realize how good things are, and how you’d prolly gripe about anything.

Do something about what you don’t like but don’t spread your gloominess around; that’s not a good attribute to have!

When did whining and griping become the sub-hobby of NASCAR anyhow?

02/27/2009 12:50 AM

Whining and complaining is the Frontstretch way.

They wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they weren’t bitching about something or other. Or maybe their demographic is the bitter people of the world.

I haven’t quite figured out why 90% of the articles here are a weekly rehash of the same angry nostalgia, but its definitely the way it is. Though a minority of the writers have apparently tried to ease up on it this year.

I like understanding other people’s counterpoints which is why I keep reading. You just have to look past the unprofessional writing and see the ideas behind them to get any value from it.

Kevin in SoCal
02/27/2009 01:17 AM

But don’t try to sell Auto Club Speedway on fans as deserving of two races. The races there are disappointing every time out, plain and simple.

Disappointing most times out, sure. But Darlington and Rockingham hold 60,000 seats or so. California sells 70,000 to 78,000 tickets. That’s why NASCAR took the races away. Such a shame. But I thought Martinsville was the oldest race on the circuit?

And do we really want another 1.5 mile track on the schedule in Kentucky? I’d rather have Iowa or Rockingham.

02/27/2009 01:27 AM

It seems to me that there are some key changes which need to be made to better the racing and the competition and the fan enjoyment:

1—Eliminate the Chase and let the points be what they may. Why should guys with a great season all year long be forced to start over for the last ten races?

2—Eliminate anyone from being locked in because of owner points. Give everyone a fair playing field all season long, rather than being able to go to the show and know you’re in before you get there, regardless of qualyfing. Just look at the owner points fiasco that occurred during the off season this year.

3—In the interest of fair competition, limit each organization to two cars—three at the most. Why should teams like Roush, Hendrick, Childress, et. al., be allowed to dominate the scene? Again, this would give the little guys more of a chance.

4—Eliminate the COT, which no one really seems to like anyway, and go back to running what are supposed to be Fords, Chevys, Dodges, Toyotas, or whatever make one wantd to.
These changes, I think, would make for better racing, fairer competition, and higher fan interest.

Brian France Sucks
02/27/2009 02:38 AM

1. Brian France’s resignation.

2. Pre-race shows, 20 minutes max

3. Rockingham, at least 1 race from Fontana.

4. Top 35 reduced to Top 20.

5. California, Michigan, and Pocono – 300 mile races.

02/27/2009 08:01 AM

Bobb, Leo, you call it whining, we call it expressing our concerns, our thoughts, our suggestions, our interests…….. all in the spirit of hoping the sport we love so much will get better (survive). The articles and the posters do it in the hopes that maybe one of the Beach Buffoons might take note that the golden goose is getting a bit fed up (key point there). Not sure how long you have been a fan but if it’s more than 20 years or so you must see that NA$CAR has managed to muck up a pretty good thing in the name of the all mighty dollar. And should they not get their collective heads out of their collective a$$es, then they are going to be out of work. PERIOD.

02/27/2009 08:11 AM

My five ways.
1. Earlier Starts
2. Less talk/ no cartoon gophers (TV).
3. Shorter tracks.
4. Cheaper tickets
5. Free Beer!

02/27/2009 08:14 AM

You people who call that whining couldnt have watched a race in the 80s or 90s because everything Amy said is dead on Its not racing anymore its a ridiculous circus. Ive been watching NASCAR for 25 years. After big E was gone they went Hollywood and never looked back. If they did EXACTLY what amy said, I would be one of many fans who would be thrilled. The reason Frontstretch bi##hes every week is because they, like the true fan base are absolutely sick of the Corporate crap NASCAR has become. When did Being marketable become more important than driving the hell out of a race car. I am a HUGE Jr fan but as bad as I hate to admit it, and by the way I cant stand him, Kyle Bush takes the approach to racing all drivers should which is “Win this race ANY WAY YOU CAN” Ive rambled on enough, but thank you Amy and FS for still seeing it the way we do!

02/27/2009 08:40 AM

Whining is complaining about something without offereing constructive ideas about how to fix it. The ideas here stem from complaints I have herd from fans, just like you all, not just from my own personal discontent.

Hey Kevin in SoCal. It is true that there have been a very small handful of races at ACS where there has been a decent finish, but by and large, nothing to write home about. The last time ACS hosted a race with a margin of victory less than a half second (a half second is deceptively far apart for cars at those speeds) was 2006, and a margin under .5 has only happened a total of 5 times, or in less than a third of the races. The average margin of victory, not counting two races that finished under catution, is over 2 seconds. While it is true that tracks like Darlington have had large margins, they are also more likely to produce much closer finishes.

To me it isn’t about selling 60,000 vs. 70,000 tickets, it’s about provifing a schedule that provides the best racing for several MILLION fans watching on TV each week.

M. B. Voelker
02/27/2009 08:47 AM

More whining from the Frontstretch crybabies.

1. Yes, it would be nice if, in some utopia, the schedule were set purely by racing quality. In the real world, the schedule MUST be set by ticket sales and TV revenues. No tickets sold = no tracks to race on. No TV revenues = best talent going somewhere else where more money and fame can be achieved.

2. Nascar drivers ARE more involved with fans than athletes in any other sport. In stick and ball sports the players SELL autographs.

It would be good is all drivers followed Kurt Busch’s example and signed for fans at his souvenir hauler every week, but mandatory autograph rationing as per your suggestion sounds like the Soviet Union.

3. When races started at 1pm I almost NEVER saw a green flag. By the time I was done with church and the church social hour/choir practice, got home, got the kids lunch, and was able to go to the living room I’d missed 20, 30, even 50 laps already.

And I’ve lived in Eastern time all my life. Central zone fans would miss half the race and Mountain or Pacific zone fans might as well forget it completely.

Yes, there was a reason for that early start time — no lights at the track.

4. Eliminating mandatory ticket packages and easing cooler restrictions is the only sensible point made in the 2-week whinefest that has been this website since the season began.

5. If you brought it to the track that way you meant to race it that way. There’s no difference between a shoplifter who gets caught at the door with a purse full of jewelry and a one who makes it out onto the street.

Cheating is cheating no matter when you got caught.

I swear that you moaners and gripers won’t be happy until Nascar is once again a small-time, regional sport of purely local interest where anyone who wasn’t actually at the race has to read about the results on Monday and maybe catch some home video highlights on YouTube.

02/27/2009 09:06 AM

Let me add one more to your list.

Get someone besides Brian to run it. He’s the one who is gimmicking things up. NA$CAR racing is in a downward spiral, & until the racing improves. No amount of gimmicks are going to help much. If by chance NA$CAR is able to put a track around NYC. They will have about the same results as Calif. Both are huge markets. Huge market that view stock car racing as something beneath bowling. Brian said he was going to get back to basics. About the only basic he seems to understand. Is that racing allowed him to grow up rich, & privileged. Time to find someone who want’s to put on a race. Rather than a show.

Bill B
02/27/2009 09:15 AM

I think the reason so many fans are unhappy is because Brian France instituted too many major changes too quickly. If all the changes that he forced on the sport in the last 5 years were spread out over 15, fans would have had time to adjust and acclimate. Think about it, name one other major sport that has made so many radical changes so quickly. In general, people do not like change unless it’s benefits to them are obvious.

02/27/2009 10:22 AM

Wow! Amy presents her opinion and all of a sudden she is a whiner?
If you find the opinions expressed here to much for you to handle, go someplace else. Most of you are not old enough to have seen the REAL NASCAR! nascrap is only a shell of what it used to be. All of us, way down deep inside, would love to see street prodution cars running rather than these purpose built cars. Look, fans killed IROC with no support and Brian is heading that way as hard as he can go. COTand nascrap is right now working on a spec. engine. I, for one, don’t have to agree with anything from the writers of posters, but I say we all have the right to our opinions without calling each other names! And where I come from you should always cut a lady a wide berth! Real men do that!!

02/27/2009 10:48 AM

Amy is on the mark.
Bobb = Brian France. (just shut up and see thing$ my way)
I love watching 80’s / 90’s tapes of races at Darlington. How cool it was to watch a guy come in and get a fresh set of tires and be 2 seconds faster than the other cars… work their way thru the field. Not so much anymore in today’s racing, its sad.

02/27/2009 10:52 AM

Na$car and ISC must be broken up that will help alot with most of what you said race stinks can’t sell tickets it’s out give the date to another track But with na$car and isc as one this will never ever never ever happen

02/27/2009 11:04 AM

The one thing that is misleading is the importance of the saying the race is soldout if New Hampshire should have 2 races because they sellout then all the other tracks have to do is remove seats to correct their sellout problem. What is better a 92,000 seat track that sells out at the last minute or a non sellout at Indy with 200,000 seats out of 252,000 sold. Jayski has a track seating capacity chart on his site so you can compare and see the difference.

Steve Cloyd
02/27/2009 11:28 AM

All she is doing is voicing the opinion of many disgruntled fans, myself included. If that is seen as “whining” so be it, but at some point you will pull your head out of the sand and realize no one cares about NASCAR anymore but a handful of fan-boys unless somethings is done soon. #1 and #3 are paramount to this.

#2 cracks me up because it is the exact opposite of what we were hearing hear in Indy car country in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Back then, the NASCAR drivers were accessible and the Indy car drivers were jerks. Now the shoe is on the other foot since NASCAR has been fat dumb and happy for awhile, while the Indy car side is just doing what needs to be done to survive. I think whoever has the most fame, money, and endorsements will always be seen this way.

02/27/2009 12:14 PM

I only discovered this site last year. Is there nothing but complaining on here?

I mean… sheesh… if you really have 90% complaints/10% praise for something… maybe its time to stop watching?

I can’t stand hockey. So I don’t watch. I’m not going to start a blog about how much I hate it.

Not saying there is no room for complaint… but come on. If you’re a NASCAR fan, I just know you get more pumped up every Sunday than you do let down.

02/27/2009 12:16 PM

We must get rid of that animated gopher. At Fontana, the little vermin invaded my TV at a rate of once every 3.9 minutes of racing. Check out the race breakdowns at Jayski and see how crazy NASCAR and Fox have gotten with this rodent.

Kevin in SoCal
02/27/2009 01:00 PM

Amy said: To me it isn’t about selling 60,000 vs. 70,000 tickets, it’s about provifing a schedule that provides the best racing for several MILLION fans watching on TV each week.

I wasnt trying to justify my opinion of the event, just offering my idea of why NASCAR moved the race. They were penny-wise but pound-foolish. Yes they sell 10,000 more tickets in Fontana, but the TV audience shrinks because the fans at home dont like the racing there.

Kevin S
02/27/2009 01:13 PM

Good ideas, Amy. And I agree to your last point in the response – isn’t better to make the millions at home happier than to have 20,000 more fans at a race.

I really think the reason you do see so many complaints is that NASCAR listens only to themselves and not the fans.

(example: pre-Chase (the official mouthpiece) took a poll on whether fans wanted the Chase. 80% voted no – and yet it was put into place as, per Brian, no one really understood the Chase model).

I have not seen NASCAR throw their fans one bone in the last 5 years. The complaining would go down if NASCAR did.

Phil Allaway
02/27/2009 02:47 PM

Here’s my thoughts on the issues presented.

1. The schedule revamp: The schedule is ok now, but I would make some changes. Fontana probably could lose a race, not just from the racing perspective, but also to save the teams from having to make additional cross-country hauls.
Iowa and Rockingham don’t have enough seats to host Cup races at the moment. (Rockingham, with the elimination of the backstretch grandstand, is down to something like 46,000 now, while Iowa can hold 40,000 max).
A third road race should be added, but I’m not sure where. Road Atlanta would necessitate dropping a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on the other side of town. Road America is a no go since NASCAR may force circuit changes (a much shorter course) in order to race there. Lime Rock is too short and too narrow for a 43 car field. Also, due to a long standing tradition, no races can be run on Sundays. It would have to be either a Saturday afternoon or Monday afternoon race on a holiday. Miller Motorsports Park in Utah could be suitable, but it might be hard to pass since there’s a bunch of medium speed turns that don’t allow for a lot of braking. Also, since it’s in the middle of the desert, heat is a factor. It was 107 for an ALMS race out there a couple of years ago.

2. The autograph issue. You make it sound like its inappropriate for someone over the age of 15 to want a driver’s autograph, which I don’t necessarily think is true.

I’ll give you an example of how the first autograph session I went to was setup at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in August 1996. When people came into the track, they got a number. The PA announcer sounded out numbers in groups of 50, I think. Those people would go get in line to meet the personalities there that night (they were Ernie Irvan, Ned Jarrett (who was a “mystery guest”), Kenny Wallace, Ken Schrader and Richard Childress).

With smaller crowds, sessions such as what the IRL already does can work with the lower series like the Camping World Truck and Nationwide Series, with some segregation. It is here where the whacker problem would present itself again.
The problem with instituting such a rule in the Sprint Cup Series is that there would be a ridiculous number of lines required (20 easy, maybe more).

3. The start times definitely need to be earlier. Your 1pm local time suggestion is fine. I like them earlier not just because that means the races end earlier (which is nice), but also because it allows stuff to be done easier after the race. For me, that means writing the recap after the race to post here. I hate races that end at 10pm on Sunday nights because it’s near impossible to get quotes.

4. Yeah, the cooler rules are a little out of control at most tracks. Of course, if you live anywhere near New York City, it’s expected that if you go to almost any sporting event, they’ll violate your privacy before you can enter. At the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, they force you to empty your pockets of everything, wand you, and if you have a purse with you, search through it thoroughly before you can enter. Being able to bring anything at all from outside in is a plus. Watkins Glen is an exception to ISC’s policies mentioned here. They let you bring a small, soft sided cooler in with you, but no glass if you’re going to sit in the stands. I’ve been twice and never bought refreshments there.

The package deals (Kansas and Chicagoland) do have to go. It’s racing’s equivalent of a Personal Seat License, something that no one likes except owners of facilities.

5. As for cheaters, I agree with what you say there. They already do what you write in qualifying for the Go or Go Home teams. For it to be used with the other teams would necessitiate the elimination of the top 35 rule.

02/27/2009 09:51 PM

Good article Amy, usually I find myself at odds with your articles, (although I understand and respect your point of view), but this I couldn’t agree more. Chris, even if we complain about 90% of issues within NASCAR its because_we love racing and remember it when it wasn’t the empty shell of its former self it has become. If you’ve been a longtime fan of a sport, (term used loosely nowadays with NASCAR), and you see it become something far removed from its roots you have to question why. Think of it this way, using football and baseball as an example. When you watch either on tv how close do either of those resemble say a televised game from the 70’s? Pretty darn pre-show, no commentators adding non-stop colorful banter, (o.k, maybe football is a bit guilty of this, but not as bad as the “Hollywood Hotel”). Thing is that when you turned a race on prior to say 2001 maybe, it was the National Anthem, a flyover, start your engines…why? Because it was all about the Racing, or lack of thereof, is secondary…I wrote about this last year, racing is almost the last thing on NASCAR’s mind. Now its about who can we get to sing a few tunes before the, race..wait, show..all well, whichever it may be NASCAR has its priorities messed up. And that is why we complain. Some of us don’t care about anything but who makes the checkered flag first…fairly.

02/27/2009 10:01 PM

Another point to make. I know people like to take a shot or two at California for being a bit boring. I can agree that the racing is a bit boring there BUT looking at alot of tracks on the circuit many of the races are boring thanks to making just about every track the same while running cars that are exactly like the other cars. I have to admit that when I turn on a race in progress I find myself checking the wall out to see where they are running at. I’m not defending California as much as pointing out that there is alot of dull racing out there with many races being determined on pit road. Imagne that…guys racing at 190 mph yet the race is won while doing 55 mph…(heck, the hauler went faster to get to the track…)

03/01/2009 12:31 AM

Actually back in the day they never even showed the anthem or command to start engines at most races. You saw it if the race was on ESPN and you watched NASCAR 2 Day on ESPN2 just before the race.

03/01/2009 01:46 AM

Its whining because it accomplishes nothing. I would think Nascar couldn’t care less about FS and their opinions.

Now if all you guys who agree with Amy actually wrote a letter each to Nascar’s corporate headquarters you might get somewhere.

Grassroots organizing and spending your own time on it might get it changed. Preaching to the choir just promotes Frontstretch itself (in the same way you’re complaining about Na$car mind you).

As for being old enough here or there, you’ve all got your rose colored glasses on remembering the past. I’ve watched a hundred ESPN Classic races and I’ve been watching live since 92. Today is the best broadcast that has ever existed. It isn’t perfect but it is still better than ever. Even Fox.

And you know what? I agree with Amy about 95%. And so what? I still tune in to the races every single week. I put the TV schedule into my computer calendar so I don’t miss anything. And if nothing changes or if Brian makes it even worse, I’ll still keep tuning in because I love watching the racing, the “personalities” aren’t wife-beaters or gang-bangers, and despite everything that has gone on, the drivers are still the most accessible of any major sport.

Ie, we still have the best sport in America and you guys can’t step back and see that.

And you guys can’t even see when you’re wrong. I’m in the “hate Digger” camp. But my kid watched some of the race last week because he noticed a Digger animation. Today during the Nationwide race he asked where Digger was and I told him that was tomorrow. He said he would watch tomorrow instead.

Since I can’t explain loose/tight, fuel strategy, combustion chambers, trackbars, why changing tires in 10 seconds is unreal, etc. to a six year old, that he might actually sit and watch with me tomorrow because of Digger makes every Digger detractor wrong. Don’t you think?

03/01/2009 10:33 PM

Good article, Amy. The reason so many fans complain here and elsewhere is because of all the things you pointed out. NASCAR’s brand of “racing” is nothing more than a money driven circus. Those here who are whining about our concerns have probably been “fans” for the last five years or so and know little of NASCAR’s history. They don’t know good racing because they haven’t seen it. I would bet they haven’t been to very many races as well. By the way, about the only way a fan can get to a driver today is to be a sponsor employee or friend who can get into a hospitality at the track. Give me the American Lemans Series any day. The only place you can’t go is the hot pits.


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Recent articles from Amy Henderson:

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Announces Partnership with Cessna, Textron
Fans To Decide Format of Sprint Unlimited at Daytona
UNOH and Kentucky Speedway Extend Sponsorship Agreement
Earnhardt Out For Charlotte and Kansas After Talldega Concussion
Piquet, Jr. Wins K&N East Opener

Want to know more about Amy or see an archive of all of her articles? Check out her bio page for more information.