The Frontstretch: Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study? by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday September 23, 2010

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Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?

Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday September 23, 2010

 

Recently, a very close friend (yes, I do have a few!) contacted me and was all excited. It seems that after being turned down to be part of NASCAR’s Fan Council for over a year (they were full), someone must have died and they invited him to join.

After jumping through all their hoops and giving them a dossier of personal information, the likes of which J. Edgar Hoover would be envious of, he sat back and giddily waited for his first chance to participate. After a short time of waiting, that opportunity finally presented itself this past Monday.

As fate would have it, I happened to be present, with cold beverage in hand, as he eagerly opened an email that sought his opinions about the most recent NASCAR shindig in New Hampshire.

Now, truth be told, I cannot remember exactly how each question read, and it is too late now to go back and look, seeing as how the “survey” was only open through Tuesday. But I do remember the gist of it all, and it still fills me with a sense of incredulity!

The first question asked if you (he) had watched or attended either the Truck or Cup race. Having not seen one bit of the Trucks, but most of the Cup event, he truthfully chose the latter. As the process wore on, he dutifully answered a few questions that, from their nature, started to give him a sense of fulfillment that he was actually making, even if minute, a difference! How much of the race did you watch? What did you think of the quality of the race? The broadcast? Etc.

Suddenly, just when we were both starting to think that maybe the time spent answering the questions was slightly more productive than trying to teach a pig to sing, (don’t try that, by the way… it really annoys the pig!) up popped a picture of Jamie McMurray standing triumphantly in the door of his car, arms raised, confetti all around, obviously celebrating one of his latest victories. The question that accompanied the Victory Lane photo was something like this: What, if anything, do you know about the person in the photo that is highlighted in the green box? Well, who do you think was highlighted in the green box… McMurray? Nope. It was none other than a piece of eye candy, complete in their own driver’s suit… that’s right, a Sprint Girl! Both my friend and I looked at the girl, looked at each other and said, “WTF?!?”

Turns out NASCAR wants the Sprint Girls to do far more than just give kisses to the winner, but get noticed by millions of potential new customers – including the sport’s Fan Council.

The survey went on to ask more questions about this chick than it did about opinions about the most recent race! Questions like… “Who do you think this person represents?” which then proceeded to give you a multiple choice, check the box of the cell phone company logo that you thought she represented. That’s right; a full page of actual company logos to choose from!

Oh, but it gets better!

Who do you think pays this person (if at all)? NASCAR, Sprint, both, or no one? As I said before, I don’t remember all the actual questions, but I do remember that ANY sense of fulfillment or “making a difference” went straight out the window as it turned out that there were just as many, if not more questions about this girl than there were the race. At this point, probably due to our cold beverages and the fact that we are, well… guys, we started lamenting the fact that we could not type in some interesting questions or comments of our own!

So, what do you really want to know NASCAR? Did I notice that this chick was a hottie? Did I think that the Sprint driver’s suit made her butt look big? Were her boobs big enough to be nicely accentuated by said suit? Is this young girl a professional? That would certainly have a bearing on whether she gets paid, and by whom! If I didn’t have a hottie of my own, would NASCAR be interested in providing her name and number? How much does it cost to employ a Sprint Girl? Does she have her own “hard card?” And the idiots in Daytona wonder why NASCAR has a ratings and attendance problem!

So what started out as a good and hopeful experience for my friend, thinking that he was a part of something, that NASCAR actually valued his opinion about the sport, turned quickly into nothing more than a few one-liners about a hot chick, the likes of which could be déjà vu from any “guys night out.” So astounded and disappointed was my friend that he seriously wanted to resign from the council right then and there. He expected a survey about the latest race, not a pure marketing one!

Luckily for NASCAR, I managed to talk him out of resigning from the council on the spot, and now have him on an assignment to copy and paste any and all future questions so I can share them with the rest of the world. It’s all part of my crusade to continue to point out just how stupid they can actually be, and better still, how stupid NASCAR thinks YOU are!

The long and the short of it all is this: Don’t be fooled into thinking that the sport values your, the regular fans, opinions because they don’t! What they do value is your money, and I applaud each and every one of you who has made your voice heard by keeping your dollars to yourselves!

The funny (or sad) thing is, while NASCAR is actually hurting now from your frugality, they still don’t have a freaking clue! How stupid do you got to be to run a sanctioning body?

Stay off the wall (unless you need to stand on it to get a better look at the hot chicks!),

Jeff Meyer

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Robin
09/23/2010 06:30 AM
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Thank you for sharing the latest NASCAR “stupid idea” with us. This goes to the top of my “What Were They Thinking” list.

Bill B
09/23/2010 07:20 AM
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Sounds like all the Fan Council is there for is market research not trying to better the sport itself.

Kevin from PA
09/23/2010 08:51 AM
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Agree with Bill B. Seems more like a way to show the official sponsors of NASCAR that – yes – the fans do see their logos and understand who is paying the bills.

Reminds me of that scene in the Christmas Story movie – “BE SURE TO DRINK YOUR OVALTINE”!!!!

Jacob
09/23/2010 08:52 AM
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Thank you, Jeff, but did you honestly expect anything different? NA$CAR has proven itself to ONLY care about the money they can take from our pockets before they pull a re-enactment of the Hindenburg.

Kevin from PA
09/23/2010 09:08 AM
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BTW – regular poster jerseygirl mentioned there was a newsletter for the Council. Any chance your friend can snag a copy for you?

For some twisted reason, I am really interested in how this Council thing really works. I mean these are the people that allegedly said that they really LOVE the Chase. In reality, 80% of the fans that I know do not like it.

You might be sitting on a gold mine of good articles, Jeff.

AncientRacer
09/23/2010 09:34 AM
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Ummm, does Brian the Clueless need a date? Was your friend and the Council kinda like doing pre-clearance of her suitability as arm candy?

robbiejr
09/23/2010 09:56 AM
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Hmmm. I’ve been on the NFC since day 1, and I never got that survey. Yes I’ve gotten some stupid ones that were more about marketing than racing, which I refused to send in. But lately, they’ve all been about racing, with a final place to say anything I wanted, which I always take advantage of.

And I’m not one of those who think the chase is worth having.

Carl D.
09/23/2010 10:03 AM
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Astounding! Turns out the fan council isn’t about giving the fans a voice in Nascar issues, it’s about making sure the Nascar sponsors are getting adequate exposure.

Asounding, but not at all surprising.

Gordon82Wins
09/23/2010 10:12 AM
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Wow…I thought the Fan Council was a ridiculous idea to begin with, but I was at least warmed by the idea that NASCAR wants to listen to fans.

I started having my suspicions when I started hearing that the Fan Council loves the Chase. I can see the multiple choice on that one:

9) What do you think of NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup?

a) I love it!
b) I really love it!
c) It’s wonderful!
d) All of the above!

NASCAR is getting to be worth still following just for the entertainment value. Thanks for sharing this Jeff.

Martin
09/23/2010 10:19 AM
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From a Sprint memo “ This damn stock car racing keeps getting in the way of product marketing , is it possible to keep the car and team out of the winners circle and just have our Sprint girl and Sprint logo in front of the camera ? “.

DoninAjax
09/23/2010 10:32 AM
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Did they mention whatshername? The better they look the further a-head they can get.

29racefan
09/23/2010 11:54 AM
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Not really a huge surprise that NASCAR is interested in marketing over racing. It has been obvious in our new world of racertainment. I no longer spend my $ on shirts, diecast and trips to the Cup races. I record the races to watch if I have time. I have been a racefan for decades. Turning my attention back to the local tracks and love the truck series. Hard to turn away from a sport that you love but NASCAR makes it hard to be a fan.

John Potts
09/23/2010 12:02 PM
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Nice column, Jeff, and you hit on a particular item that has been important to me from early in my career. Even when I was just a flagman, I encouraged announcers to know just exactly what they were talking about when it came to car models, the year of the make (very important back in the 60s), etc. I told them if they got it wrong, two things could happen – the fans would think they were stupid, or even worse, would think that the announcer thought the fans were stupid.

Bill B
09/23/2010 12:26 PM
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Kevin from PA…
Ha ha ha, I was thinking about using that Ovaltine line from “A Christmas Story” too. We are definitely on the same page on this one.

Vince
09/23/2010 01:01 PM
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I can vouch for the latest NFC emailing. Same one I got. When the questions about the Sprint Cup girl showed up, I thought WTF?! Pure marketing BS. I’ve just been on the Fan Council since this past summer and so far I’ve been unimpressed with their survey questions. They’ve been pretty lame so far.

Shoeman
09/23/2010 01:10 PM
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I for one would rather see the SPRINT girl the winner’s circle more than I would JJ.

Rick
09/23/2010 01:22 PM
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I WAS in the fan council.Not anymore.I was another who did not care for the chase.Guess our input went unread.

Mark
09/23/2010 01:28 PM
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I hate to break it to you folks , but the NFC is whats known in the advertising industry as a focus group . I’m sure it was easy to get sucked into thinking that the surveys were going to be used for the betterment of the sport , but NASCAR couldn’t care less about your opinions concerning the right direction for stockcar racing . They only care about their marketing partners and the promises made to those partners to get them to write the sponsorship checks . You the fan are just being used again to help NASCAR and it’s sponsors line their pockets .

DoninAjax
09/23/2010 02:09 PM
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Is there the implication that NASCAR cares more about the money than the “racing”?

Josh
09/23/2010 03:18 PM
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Unfortunately, it looks like Jeff Meyer is writing yet another article about something he knows nothing about. The NASCAR Fan Council is used to get fans’ opinions on ALL issues, from competition to marketing. On-track changes such as double-file restarts and multiple attempts at green-white-checkered finishes have come about with help from input from the Fan Council. If Jeff thinks that all surveys are the same bc of the ONE that he was tipped off about, maybe he is the stupid one here…

Kevin from PA
09/23/2010 03:23 PM
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DoninAjax – SHAME ON YOU!!!!

You know you must refer to NASCAR events as “the product” and not “racing”!!!

If you can’t follow BF’s rules – then get out!! There will be an army of new fans to replace you – trust BF’s words!!!

Bad Wolf
09/23/2010 03:37 PM
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“BE SURE TO DRINK YOUR OVALTINE”!!!!

Says Ralphie “A crappy commercial???” as he throws the Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring away.

Says the Nascar “Fan” “A crappy marketing gimmick” as he turns the “Race” off and switches to the NFL.

robbiejr
09/23/2010 04:54 PM
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Apparently they missed the last page, where you’re given the opportunity to write whatever you want. If I’d gotten this particular survey, I would have used that space to tell them how stupid is was and had nothing to do with all the other problems King Brian has created since he took over NASCAR.

ginaV24
09/23/2010 05:13 PM
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Use the last page to enter any comments that you want – that way at least you get a say in with any of your concerns

Jeff Meyer FS staff
09/23/2010 05:49 PM
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For those of you who said you were on the council but never received that survey, it went out on the 20 of Sept. It read in part…

We are excited to invite you to participate in a short survey about this past weekend’s races. This survey should take about 5 minutes and will be open through Tuesday, September 21. We want to know what you think!

And Josh, keep drinkin the koolaid, buddy!!!!!

And don’t worry, I have standing orders to bring over cold beverages whenever my friend gets another survey, so I will see them!

AncientRacer
09/24/2010 10:51 AM
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I commented earlier, but as I read what others said and what Jeff had to say at 5:49pm the question occurred to me “are NFC surveys classified?” Reading the comments it kinda seems like they may be. Imagine, Jeff has to take adult beverages to his friend (bribery?) in order to get a look at one. Paging Leon Panetta!

Jeff Meyer FS staff
09/24/2010 04:47 PM
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AncientRacer, I don’t think they are classified, probably more like we just like to drink beer!!! LOL

BCM
09/24/2010 09:55 PM
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Jeff is completely wrong on this one. NASCAR reads every single comment each week. I know this as fact. Keep providing your feedback, it makes a difference.

Jeff Meyer FS staff
09/25/2010 12:13 AM
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Ok BCM….please enlighten us as to how you can say I am completely wrong, yet we are to believe you!!!??? Let me guess, nascar hired you to read them, right?

BCM
09/25/2010 09:33 PM
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Yes, the best thing NFC members can do is continue to provide feedback when requested. Thanks to the members that take it seriously.

Jeff Meyer FS staff
09/25/2010 11:26 PM
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Ok readers, before BCM’s last post, I sent him/her a personal email requesting that he/she provide proof that nascar reads each and every NFC response. I offered equal time in this column to tell his/her side of the story.

I have yet to hear anything back.

I will keep you posted.

 

Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?

Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.