The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Fan Q&A: A Changing NASCAR World Of Lawsuits & Stereotypes by Summer Bedgood -- Thursday February 28, 2013

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Whew… so, a lot has happened since the last time we talked. It seems like there are a million different storylines with a million different perspectives, and thanks to social media, we’re all talking about them at the same time. Say the words, “Danica”, “Catchfence,” or “Gen-6” and you know exactly what I’m talking about. No doubt, you also have an opinion.

While we can’t possibly cover every single topic there is to tackle in this column, there was no doubt what was on everyone’s minds when I looked at the questions that readers were sending in.

So let’s get started, with your running themes…

“What do you think of the fans who are suing after last Saturday’s wreck? Don’t the ticket stubs read that the tracks are not responsible for injuries, and do you think that will hold up in a court?” –Nikki

Yes, the ticket stubs at every racetrack do indeed specify that you are essentially entering at your own risk. So do many other motorsports events, as well as other sporting venues. In fact, you wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find it on a ticket for literally any major place of entertainment that you will ever go to. Reason being is that, simply, “stuff” happens and the hosting venues don’t want to be responsible if something unexpected or crazy occurs. Add 43 (or 40, as was the case on Saturday) 3,200-pound cars impacting with force sufficient enough to rip parts loose, considering they’re reaching nearly 200 miles per hour in speed and that chance of something crazy happening isn’t so crazy anymore.

We’ve already exhausted the topic of safety on this website alone, let alone any NASCAR blog, message board, or otherwise legitimate news source. We won’t cover that here. But your other question still stands: “Do you think that will hold up in court?”

While the well-being of the fans was first and foremost in everybody’s minds, following Saturday’s Nationwide wreck, the questions regarding potential litigation against NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway are inevitable.

Honestly, I think this situation will be settled out of court. The people who decide to pursue their legal options will get some pity compensation from NASCAR, who doesn’t want to pay any court fees and that will probably be the end of it. It would be ridiculous for them to fight it and they know it.

As much as I want to look at these individuals as idiotic and people who are just looking to make a quick buck out of tragedy, I don’t want to be too quick to judge. They might be doing so just to cover their medical bills and other expenses related to the injury. I’ll reserve final judgment until all of the details are uncovered regarding the individuals, the extent of their injuries, and how much they are asking for. I think that much is fair.

However, I hope most of the fans are smart enough to realize that if you want to watch a sporting event with zero chance of being injured, stay home.

“I am a southern white man. Does NASCAR not want me as a fan?” –Burton

Aww, Burton! Your question broke my heart! Of course NASCAR wants you as a fan! They just don’t want you to be their only type of fan. They want to expand their demographics because, let’s be honest, more people watching means more money. It means a more positive PR slant when they have a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds watching in the grandstands and at home. It’s not meant to be discrimination or elimination, but unfortunately it sometimes feels like it, doesn’t it?

Honestly, it’s not something I really understand. Sometimes different cultures and demographics just like different things. It’s not about racism, discrimination, or anything of that sort. While I understand that NASCAR is essentially just trying to grow their brand, I feel like it would be more productive if they just played towards their base. You can’t win people over who just simply aren’t interested. Sure, you need to give people a chance to take a second look, but if your own fans aren’t even happy, what good does that do?

Trust me, Burton. As long as you’re still buying merchandise, tickets and, most importantly, watching the race at home, they still want you to be a fan. You can make the argument that NASCAR’s not doing very much to keep you and that their efforts to bring new people in are pushing you away, but they still want you. But in our culture, it just doesn’t look good to have a stereotype of Southern white males as the only people who watch the sport.

“After watching Daytona, what one thing did you see wrong with the new car, if any?” –Jesse

It’s way too early to tell, but I really, really, don’t like how the cars drafted the three times they were in race conditions over the weekend. Aside from the crash, the Nationwide Series race was the best of the weekend because it offered a perfect variety of tandem and pack racing. I’d love to see that kind of competition at Daytona in the Sprint Cup Series again.

One of the few photos in existence that shows the new Gen-6 car not in a parade line at Daytona. Expect some tweaks to come by Talladega.

I still see people making the argument that the drivers were just gun shy after the Saturday crash and because of the lack of resources available for the Gen-6 race car in case of a wreck. I’d believe that if it wasn’t the Daytona freaking 500! I didn’t expect the race to be three and four-wide the entire time, but single file up until almost the very end? I just don’t believe it. It has to be the Gen-6 model. I’ll give the car a few more races on restrictor plate tracks and see if it’s just something the drivers need to figure out before I pass final judgment. Right now, though, I just don’t like it.

Ask me this question again after the first few races on intermediates, though. That’s when the answer will really count.

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racinsince55
02/28/2013 11:29 AM
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“You can’t win people over who just simply aren’t interested.”

This is the absolute truth.

GinaV24
02/28/2013 01:28 PM
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racin – that is so very true.

SimpleM
02/28/2013 04:53 PM
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Another 1/2 inch of spoiler and the Gen6 cars would have had the same race style as the Nwides did on Saturday.