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What Will NASCAR Look Like in 2032?

My Frontstretch writing career stretches all the way back to 2008, a full decade-and-a-half, and almost without exception at the start of every season, I’ve written some derivation of a “another year and it’s all change” style column.

This year, more than most in recent memory, that was certainly the case. And so far, based on the action on track, it’s proved to be the case and we’re not even a third of the way through the season. Perhaps this year we finally get to more than 16 winners in the regular season, but I feel like we’ve been saying that for a while too.

So, it got me thinking. What does our beloved sport look like in 10 or so years’ time? What are the innovations and changes we’ll see? Where might we be racing? Where will we still be racing? And with that in mind, I’m going to dust off my crystal ball and look ahead to NASCAR in 2032 and ponder just what sort of a series we might be looking at.

See also
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International Races:
For my first prediction I’m going to say by 2032 we’ll be looking at somewhere between two and three races scheduled outside of the country. A race in Canada or Mexico would be a logical first step but I think the sport looks further afield. Japan, Australia and London all spring to mind. Remember, the NFL has had great success with regular season home games in England so I’m betting on this being the case for NASCAR, despite the somewhat insular nature of the sport.

Ride with your favorite driver:
By 2032, my guess is that you’ll be able to ride along and see (and feel to some extent) exactly what your favorite driver experiences. This will include multiple camera angles, all the relevant audio links and I’m guessing some sort of rig you can sit with mimics all the various driver inputs (steering/throttle/brakes etc.) In short, you’ll be able to experience your favorite driver’s race in ways that we can only imagine right now.

Customized Races:
As streaming becomes the norm and the vast cable conglomerates go the way of Blockbuster Video, my guess is you’ll be able to watch the race in whatever format and length of time you want. A 15-minute summary and the final 20 laps? You got it? Just the highlights? Done. A 10-minute package per segment? Also done. In short, however and in whatever format you watch the race, you’ll be able to do just that. Content proliferation on a level we’ve not even begun to scratch the surface of in other words.

A Condensed Schedule:
Right now, the NASCAR schedule is an absolute beast. Thirty-six races plus the Clash and the All-Star Race over 10 months doesn’t feel sustainable over the long-term, especially with attention spans getting shorter and the sheer availability of other things in terms of viewing options. My guess is by 2025, we’ll be looking at a schedule in the 25-race range, maybe even a little less. It won’t happen overnight but I can’t imagine we’re racing for 10 months and 38 races in 2025.

Shorter Races:
Simply put, the four hour-plus time period needed to watch a race will become untenable. I think there will still be a place for a few longer races like the Daytona 500, but shorter races will become the norm. Perhaps some form of sprint or heat races too to keep up interest. But I can’t imagine Cup drivers are running anything like the mileage they will in 2022 in 10 years time.

Unexpected Race Tracks:
My bet is there will be one to two races a year in unexpected locations. We saw a harbinger of this already this season with the successful race at the Coliseum and it wouldn’t surprise me to see this sort of move become even more common. I could see street courses in epic locations, events involving NFL stadiums, perhaps even a race on the beach somewhere harkening back to the roots of the sport. With a man like Ben Kennedy at the helm, I’m imagining we’ll see more and more of this in the coming years, perhaps as soon as next season.

See also
The Underdog House: Michael McDowell Looks Like Dirt Veteran at Bristol

A New Format to Crown the Champion:
Across NASCAR history, we’ve seen multiple different formats to crown a champion and my guess it that in 10 years time the powers that be will have dreamed up a new way to anoint the season champ. Clearly, the game seven moment has stopping power, but that doesn’t mean it is definitely here to stay. Nothing ever is. As the old adage goes, the only constant in life is change and that’s as true for NASCAR as it is anything else.

And finally, I’m going to take a shot at who I think might win some titles in the upcoming years. I’m betting Kyle Larson has multiple crowns, as does Chase Elliott. Joey Logano will earn another, William Byron will win one and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Denny Hamlin finally win the title that has so long eluded him. Of those up and coming, my guess is Tyler Reddick picks up a title as might Austin Cindric. In the lower echelons, I’m betting Ty Gibbs will get a shot at a Cup crown and maybe Chandler Smith too.

Let me know what you think below on both topics.

About the author

Danny starts his 12th year with Frontstretch in 2018, writing the Tuesday signature column 5 Points To Ponder. An English transplant living in San Francisco, by way of New York City, he’s had an award-winning marketing career with some of the biggest companies sponsoring sports. Working with racers all over the country, his freelance writing has even reached outside the world of racing to include movie screenplays.

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janice

i’ll be surprised if nascar is around in 2032. 10 yrs is a long time into the future. if they’re around, they’ll probably be racing electric vehicles.

Bill B

I was shocked that electric cars wasn’t one of the predictions. That seems like a better bet than any of the predictions Danny made.

Larry Bennett

I’d be surprised if the world still exists in 10 years!

Last edited 3 months ago by Larry Bennett
Bill B

International races – Yeah let’s raise the cost of traveling for the teams so that no one can attend or watch the race in other countries as well.

Ride with your favorite driver – you will be able to see every angle up close just like bumper cams (coming soon: colon cam LOL), but you still won’t be able to see what’s actually going on in the race. .

Customized races – we have that now, it’s called a DVR.

A condensed schedule – seems contrary to having international races and that would mean less revenue overall.

Shorter races – that is already happening so that is not a prediction

Unexpected race tracks – the figure 8 track, it’s coming

New format to crown champion – this would have been a bold and correct prediction in 2000, now it’s like predicting Tuesday on Monday as we have had many iterations of the championship since the demise of the original Latford format.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bill B
John

Great thought-provoking article. A condensed schedule is necessary just to stay out of football seasons. Putting together a 3 race package that are close in geography that includes a mid-week show, like Charlotte, Martinsville and Darlington with shuttle buses front a camp site at the Charlotte track would be a great way to spend a week’s vacation and see 3 races live. the Pocono double header was a big success at the track, but didn’t give an uptick in TV ratings. The Clash and the All Star Race are unnecessary. A 32 race schedule with a couple doubles and a couple of mid-week shows can accomplish the goal of gaining separation from football.
I do see a need for Nascar to embrace electric vehicles. Since every manufacturer in the world has a small SUV with a plan to make it electric, I would replace either trucks or Xfinity with an electric SUV class which avoided Superspeedways. This could attract new manufacturers and could maintain the interest and relevance to current manufacturers.
Shorter races, particularly mid-week or dual race weekends, could make this concept acceptable. Twin 200’s at Martinsville or Nashville Fairgrounds has a
cool ring to it. But shorter races require some flexible thinking on stages as some of them are already comically short.
And Nascar plus the tracks need to take on the challenge of shortening the yellow flag times. The multiple laps lost on every yellow is completely unacceptable. It appears that there is a fixed time required for commercials. This is the tradeoff…the breaks are so long that I go channel surfing. Another option is to not count caution laps. An issue I have with the ‘flexible schedule’ concept is that many have to plan vacations well in advance with their employer’s approval. With late schedule releases, our family may decide to go to Yellowstone by the time I know when the race at Michigan is.
I like the diversity of the current schedule, but staying out of football season is vital to survival.
And so is opening up the box in which tuning is possible for the teams. The short tracks suck this year because there is no wheel spin coming off the corners. And this crap of bashing people out of the way to pass is just that…crap. If that is what the fans want, then add a figure 8 race to the schedule or give them points for every car they can disable.
But the core question that will keep or lose my interest is whether this is a “sport” or “entertainment.” The easy answer is “both.” But if all decisions are made in the interest of entertainment alone, the sport will disappear.

john dawg chapman

The Clash will be held at a Go Kart track on Long Island.

Bill B

Good one!!!!!

John

Going international would be the doom of NASCAR. It’s an American sport, period. I used to be an avid Indy-style racing fan, but the advent of road races, particularly street races, and the influx of foreign drivers has left me cool. If NASCAR heads in the same direction, well . . . . The best racing today is at the local short tracks, both paved and dirt. I have yet to see a boring race at these venues. NASCAR and Indy Car often become boring to watch.

janice

10 years from now we’ll have a harvick, bowyer, and busch probably still in the series…….keelan harvick, cash bowyer and brexton busch. i doubt any earnhardt, as jr’s wife probably would not let her daughters anywhere near a race car to race. maybe earnhardt-miller, as kelly’s son is racing now.

Josh

I think NASCAR needs to continue its forward movement to its roots….not cut races because teenboppers staring at Snapchat/Instagram/Tinder porn using Daddy’s money don’t work on cars because they have Uber. That’s exactly what would be expected. NASCAR is unique for the length of the season and races. I started watching when the car parts BROKE all the time but each race was still 500 miles. Now we have crap that last longer because of metal alloys and you guys are talking of shortening races? My ass. Still needs to be a man’s sport (and women that like horsepower) not some candy coated packaged Internet addicted society crap like the 38407958924752893745632879 Star Trek series, etc.Going to other countries? Great, but CONTINUITY is important for a sport. How long has the NFL had 4 downs? Stop changing the hallmarks of what made NASCAR unique and people will come back–as they are doing this year as the sport goes back to that early 90s type stuff with short tracks and plain good racing. And for fair-weather fans that whine and whine and whine….go watch something else–you have 438952783465287934 streaming services and d89370589271384 channels and t48937r893473 tons of internet and 38927e53983264287934 dollar phone bills all you need is a flip phone. Spend some money on tickets like I do and experience the race….in PERSON.

DoninAjax

Remember the races in Japan?

janice

Yes I do and that opened the door to other international nascar races. Huge expense. But we do have Toyota in the sport now.

Steven Batti

Not even close…can’t believe you ever talked to a real racing fan. As someone who has gone to and followed racing (open wheel and stock cars) for over 65 years you really missed the mark. So the #1change…Hybrid Cars in the near future with regenerative braking. BTW if you want shorter races and fewer events…go to your local track.

Lee

Mr. Peters, Your question is, what will NASCAR look like in 2032. I have my doubts that NASCAR will be around in 2032. One reason may very well be because of the environmental agenda. They do not want for us to have any form of automobile transportation, period. So if they get their way, there will be no automobile racing, period.

However, barring that from happening, NASCAR may not exist, as a series/sanctioning body. The present, so called, leadership of NASCAR is very anti-stock car racing. With this new car, NASCAR has cut all ties to stock car racing and to it’s past. steve phelps, a liar, so fluent in lying that he should be a government politician, stated, clearly, when they were in the process of deciding what the new car would be made the public statement, when asked what this car would be, “Well, we could go back to racing stock cars, but we don’t want to do that.” Prior to that statement, he said, “We realize that we took our long time, loyal fan base for granted and ignored them and their wants and needs. We will not make that mistake again.” Then, he and NASCAR doubled-down exactly on doing just that! He/they “kicked us to the curb”, and drove the last of us remaining, away, for good. That new car is a bastardized road-racing car. It is a cross between a GT-3, an Australian V8 Supercar and an indycar. It bears nothing in common with a stock car. Jim France is an advocate of road-racing and has not ever had much interest in stock cars, like his father, Big Bill France and Bill France Jr. had. He has his road-racing series, IMSA. If you will notice, they are adding and will continue to add more road-races to the schedule and it will be at the expense of ovals, they are also set on entering the 24 hours of Lemans and I will dare say other of the endurance road-races as well. Within 10 years, NASCAR will be absorbed into IMSA, as one of it’s classes and what was the NASCAR schedule will become an exclusive road-racing series or a road-racing series with a few “token” oval races thrown in. Most of the remaining ovals will be converted into road-courses, as was done with Charlotte, and those that can’t will be dropped altogether for other road-courses and street-courses. NASCAR really should change their name to the National Association for Sport Car Auto Racing. It would more accurately reflect what NASCAR now is, as it is no longer stock car racing. For 63 years, I ate, slept and breathed stock car racing, but they terminated my fanship, at the conclusion of last season. I have not watch a single race this year, nor have I followed it this season and never will again. NASCAR didn’t/does not want me or other stock car racing fans. They want their “current” casual fans, those that know little to nothing about this sport. Another reason why NASCAR may very well not be around in 2032. Casual fans tend to hang around for a couple of years and then get bored and move on to the next perceived “cool” or new thing. NASCAR drove away their loyal grass roots, hardcore, life-long fan base. We will not be coming back, so when all the “new” fans, that they are catering to so much these days leave, NASCAR is going to find themselves in a serious hurt locker, one that they may not survive. . .

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