Dear NASCAR and Fans,
Having been a fan of NASCAR and racing in general for the last 20 years I’ve seen many changes to the sport we love. The cars themselves have gone through many changes just in the past ten years alone. Tracks have been added to the schedule, there dates have been moved, sponsors have changed but the problem still remains the same. The sport to me seems to lack direction.
It became more evident to me that things weren’t getting any better when Greg Biffle commented this weekend that Roush Fenway is dying a slow death. The poor performance of the RFR team at Auto Club Speedway really brought to light a deeper problem in our sport. It’s not a matter of money and resources, Roush has been around for decades. Some have questioned has the introduction to new technology thrown some of our more elder owners a curve ball. I don’t think so. Roush hasn’t forgotten how to run a race team and he certainly hasn’t forgotten how to win races. It can’t be the equipment, the Penske Racing team has already shown success this season. Joey Logano won the Daytona 500 and Brad Keselowski got it done this weekend in Fontana.
NASCAR has outgrown itself. It takes millions of dollars to run a solid team at NASCAR’S top level. The rule packages have been changed so that the cars are all virtually identical. What happened to the old saying of win on Sunday and buy on Monday? The connection is lost between NASCAR and the fan, who is the end consumer. Drivers are forced to be walking and talking PR machines for sponsors and that’s understandable, it pays the bills. NASCAR teams have become small car manufacturing centers. Everything is so precise and precision does cost money. It’s a simple race car assembly line. Whichever team has the best and most resourceful assembly line wins the race.
Fans have complained to some degree that the races in 2015 have been lack luster in terms of entertainment value. With the exception of the Auto Club 400 and the Daytona 500 as a fan and a reporter I’ve got to agree. The gap in the Xfinity cars and the Sprint Cup cars should be wider, but instead it seems to be getting smaller. The problem for NASCAR doesn’t have one solution, the problem has many small solutions and nobody’s giving any thought on how to maintain a solid product through the next economic downturn. The last one was hard enough on the sport, there will be a next one, it’s just a matter of when. As it stands now our primary sponsor will be leaving the sport after the 2016 season. NASCAR has said they are looking at a 10 billion dollar partner over 10 years to pick up the next bill. I see another telecommunications company or technology company grabbing that bill. My question is where and how do they get a return on that investment?
Fans, how would you change our sport? What could NASCAR teams, tracks, drivers, and promoters do to make sure we have a packed house every week? Ticket discounts may not be an option here, remember everyone has got to make money. You should expect to pay when you go to a race track.
So what do we do? How do we fix it so that our kids and grandkids grow old they have a racing product to get excited about?