Hey NASCAR, this is your average everyday fan here. I work a 5 (sometimes 6) days a week. I’m a husband and father of 3. I like racing, football, college basketball, hunting, and hanging in my garage. I am your normal everyday guy that loves to watch racing. Am I the smartest person in the world? Bahahahaha, No! But in this topic I know what I am talking about.
With the rumor swirling around that the France family might finally be out of NASCAR opens up the opportunity to finally right the ship. There are many issues I see at this point but one of the biggest in my opinion is the schedule. So what is wrong with it?
First of all the season is WAY too long. The days of being able to keep a fans attention for 36 races, an All Star race, and a few weeks off is just not going to happen anymore. The average fan today is not what the average fan was 20 years ago. You could keep the attention of the normal fan for 10 months back then. That is not the way your average person wants to follow a sport anymore. It also lessens the demand for the product. Take a look at football. It’s the most popular sport yet they haven’t added games to the schedule in eons. Less is more in some cases.
Next issue is timing of the way the schedule is set up. You have some fantastic races early in the year. Problem is most of the fans just came off a season of watching football and want to take a break on some Sunday’s. Not only that their wife wants them to take some Sunday’s off! Then NASCAR packs a ton of good races early in the year that unfortunately compete with college basketball and the start of baseball. Then we hit the summer. NBA is finishing up. There is no football going on. Baseball is in dog days of summer. Point is a sport like NASCAR has an opportunity. And what do they give us? Pocono twice. Michigan twice. Plate races. Indianapolis. Louden. Two road courses. Point is all those races are absolutely horrendous to watch on tv. You take an opportunity and instead bore the average fan to death. Then in late August you decide to give us a block an great races leading up and into the chase. Problem is people are already excited about watching football on Saturday’s and Sunday’s.
So how do you fix it? I don’t necessarily have the answer but I have some ideas.
- Drop the road course races. the average fan will not even listen to that race. It’s boring and pointless to be on the schedule.
- Drop some of the boring races that we see twice. We don’t need Michigan twice. It used to be that the main Midwest race was Michigan. Then we added Indianapolis. Then Chicago. Then Kentucky. Then Kansas. You have oversaturated the Midwest. We don’t need two Pocono races. Just don’t. Drop a plate races. A plate race is like watching paint dry. Just drop Indianapolis period. We were good before Indi and we will be fine with it out of the schedule.
- Drop some better tracks that have two races. Honestly, do we need a spring Bristol, Martinsville, Richmond, and Texas race? The stands are half full for all of them. Do we need two of them? Remember we want to create demand. I know that’s an unpopular thought but drastic changes are needed. Look at Darlington. Fantastic track and race that fills up every year. If they went to two races I doubt they would fill both races. You can always bring the second race back if demand deems in necessary.
- If the future buyers are going to spend an obscene amount on NASCAR why not spend a little more and buy Rockingham and North Wilksboro? Could you imagine the excitement that would generate? Since moving down to North Carolina three years ago I have ran into a ton of former race attendees who said they quit going when they closed those tracks.
- Move the All-Star race around. I get the idea of having it at the home track. Move it around but keep it in the heart of NASCAR country. Run it at Bristol, Darlington, Richmond, Rockingham, etc… Speaking of changing the venue can we also change the format. No automatic qualifying. Run it like short track Saturday night. Run heat races, last chance qualifiers, and a feature race. Do that Friday night for the trucks and Xfinity cars and Saturday night for the Cup cars.
- Jumble the schedule around. Run Martinsville at night in June or July. They have lights. Utilize them! Do the same with other spring races. Build excitement for the chase throughout the summer. Honestly I am getting tired of bundling up to go watch a Martinsville race. It’s why I don’t go to the spring Bristol race.
- Fix the point system once and for all. If you go to a condensed schedule switch the points back to how they used to be. The current point system sucks. Look at Austin Dillon. He’s been horrible except for one last of the Daytona 500. Should that automatically put a guy in the chase.
- And for the love of God please end the season somewhere in the heart of NASCAR country. If your going to build show the heart of the beginnings of the sport that you care. The last 4 out of 5 races don’t even sniff the Carolinas. Cut a couple months off of the schedule so the weather would be warm enough to end the season here.
There are other things that can be done like creating ways to help people who want to travel from afar to attend the race on a budget, making the cars tougher to drive, and more. Keep going with the deals that help families go for less money. I take my kids to races and the drastic cut in kids prices have helped me to afford races. I think the biggest thing is create demand by instituting less is more. Follow the NFL blueprint. Not only will this create demand it will help teams be able to afford operations.
So my last plea is to the future owners if there is indeed new owners. Go to the fans. Ask why the sport is in this state. Do what the fans want. I think ti will pay dividends in the end.