I pray the rumors are not true. I really hope the article I read about the delay of the 2018 NASCAR schedule is not true. Please let it be a cruel joke.
The Cleveland Browns have been bad for many years. The Patriots on the other hand have been on top for many years. The Browns have had the chance at the same players, coaches, schedules, and anything else that goes along with making a successful organization. But why have their courses been so different? It starts with leadership. I think leadership in any organization is key. A great leader can turn around a bad company. Likewise, a bad leader can tear down a great organization. The Patriots have had an uncanny ability to set themselves up for many years to come. They see what’s coming well before it happens (insert illegal taping and deflate gate jokes here). Yes they have Tom Brady but don’t forget he was a 7th round pick that was passed by many teams. Yes, they have Bill Belichick but don’t forget where he was fired from a few years before going to New England. You guessed it, Cleveland. While the Patriots have been great the Browns have been the a league bottom dweller. They have made poor decision after poor decision. Worse yet they make the same mistakes that continually hold them back and make them a door mat in the NFL. Luckily for them they are financially build up by the way the NFL distributes money. NASCAR is not so lucky.
So why do I bring this up? In 1994 NASCAR fans filled 250,000 seats inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That’s a lot of fans. In contrast estimates show about 50,000 fans bought a ticket for last years Brickyard race and that was with Gordon making an appearance in the 88 car. That is 200,000 empty seats. So why would NASCAR think the way to save the race is by going away from the oval and making it a road course? Do they honestly think that would change things? No way! So why would you do that? I at least watch the Brickyard 400. Will I watch the road course 400? Not a chance.
So what would you do Bill? Drop the race! Why not? If nobody is watching and nobody is buying a ticket why waste the time? You are in a market that has Michigan and newly added Kentucky and somewhat newly added Chicagoland. There are already too many races. Drop Indy, one Michigan race, one road course, and a couple more tracks with underperforming ticket sales. Knock the season down by 5-7 races. NASCAR ramps up toward the Chase as NFL starts ramping up. They start the Chase as the NFL regular season starts. That’s just not smart. Get a head start on the NFL by a month or so. On top of that end the season and crown a champ at home in Charlotte where it should end. Could you imagine how you could market that to the NASCAR roots!!!
In addition add a nostalgic race once a year in the Carolinas. I keep hearing that there are too many races and it wouldn’t work. I would put it in the summer. The Carolinas do not have a summer race. In fact they have nothing going on in the summer. No college sports. No NFL games. We don’t have a baseball team. So why not a race? Rotate between Rockingham, North Wilksboro, and maybe Nashville Speedway. I think NASCAR would rather have the image if 60,000 full seats vs 200,000 empty seats. We get so excited about the throwback schemes at Darlington. It is one of the great ideas than NASCAR has had over the past few years. But why stop there? I’m not convinced any of the tracks listed above can hold a yearly race but I bet my oldest child that they can fill the stand every couple years.
If one of the answers to the 14 time most popular driver leaving is by changing the Brickyard 400 into a road course race then I am very worried about the leadership that could move the sport forward and not further back.