Friday, February 19, 2010

The State Of NASCAR: February, 2010

We’re now only one race into the 2010 NASCAR season, but I’ve already seen some encouraging signs that the sanctioning body is on the right track as far as making the racing better and giving the fans a better experience, both the fans at the track and those watching at home on TV.

Before the Daytona 500, NASCAR announced that it was relaxing its rules on bump drafting on the restrictor plate tracks.  True, that’s only 4 races a year, but I believe it shows that NASCAR is finally willing to bend, at least a little, when it comes to changing policies to make the racing more interesting.

NASCAR has also announced the return to the spoiler, forsaking the ugly wing that seems to cause more problems than it solves.  Hopefully, teams that have been frustrated in their attempts to set up the handling on the current incarnation of the race car will find some more familiar ground with the spoiler.  Better handling cars should make more teams competitive in the future.

They Daytona 500 was a good race, when you take the pothole problem out of the equation.  The race itself was up for grabs until the last turn on the last lap, and that’s the way it out to be.  Daytona was just plain good racing.

In my maybe not so humble opinion, the sport has suffered as of late by too many restrictions, too many attempts to even the playing field, and by basically abandoning what makes this sport fun in the first place, which is, of course, good, hard racing.  If the racing is good, finding fans will never be a problem.

In such uncertain financial times, it’s not surprising that many fans simply cannot afford to travel to the race tracks as often as they did in years past.  Hopefully, the economy will recover, and fans will find their way back to the tracks, spend some of their disposable income on souvenirs, and the sport will recover the audience that it seems to have lost in the past couple of years.

NASCAR has the potential to return to its previous greatness, and even surpass what it has been in the past.  The potential is there, but the product has to be good enough to make the fans want to buy tickets and tune in every weekend for the races.  It appears that NASCAR is headed in the right direction, and one hopes they will continue to do so.

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