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It's the last round-up for Mr. Boogity-Boogity-Boogity & Company, and the Fox report card is:

  Charlotte's Coke 600 is the last race of the season for Fox...and next up is NASCAR on TNT (here with L-R Kyle Busch, Marc Fein, Larry McReynolds and Kyle Petty) (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   No, the sky is not falling....but it may be raining: It's the final NASCAR race of the season for Fox, and it comes on mixed notes about the economic state of the sport of stock car racing.
   So this may be a day of reflection, in more ways than one.
   This may be one of the most critical days of the year for the sport....with ABC's Indy 500 and Fox's Charlotte 600 double-header on Memorial Day weekend.
   The world of stock car racing may well be hoping for an exciting lead-in show.
   Yes, we're only 13 races into the 36-race season, but the spring part of the tour is typically strong, much stronger than the fall (despite the September-October-November championship playoffs).  
   And, yes, the racing itself is much better, with 'Boys, have at it,' and drivers 'self-policing' themselves, and double-file restarts, and triple green-white-checkers.
   But the sport dug itself into a hole the very first race, with that two-hour delay to fix a pothole at Daytona, and scheduling head-to-head with the Winter Olympics, which led to weak TV numbers (a 7.7 rating, lowest in years).
   A particularly worrisome number for TV men – and NASCAR execs too – is the somewhat surprising drop in the demographic part of the picture that covers men from 18-to-34. Fox says that segment is off nearly 30 percent from last spring.
   Why....and where did they all go?
   Good questions. (Wonder if any of the guys in the TV booth will man-up and discuss them.)
   Ironically some of the hottest drivers in the sport are Kyle Busch, 25; Denny Hamlin, 29; Joey Logano, just-turned-20; Jimmie Johnson, 34; and Kevin Harvick, 34; and Kurt Busch, 31. And Carl Edwards, though on a cold streak right now, is just 30.
   Certainly some clear role models there.
   To consider:
   -- At this point in the 2008 season, NASCAR's Cup events were averaging 10 million viewers each, with an average 6.1 rating.
   -- At this point in 2009, going into the 600, the numbers were 8.9 million a race, and a 5.4 average.
   -- This spring it looks like Fox will wind up averaging a viewing audience of about eight million...and, ignoring the Martinsville and Texas Monday events, the ratings so far are about 4.9 on average.

   Maybe some of these races are just too long.
   Daytona (not counting the pothole timeout) at 3:47.
   California at 3:31.
   Las Vegas at 2:49.
   Atlanta at 3:59.
   Bristol at 3:20.
   Martinsville at 3:39.
   Phoenix at 3:48.
   Texas at 3:25.
   Talladega at 3:31.
   Richmond at 3:00.
   Darlington at 3:57.
   Dover at 3:06.

   And now Charlotte's Coke 600....which still ran 2:49 last year, despite being cut by rain at just past the halfway mark. The race record here is 3:57; but in 2005 the 600 dragged on for 5:14.

    Is it just the state of the world in general....or the economy still?
    Maybe the rain at Martinsville and Texas were big bummers. Maybe Fox's coverage is part of the problem: Is there enough cross-promotion? Is TV really measuring the issue, or just aggravating things?
    But the All-Star crowd here was a solid 100,000. And yet Speed's own TV ratings of the event were a weak 2.3. That followed Fox' Dover 400 ratings of a weak 3.7, the network's lowest ever Sunday afternoon NASCAR numbers. (NASCAR's All-Star race did beat the NHL's 1.6, but ESPN's NBA game pulled a 4.4, and Fox' MLB game a 3.6.)
    Are things turning around, just slowly, or do NASCAR and its team owners need to do something more? Certainly doesn't look like Jimmie Johnson needs to shoulder much of the blame lately, given the surge by rivals Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
    So....what else could be done?

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   Fox' Darrell Waltrip: one last 'Boogity! Boogity! Boogity!' (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Maybe it's that long time

Maybe it's that long time fans like myself are tired with the sport morphing into something like professional "raslin' ". Scripted wins, artificial drama, and with the little guy, ie Carl Long, being kicked to the curb.

Oh yeah! Boogity, boogity, boogity... Hee Hawww... (we think you're stooopid). Also, let's not forget "Digger".

I quit watching raslin' when I was a teen, not liking my intelligence being insulted.

I've figured out NASCAR. NASCAR is an insult to my intelligence.

NASCAR, you are the weakest link, Good Bye!

I think it was more

I think it was more "scripted" when Bill Jr. was running the show. We used to joke about who was going to get "the call" each week. Maybe scripted is not the right word, but I guess they let rules be abandoned for some cars on those weeks when a driver got a win out of nowhere or "it fit the script" for whatever the story line was that week. Now, though I'm not a Mike Helton fan, it seems less "scripted" than ever. If it was scripted, Earnhardt Jr. might actually win a race and no way they would have let Jimmie Johnson win 4 titles in a row. The good ole days weren't all that great because it was one of a handful of drivers, or less, with a chance to win each week. There have been 7 winners in 13 races, and none of those wins have came from Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, or Jeff Gordon. That's about as much parity as the sport has ever had. Let's hope it continues.

Too few teams are involved.

Too few teams are involved. They need more individual teams. Hendricks, Gibbs, and Childress have too much power in the sport. The need to get back to using real cars, or at least look like one. The IROC series tried this and look what happened to them. The same thing is going to happen to the cup series if things don't change.

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Feel sorry for TNT execs. It

Feel sorry for TNT execs. It will be hard for them to draw tv fans back after the fans have been chased away by Mr. Boogity-Boogity-Boogity and crew. I know that I, for one, probably will never re-establish the "habit" that I once had which was,"NASCAR" is on... everything else is off. That'll never come back, I'm sure. It's not just this year, it's just that the past few years they have been driving me further and further away from the tv. For that I do thank them!

I've always felt NASCAR had

I've always felt NASCAR had their favorite 8 or 10 drivers who are the "poster children" for NASCAR and those same 8 or 10 win week in and week out. If NASCAR truly leveled the playing field why do the same 8 or 10 teams always win?? I love NASCAR racing but do I think the fix is in for NASCAR's 8 or 10 "poster children,".....you bet I do!!!

NASCAR has been dead. Boring

NASCAR has been dead. Boring racing, no personality. It's all about money. Money is fine and the sport needs it, but a single-car team can't even sniff a top ten. The sport's roots were ripped out from under it, and markets with no chance of new fans were targeted.

I'm done with NASCAR, and so are many others.

Although they are ex-racers,

Although they are ex-racers, the Fox commentators insult my intelligence. I KNOW what numbers the cars are............"there goes Dale. Jr. in that EIGHTY EIGHT car on the outside of Jeff Gordon in the TWENTY FOUR..........." akkkkk! I hate that.

The TV commercials are are just as bad..........Carl Edwards picking up his car looking for a drink blah blah blah........Why is EVERYTHING so silly? I've been a fan since 1962, I know my raicng, and this mess that being broadcast by the networks is insulting. MUTE please.

Those race times don't look

Those race times don't look all that longer than an NFL game. And ratings don't look much worse than the drop in attendance -- I remember Dover always having hardly any empty seats. Maybe we have one common problem (boring races) and two unique problems (economy hurting attendance) (fox coverage hurting ratings).

Low ratings are inevitable

Low ratings are inevitable when the most popular driver is almost never seen at the front. There is something seriously wrong either with Jr's attitude/driving or his team. When the most popular driver is sitting in the pits trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist, the only relevant noise is that of TV remotes turning off. Jr's struggles aren't the only concern (my guess for 2011; Knaus is assigned to Jr as a last ditch effort to get him going) as NASCAR is definitely in a major downturn for several reasons. The real kicker was ABC's decision to relegate the NASCAR playoffs to cable...that unfortunately says it all.

The only way I get excited

The only way I get excited from watching NASCAR on TV is to mute the sound and blast MRN/PRN on the radio for race coverage. It's sounds so much more exciting when radio gives the "play-by-play", not playing favorites like Fox's DW for MWR/Toyota or Larry Mac for Yates/Petty/Ford and sometimes RCR. Every race they seems to plug those racing teams at least 5-6 times. Enuff already!

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