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NASCAR-on-TV: There's something happening here, but what it is ain't exactly clear...

   Yes, that's CNN-HLN's Robin Meade stomping grapes at Sonoma's Infineon Raceway: yet another twist on the marketing and promotion of NASCAR-on-TV. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern




   Something's happening.
   Just what we're not sure.
   But NASCAR racing is losing a big chunk of its TV audience.
   A big, big chunk the past two months alone, following a general decline.

The decline of course has been well documented over the past year or so, a disturbing trend.
   But not nearly as disturbing as the trend over the first six events of NASCAR's title chase: NASCAR's championship playoff races have seen plummeting numbers of viewers.
   To put it bluntly, NASCAR has lost over a million viewers per race during this year's chase, so far, over last year's playoffs.
   That's a loss of more than 20 percent of its audience over the first six chase events.
   Last fall the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship chase averaged 5.2 million viewers for the first six races; this fall that average has dropped to 4.1 million per race.
   Put another way, last fall a total of 31.4 million viewers watched the first six playoff races; this fall that total number has fallen to 24.6 million.
   By some measures NASCAR may have lost as many as two million viewers over the past two years, for some events.

     Let's look at some of the competition for eyeballs on the couch:
   The World Series is opening this week, and it's San Francisco versus Texas. Wednesday and Thursday on the West Coast; Saturday, Sunday and Monday in Dallas/Fort Worth; then Wednesday and Thursday back on the West Coast. All at night, with 7:30 p.m.-ish ET starts, on Fox.
   The World Series, during Fox' 10 years of coverage, has averaged 19 million viewers per game, for those 53 games. (The baseball playoff games this year averaged about 8.6 million viewers, up a bit from last fall, and the Rangers' Game Six win over the Yankees was the most-watched game of the year, pulling nearly 12 million TV viewers.)
    That's some of NASCAR's competition right now.
    Is it fair to expect NASCAR's own playoffs to be somewhat competitive? Not sure...

     The NASCAR TV control central is filled with a lot of high-dollar equipment, and talented engineers. But is something being lost in the translation to America at large? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   We're not looking to make judgments here (though you can, by adding comments); we're just trying to lay out the numbers and see what's going on.
    NASCAR's season goes on forever (but then baseball teams play 160 games a year). And the NASCAR season divides neatly into the Fox part -- which in 2008 averaged 9.4 million viewers a race, and which in 2010 averaged 7.9 million per race -- and the ABC/ESPN part -- which in 2008 averaged 5.7 million viewers a race, and which in 2010 is so far averaging 4.8 million a race.

   The economy?
   Well, ESPN officials say the loss in numbers isn't related to cable homes versus over-the-air homes.
   And if fans aren't going to the track, then they ought to be on the couch watching.
   We've been pouring over the numbers -- conceding TV networks don't put out all the numbers -- and we're seeing a few things.

   First, as of June 1st, 2008 -- with the Charlotte Coke 600 again kicking the Indy 500 in the ratings, for the eighth straight year -- NASCAR's TV fortunes were on a significant rise over 2007.

   Second, somewhere during the summer of 2008 NASCAR's ratings began a noticeable fall.
   -- The June Sonoma stop in 2007 drew 6.5 million viewers; the next year, 6 million; the next, 5.8 million; this summer, 4.8 million
   -- The July Chicago stop in 2007 drew 6.4 million viewers; the next year, 5.1 million; the next, 4.8 million; this summer, 4.6 million.
   -- And over the much of the rest of the 2008 season the trend continued, at Watkins Glen, Bristol, California, Richmond, Dover, Talladega, Charlotte, Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix (remember the ABC-to-ESPN2 swap for the final miles, so ABC could carry America's Funniest Home Videos?), and Homestead...


     Fox' Steve Byrnes, one of the best in the business. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

  Third, the decline has continued; the NASCAR-on-Fox opening for 2009 season showed a TV audience decline of some 10 percent, from an average 2008 TV audience of 9.4 million down to a 2009 TV audience of 8.5 million. This year Fox averaged 7.9 million. That's a loss of 1.5 million viewers the past two years.
   It's difficult, if not impossible, to get these networks to break down the demographics of all this, though Fox' David Hill has worries about the 18-34 male demographic, which he says NASCAR has been losing in huge numbers.

   Turner's six-race summer stretch (June-July) has shown a similar decline of nearly a million viewers.
   Fourth, the month of August the past several seasons has been pretty steady. However a noticeable blip on the charts has come in early September. The Labor Day weekend California 500 in 2007 drew 6.4 million; the Atlanta 500 this year that same weekend drew 5.5 million. The Richmond 'playoff clincher' in 2007 drew 6.8 million viewers; this year's event drew 5.3 million. How significant are those numbers?
   Sixth, the playoffs. This appears to be the big crunch.
   ABC averaged 5.8 million viewers for 2008's first five chase races (not counting the Martinsville rain); ABC average 5.2 million viewers for 2009's first six chase races. This fall ESPN is carrying the chase (except for the Saturday night races, like at Charlotte), and it is averaging only 3.9 million viewers so far. Making that issue stand out so starkly, perhaps, is that the Charlotte Saturday night 500 on ABC drew 5.3 million viewers.
    Since ABC uses essentially the same TV crew that ESPN uses, the production itself would not appear to be that much of a factor.
    It would appear possible that NASCAR on ESPN is simply getting lost in all the sports noise that ESPN carries on its many channels.
    Is NASCAR simply not getting strong TV promotion for the playoffs?
    Are the deluge of commercial blocks aggravating NASCAR fans?
    Did the Indianapolis tire debacle in the summer of 2008 turn off too many fans?
    Did NASCAR's car-of-tomorrow, which debuted full-time for the 2008 season, amid considerable driver resistance and controversy, turn off too many fans?
    And has Jimmie Johnson's amazing championship run -- 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009...and leading with four to go in 2010 -- turned off too many fans?
    One thing does seem clear: the action on the track this season, right from the git-go, has been hot and frantic and furious. The product seems to be working just fine, as we even saw at California a few weeks ago.
    What is missing then?
    And how to solve the problem?
   After all, it's only 41 days until Daytona 500 tire tests are to get underway on that new $20 million-plus asphalt.

     TV analyst and former racer Wally Dallenbach (R), but that doesn't look like Alan Bestwick. Maybe NASCAR lost something big here when it couldn't renew with NBC. After all, in the 2006 NASCAR championship chase NBC's broadcasts averaged 7.2 million viewers a race....while ESPN/ABC this fall is averaging only 4.8 million viewers...and ESPN's own five playoff races are averaging just 3.9 million viewers. That's a pretty big dropoff. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   Here are some numbers of NASCAR viewers (in Millions), not counting rainouts:

                                    2008           2009              2010

   This is the Fox part of the TV schedule
   Daytona                    17.8m         15.9m          13.3m
   California                  10.9m         10.2m            9.1m
   Las Vegas                12.1m         11.1m            7.2m
   Atlanta                      10.5m          8.8m             8.5m
   Bristol                         8.9m          7.4m             7.4m
   Martinsville                 8.7m          7.4m              --
   Phoenix                      7.2m          6.0m              5.9m
   Texas                         8.6m          7.4m               --
   Talladega                   9.0m          8.1m              8.5m
   Richmond                   7.3m          6.6m              6.2m
   Darlington                  7.8.m          6.7m             6.9m
   Dover                         6.8m           6.0m             5.8m
   [All-Star (Speed)        2.7m           2.7m              2.5m]
   Charlotte                   7.6m            --                   6.5m   
   Average:                    9.4m           8.5m              7.9m

   This is the TNT part of the TV schedule:
   Pocono                      6.1m            5.5m              5.3m
   Michigan                    5.1m           5.1m               4.3m
   Sonoma                     6.0m            5.8m              4.8m
   New Hampshire          5.5m            5.6m              4.9m
   Daytona                      6.4m           5.3m              6.1m
   Chicago                      5.1m           4.8m              4.6m
   Average:                     5.7m           5.5m              4.8m

   This is the ESPN/ABC part of the TV schedule:
   Indianapolis                6.7m            6.5m               5.7m
   Pocono                       6.2m             --                   6.3m
   Watkins Glen              4.8m             --                   4.9m
   Michigan                     5.3m            5.6m               4.9m
   Bristol (Sat/ABC)         5.0m            5.3m               5.8m
   Atlanta                        5.7m (Cal)    5.8m               5.5m
   Richmond (Sat/ABC)   --                 5.5m               5.3m
   New Hampshire           6.1m(ABC)   5.0m(ABC)     3.7m(ESPN)
   Dover                         5.3m(ABC)    5.0m(ABC)     3.9m(ESPN)
   Kansas City                5.7m (ABC)   5.3m (ABC)    3.7m (ESPN)
   California                    6.0m (ABC)   5.9m (ABC)    4.1m (ESPN)
   Charlotte (Sat/ABC)    6.0m             5.5m               5.3m
   Martinsville                   --                 4.7m (ABC)    3.9m (ESPN)
   Average:                     5.7m             5.5m               4.8m


     ESPN heading to Talladega SuperSpeedway for Round Seven of the 10-race championship chase (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

One thing that drove me away

One thing that drove me away from TV is we can't hear the announcers. I mean they must have microphones scattered all around the track, and all we hear is the roar of the cars. I mean ESPN needs no announcers now. The roar of the cars covers up everything they say! Its nuts!

"Appears to be a long

"Appears to be a long time
Such a long, long, long, long time before the dawn"

CSN may be prophets for NASCAR since it is going to take awhile to turn this baby around. The problem of falling TV ratings is parallel to falling attendance at the track. Indeed, live attendance is much worse than admitted to by NASCAR. Race attendance figures seem to be inflated as evidenced by the excellent investigative report that the Pocono Record newspaper did when comparing the official NASCAR attendance figures at Pocono to a physical count done taken from photographs taken from the air over the track (there were actually about half the number claimed to be present). The factors that Mike listed are certainly responsible to the drop in interest in NASCAR; additionally I would list poor marketing of the stars (how many fans could pick Harvick or Hamlin out of a line up??), lack of defined colorful personalities (we need more Kyle Buschs and DWs), and overly long races (the middle 100 laps at the cookie cutter tracks subtract from the event unless you like naps during the race). And I beg to differ on the excitement value of the races; something, and it sure isn't clear, is missing. The #1 error was the Chase format which seems to be a focal point for dissatisfaction with NASCAR. I expect at least another two years of declining ratings and more unless NASCAR moves right away with a new marketing plan that can sow the seeds for a return to the glory days.

I don't think you can finger

I don't think you can finger just one thing, but it's the cumulative effect that has affected the numbers. The COT hasn't exactly set the world on fire. No point in cheering for any manufacturer, since all the cars are now Nascar cars. The 43 fastest cars no longer race. The chase doesn't seem to have enthralled anyone but the media. Trying to make racing like every other sport isn't the smartest move. Diluting the Nationwide series with Cup drivers hasn't helped, since it keeps good young talent from ever getting ahead. I gave up season tickets to Bristol after 8 years...not because I couldn't afford to go, but since the COT, the chase, and the 'new' track, Bristol isn't Bristol anymore. Fighting to stay awake in the stands at Bristol just doesn't make me want to go back, and that's something I NEVER thought would happen. With the new corporate spokesmen driving these days, I don't find much difference in most of the drivers. Which may go a long way to explaining Junior's appeal in spite of his slump on track. Having it all be about the money doesn't help. Having the leader after the 'regular season' doesn't give me excitement for the end of the season. Quite frankly, after almost 30 years of being a fan and configuring my weekends around racing, I just don't care anymore.

I think there are numerous

I think there are numerous reasons for the decline. Not one thing could cause such a precipitous drop-off. I could go on for pages, but won't. Here's a list of reasons for the decline in my opinion (in no particular order):
1- The COT is awful. The splitter, the wing. Hideous. I do appreciate the safer aspects however.
2- No brand identity. Hard to blame Nascar for this really. But the lack of a manufacturer "feud" isn't helping.
3- Toyota. Again, I can't blame Nascar here either. But really, what die-hard Nascar fan is getting excited about Toyota? Answer, none.
4- The networks. Fox, TBS, ABC and ESPN are not doing Nascar any favors. The race production is bland and very predictable.
5- Race announcers. Simply pathetic. If you can honestly sit through four hours of DW and Larry Mac without the remote control in your hands, you must be deaf.
6- Endless dumb commercials. Why are there 20-30 Nascar commercials played during the race? Just ridiculous.
7- The Chase. Dumbest idea of all time. The debate on this is endless but the season cannot be broken down this way. It just doesn't work. Think about it, you can't compare JJ's 4 cups with Cale's. No way around it.
8- Shorten the season. Cut 3 or 4 weekends out and end the season a little earlier. That way you don't go head to head as much with the NFL and the World Series.
9- Stop trying to compete with the NFL. It's dumb and leads to dumb decisions.
10- Two races at Phoenix, Loudon and Kansas. None at the Rock and one at Darlington? Who makes the schedule, morons?
11- Labor Day = Darlington. If you don't know that, you should not be allowed to watch racing much less work for Nascar.
12- Simplify the points system somewhat. You need a Doctorate in mathematical science to understand it.
13- Integrity, Nascar doesn't have any. Stop lying to the fans. Stop throwing bogus caution flags. Stop with the bogus fines and enforce the rules evenly. This is perhaps the biggest reason they are losing hard-core fans.
14- My biggest irritation, the "Lucky Dog Rule". Absolutely moronic. Nothing is "given" in racing. No racing back to the yellow, that's fine, if you were behind the leader when the yellow flies, you stay behind him. Restart the cars in the same order.
15- Double-file restarts skew the racing. It's not how Nascar was designed to function. It only works because of the Lucky Dog nonsense. Get rid of it.
16- Go back to basics Nascar.
17- Get rid of the networks. Start a Nascar channel and broadcast the races on it. Then you can control the commercials and make all the coin.
18- Lastly, green-white-checkered finishes. Get rid of 'em. Another dumb idea. It's called the Daytona 500 for a reason. Not because the t-shirts look cool. Question, who wins the 1998 Daytona 500 or the 1976 500 or the 1979 500 under the current set of rules? Answer, who knows and better yet, who would care? Because it would be contrived any other way. Just like today's races are.

There's more but these are the important ones...


Breaking down Anonymous

Breaking down Anonymous Mike's list of 18 -

1 - The COT is a failure. Period. The safety aspects are overrated because they're adaptable to the old car and as we saw at Pocono the biggest safety aspect - the speed of the cars - goes unaddressed by the COT.
2 - Brand identity began dying in the 1960s and it simply evolved away. It can't be resurrected.
3 - Toyota was inevitable.
4 - Is there a network you'd prefer, Mike? You need to provide some specifics on these issues.
5 - Which announcers would you prefer?
6 - The reason for so many commercials is they have to pay for the inflated rights fees paid by the networks.
7 - The Chase concept is a failure. Period.
8 - The season does not need to be cut. Period.
9 - NASCAR competed with the NFL in racing demographics in the 1970s and 1980s and 1990s; that's not the problem.
10 - Racing demographics explain why Phoenix, Loudon, and Kansas have two dates - those are superb demographics. Rockingham and Darlington are not. It's that simple. Throw in that Rockingham and Darlington are outdated facilities and you can't justify having more than one Darlington date and no Rockingham dates.
11 - Labor Day no longer equals Darlington. It's the real world of today, not the myth of the past.
12 - Okay, so what is your recommendation for simplifying the point system, Mike?
13 - And you know for a fact those bogus caution flags are bogus? I agree there are absurd biases in NASCAR's enforcement of rules and it can't provide an objective justification for all the rules that take away control of the racing and give that control to the officiating tower, but Anon, you're going too far here.
14 - The Lucky Dog has no justification; not racing to the stripe can't be justified, either. The safety argument for freezing the field is bogus and proven again by this recent Diehard 500 finish.
15 - Double-file restarts have been a huge success. Anon is flat wrong; far from skewing the racing, they intensify it and open up the passing.
16 - "Go back to basics, NASCAR." Mike is once again avoiding provision of specifics. It doesn't work as an argument.
17 - "Get rid of the networks." And the TV money is coming from where? Mike is just being foolish.
18 - Green-white-checkered finishes have worked. Mike loses credibility altogether here. "Who wins the 1998 Daytona 500 under the current set of rules?" Bobby Labonte, because he would have taken the lead. That's not a contrivance, that's racing. GWC finishes are better racing. That's not an opinion, that's a fact.

Issue 1 - Coverage as opposed

Issue 1 - Coverage as opposed to talking heads - I'd rather listen to the radio coverage. The only advantage TV has over the radio is when they actually go to a cutaway car to show the mechanical set up and "technology."

Issue 2 - Technology and the car - Truck parts on race cars? Carburetors? When is the last time you drove a car with a carburetor?

Issue 3 - No brand identification. I enjoy watching Daytona prototype racing more because they are actually honest about their racing. Their racing is "motor" racing and the bodies are just for cool aerodynamics.

Issue 4 - Races are too long (wait for Talladega), "mystery" cautions, no innovation allowed, too many races screwed up by fuel mileage. C'mon man, it's racing. Oh, I forgot the last issue. NASCAR is not good for racing.

I think its a myriad of a lo

I think its a myriad of a lo of things. But easily the top matter is probably the fact that the telecasts show only the chasers or maybe the top 10 drivers. Even if my driver would drop out of the race,at least the old 90's broadcasts would still show almost all other drivers and their situations. Now,you get Jimmie and Jeff and more Jimmie and some more Jimmie and ...HEY! look its Jimmie!. YAWN. Have fun with that new TV contract NASCAR. Some of us long time watchers found out we dont need you on Sundays after all!

I don't think it is a matter

I don't think it is a matter of losing fans and viewership; rather, it is what viewers and fans that NASCAR has now has "righted" itself. I don't have the numbers, but when it was a "regional" sport and shown on cable...I'd say the recent numbers are pretty close to what those numbers were. I started paying attention to NASCAR in '84...and no one I knew watched it or even knew what it was.

Fast forward to 2004. You go to a mall and see stuff for sale. TV commercials with drivers...with crew chiefs.

Now...the hardcore NASCAR folks still pay attention. The general public who tuned in for a few years (quite frankly, to watch 43 cars circle a track for 3+ hours takes dedication) saw this, grew tired, and moved on to something else.

What is killing NASCAR isn't declining television ratings....it is the fact the entire NASCAR economic ecosystem was like the housing bubble---money flowed in because the ratings were there, and the ratings were there because people wanted to see what all the hubbub was...but the product just isn't good enough to sustain the ratings....and so people have drifted away.

You have to want to follow NASCAR. It doesn't suck you in for life like a NFL franchise, because teams change, sponsors change, drivers change, manufacturers change. The Pittsburgh Steelers will always be the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hendrick Motorsports someday will cease to exist.

The ugly IROC car, the chase,

The ugly IROC car, the chase, Johnson's dominance over the the so-called championship that is now decided over 10 races, not the full season, the predominance of racetracks that are too similar to one another and produce the same follow the leader racing until NASCAR throws a trumped up caution to bunch the field up so they can have an "exciting" finish. Which is what they did at Fontana by the way.

And then you have the TV coverage, Fox did a very good job of coverage when they started out, but in the past 2-3 years, they have descended into far too much favoritism for particular drivers and manufacturer's and are more interested in being silly than showing the race. It is a turnoff for many of the fans. ESPN bills itself as the worldwide leader in sports, but disrespects NASCAR. I like Allen Bestwick a lot, but Rusty and Brad have a serious conflict of interest when they are in the booth with cars that they own on the track. ESPN also prefers to focus on their idea of what the script for the race should be instead of just broadcasting the race as it occurs.

I used to watch every minute of NASCAR coverage, now I don't. There's a limit to what I can endure over a 4 hr period between commercials and terrible camera and production choices. I no longer watch ANY pre-race shows as it has become either total pre-produced or Kenny Wallace telling the race fans what we SHOULD think. Sorry, Kenny, I decide what I think - I prefer to trust my own eyes and thought processes than anything that NASCAR or even my favorite driver tells me when I think it is bogus.

NASCAR has promised it wanted to get back to basics, well, they haven't delivered on it. The COT was supposed to allow for side by side racing and lessen the aero advantage for the leader. that didn't work. I don't want to watch high speed parades for 470 laps to have the race decided by a caution thrown for "debris" to make it exciting at the end.

How about ending the experiment with both the ugly car and the chase? Maybe some of the fans will come back IF the racing is worth watching again -- both on TV and at the track.

I have no idea why NASCAR has

I have no idea why NASCAR has so much trouble figuring this out. A generic car on (most of the time) generic 1.5 mile cookie-cutter tracks, driven by generic drivers "the (fill in the blank) car was really strong today", with a 4 time generic champion. And why should I bother watching the race, when I can see the highlights for the next 24 hours after the race on Victory Lane, or NASCAR Now, or The Speed Report, or NASCAR Race Hub. A 36 race season consisting of a generic product that takes 3 hours to complete every weekend, in today's ADHD world? That, boys and girls, is a recipe for declining interest and declining ratings.

The product is terrible.

The product is terrible. Plain and simple. Boring race cars on tracks that provide boring racing does not give people much incentive to watch a race on tv, much less go to one in person.

And until Nascar stops trying to compete with the NFL, things aren't going to change. Nascar will never surpass the NFL so they need to get over that obsession and just worry about their sport. They have a tough time with that as it is. Nascar is not a stick and ball sport so stop trying to be like one. It turns people off.

If Nascar is really taking that much of a beating with all the other sports going on right now, then shorten the schedule. Its not rocket science.

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apropos of nothing other than

apropos of nothing other than the photo at the top of the story...


I recall back when the COT was brought up asking a nascar type why one would model a business after IROC when IROC was a commercial disaster. I also recall the blank stare I got as my answer.

I also think that what you're seeing is the last of the gas that RJR brought to the table being used. there's not a real marketer left in the game --- which is a shame given the volume of alleged marketers on the payroll --- including the head of nascar.


A great 10 lap start followed

A great 10 lap start followed by a short 3hr. nap, only to wake up just in time for a bogus caution and that always thrilling Green/White/Checker finish.Hey in playoff baseball you get 2 on 2 out and the hitter sitting on a 3-2 count in the middle of the 5th. Will he strike out ?, get a hit?, maybe even a game changing home run?, who knows but I can assure you they will not be going to commercial. In the NFL how many times during a game do we see 3rd or 4th and inches?, can they make it ?, will they go for it?. I don't know but I'll stay till the end just to see. Almost all the races digress into a snoozefest. Shorten the event into a 2 to 2 1/2hr show with a 5 minute lead-in and a 5 minute outro to close it out. It's hard to sit through the 24hrs of Pocono where the fans suffer as much boredom as the competitors. Let 'em make a couple of stops to keep the pit-crew awake and keep some similence of strategy. 4 plus hrs. is waaaaaaaaay too long to keep any kind of drama as part of the telecast and don't worry 'bout the cars going in a circle, heck the announcers are talking in circles after the first 1/2 hour. Glenn

Glenn, then make the races

Glenn, then make the races like Talladega, where they have no choice but to go for the lead no matter what lap it is. The events don't need to be shortened. Pocono is not a boring race, either.

Since they took the

Since they took the manufacturers out and all this team concept of four cars came about, the show is just not that interesting to my demographic. Of course I am a fan from the early sixty's and no longer equate the current cars with STOCK cars anyway. That said, my demographic is not that relevant anymore either.

Drivers, owners, track owners etc. are trying to stay employed with what they know and what has worked in the past. It is all about the money and sponsors and keeping the status quo. Cookie cutter drivers/cars/owners play up to NASCAR because of the money and espouse the company line because they are trying to KEEP THE GOLDEN GOOSE ALIVE.

The NEW FANS Nascar is trying to attract are a different generation.
Most of this new generation are not interested in cars or racing because they want smart phones and are texting their friends and socializing on Facebook or downloading new Apps. They just DON'T CARE ABOUT CARS. Don't know a hubcap from a camshaft or a swaybar from a sparkplug. Aren't interested in working on their own car or even need to. Buying a car is like buying a refrigerator for them. (Most new cars are COT cookie cutter cars too). Some buy a set of wheels or change the sound system but few will tweak their engines. Of course there are a few in the new generation that are interested and will spend their money for hardcore Hot Rod parts, but the majority are not. This is the real reason for NASCAR’s gyrations and eventual irrelevance for most viewers.

1 - A lot of people dvr the

1 - A lot of people dvr the race so they can also watch football.
2 - a lot of people dvr the race because the weather is beautiful in the south this time of year.
3 - there weren't as many dvr's even a couple of years ago as there are now.

Also, the other things that everyone else is griping about is also true. The fact of the matter is that a lot of the people who walked away from the sport, weren't really the core fans anyway. They were swept up by the fad.

That doesn't mean the NASCAR and TV shouldn't get their act together. They definitely should (who was the genius that thought that auto racing fans didn't care what the car looked like anyway?)

I have been chewing on this

I have been chewing on this quite a while. And while most announcers and pundits have avoided the issue, I finally heard the gang at Showtimes "Inside NASCAR" tackle it briefly at the end of this season. While I am sure the current national economic condition is relivant, the biggest problem I see (touched on in a previous post here) is the so called COT platform. Absolutly NO brand itentity! And the car itself is a butt-ugly box! Did you hear that Mr. France? The previous car said, Look at me, I'm FAST!!! The prev. car had a noticeable manufacturer identity to it. But besides that, the car is just plain UGLY. And stop throwing the SAFETY thing at us. Some incredibly violent crashes were walked away from in the Natiowide series. The new front end from Nationwide might be a slight improvement to the Cup cars, but the nationwide cars in general have been ruined! And I have probably bought my last ticket for a race at Texas because of the new car. The sport is way too much into having celebrity drivers instead of the "good-ole-boys" that used to drive. Stop treating the drivers like celebrities and get them more involved with the fans. ie. Carl going into the stands after a win. Put a muzzle on that little whinebag Kyle Busch. Hey NASCAR.... Wake up and realize that the buttugly box of rocks you put on the track is turning fans off!!!!!

everybodys tired of jimmie

everybodys tired of jimmie johnson thats why i miss dale earnhardt the most he could take away all those so called championships!!!!!!!!!!!

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