Sunday, August 23, 2009

My random thoughts on Nascar and the Sharpie 500

Its no big secret, but I have been a Nascar fan for quite a while now. Started in 1990, when I met Dale Sr. not having a clue as to who he was, and he talked about his kids. I followed it a bit over the years, then started really getting into it when Dale Jr started racing Busch Series. Since then I have been a pretty faithful fan. Not a lunatic, like some people out there, who follow his (Dale Jr.) every move, but I watch most of the races, and would love to finally get to watch one in person.

But you know what?

Nascar has gotten extremely BORING lately.

I know, I know that there are people out there that are thinking: "Duh Patty, its always been boring. I don't know what you are thinking to even watch it!"

But I do, and I like it. Or I did.

But Nascar has become a joke, something that the average fan doesn't care to watch.

The race last night in Bristol, appeared on TV at least to be the best attended race of the entire season. I know, I know, Bristol doesn't hold as many fans as other tracks due to its size, but that's my point. Other race tracks in the past have managed to sell out, a LOT. But those tracks are having a hard time getting fans to come to the races. Heck there was talk last night that Atlanta, was going to loose one of thier races next year, because they can't fill the seats.

For a couple of reasons that I can see, as a fan that would love to go to a race, but may not this season.

Reason #1: The cost. For a family of 5 to attend the race in Atlanta we would be looking at a cost of over $200. $236 to be exact. That is just basic seats, no frills, except a hot dog and a soda. (Family 4 pack) I think we could get a better price from the ticket place on base, but I am not sure that it would be that big of a savings.

That does not include the gas to get there, parking, additional food, souvenirs, etc. So we would be looking at probably $500 when it was all said and done. And we live within 75 miles of the track.

Reason #2: The COT is the worse mistake Nascar could have ever made. It has turned 500 laps into follow the leader for 480, then race for 20, if you are lucky. If they want to know why Atlanta's attendance has gone downhill, that is it. They have turned racing into a game of follow the leader, and its no wonder that people do not take Nascar as a serious sport. There is no "racing". Heck Nascar has even eliminated the bumping and pushing that used to define the sport, by fining the drivers and crews if they so much as think about it. One would think that Nascar has mind reader machines in the helmets! ;)

Take last night for instance. Mark Martin and Kyle Busch going for the win. Mark was a gentleman and raced Kyle clean. However, if the roles were reversed, Kyle would have punted Mark for the win, no doubt about it. But if Mark had punted Kyle, Kyle and his crew would have been in the Nascar trailer pouting and crying.

Which takes me back to reason number one, I don't want to spend $236 for my family just to get into the race to watch 43 cars go around in circles, playing follow the leader for 3 hours. When I can watch it at home for free on the TV. Do I want the experience? Yes, but at that cost? No.

Reason number 3: Nascar has turned the whole sport into a sham, the Crybaby Kyle show. I was pretty sure that they were going to keep yellow flagging the race last night until the rain moved in so they could just hand Kyle the trophy that he keeps crying over.

I know, I know, there are times when we all think its turned into the Jimmy Johnson Show, or the Jeff Gordon Show, or place a name here show. I even know that we all need the evil villain (Crybaby fits the bill).

But would it really be that way, if it was back to just good old clean racing? Yes we would still want a villain, and I believe in my heart of hearts one of the Busch brothers would give it to us.

But racing would be back to racing. Keep the safety features, like the driver being toward the middle of the car, and what not, but loose some of the other crud that the COT brought to the table. Make racing get back to racing.

Now if someone out there in the Nascar world wants to prove me wrong, and show me that there is truely nothing like being at a race in person, let me know. I would love to have the opportunity to go to a race with my family. Heck if you sent us to a race I would give you props and blog the brand to the next level. ;)
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