5. Exodus of stars
If there is one thing currently sending fans away from the sport in a hurry, its the fact that drivers like Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Dale Jr, Danica Patrick, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Dale Jarrett, and countless others have left the sport in favor of retirement. Of course one would think this would pave the way for new stars to finally make a name for themselves, but its proven to be much more difficult then that.
In the end, the drivers listed above all held massive fan bases inside the sport of NASCAR and while none of them had quite the impact that Dale Jr’s had in 2017, they are still all huge losses to take one right after the other. In fact, with more and more stars leaving the sport then coming in, NASCAR might run into the problem of having too many stars leave without building up the future generation of talent.
4. The Changes.
Believe it or not, 2018 will mark the first time that NASCAR officials haven’t made any changes to the playoff system, points format or stage racing. Sure, NASCAR can still change these rules in later seasons and are probably just using 2018 as a test year to see what is going to stick and what isn’t, but this still marks the first time in a while that NASCAR is actually willing to wait and see what happens.
Unfortunately for NASCAR, this comes after four straight years of changes to the playoff system, the addition of stage racing and some of the weirdest pit road rules that NASCAR has ever seen and that’s what has been turning away NASCAR fans the most lately. Whether NASCAR can somehow bring back fans with the promise of no changes this year remains to be seen, but even if they do, how long until they change things again?
Its no secret that NASCAR officials and the media have a biases problem when it comes to certain drivers and while NASCAR has gotten better at hiding it over the years, it is still one of the most prevalent problems in the sport today. Unfortunately for NASCAR, they will now be forced to cover younger drivers, especially after Dale Earnhardt JR retired from the sport in 2017 and one has to wonder how they will do that.
Who knows, maybe they’ll respond by focusing all their attention on second generation superstar, Chase Elliott, but that would probably only put them in the same situation they were in when they Dale Earnhardt Jr left. In fact, if Chase Elliott doesn’t start living up to his potential and putting some numbers in the win column while he still can, he might end up being the most overrated driver next to Jr himself.
2. Not caring about the fans
Its pretty safe to say that NASCAR doesn’t care about the fans anymore and they honestly haven’t for quite some time not. Not only is that assessment evident by the way that NASCAR has made changes to formats and points systems that have only turned more and more fans away from the sport by the year, but also by the fact that a lot of the races nowadays are on channels that some fans don’t have access to.
While this might seem like a nitpick for some, i personally remember the days when races throughout the season were available to the fans on TNT, ESPN and Fox and fans didn’t need a special TV package in order to enjoy their favorite sport. With that being said, NASCAR has become a bit of nitch sport as of late, especially with dwindling attendance and ratings, but they should at least respect and cater to the fans they do have left.
1. Lack of personalities.
Drivers like Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney might have very endearing personalities that can drive the sport to new heights, but you’re only kidding yourself if think the two young guns can carry the sport on their own. In fact, almost every previous era of NASCAR was riddled with multiple stars that were able to captivate fans and make them viewers for life, which the current class of stars seem to have a problem being able to do.
Again, drivers like Elliott and Blaney are very dynamic personalities and very fun to watch both on the track and off the track, but they cant save NASCAR on their own. To achieve that monumental task and restore the sport to its rightful glory on top of the sports mountain, they need stars like William Byron, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez and others to be able to do their part as well.