We all have problem and so do our favorite sports.
While die hard fans sometimes don’t want to admit the problems of their favorite sport, or worse, try to cover them up by focusing on the positives, but at the end of the day, each fan is forced to look into the mirror and realize that its sport’s short comings. Unfortunately for NASCAR fans, their sport suffers from a plethora of problems ranging from dwindling stands to unrecognizable and unproven talent, and it might not even be reversible.
With that being said and all the changes, for good or for bad that have taken place over the last decade of the NASCAR, here are five of the biggest problems facing the sport today. Some will have to do with rule changes, some will have to due with schedule and some will even have to do with the fans themselves. As always, leave your comments below to let us know what you think and what you think NASCAR needs to do about these nagging problems.
5. The Daytona 500
Sure, no die hard NASCAR fan in their right mind would think to criticize The Great American Race, especially with the amazing racing it has provided over the years at the start of the season, but in there lies its biggest problem. While every sport from The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL MLS and many others save their Super Bowl or championship game, NASCAR does its big race at the beginning of the season.
Not only is that insanely confusing for people that haven’t followed the sport in the intense way that many die hard fans do, it also gives fans that are watching NASCAR for the first time the false hope that the racing will always be like this. Unfortunately for them and unfortunately for NASCAR, the sports top three tier divisions focus mostly on cookie cutter oval track and only hold two or three plate races a season.
Speaking of changes to the schedule, NASCAR also needs to look at making some serious changes to each series’s schedule and it starts by breaking up some of the cookie cutter oval tracks that NASCAR has relied on for so long. NASCAR could do this by moving up their first short track race of the season, Martinsville, up to the third or fourth race of the season, but there are a lot of other changes that need to be added as well.
The problem with that is that NASCAR doesn’t have a lot of variety to choose from. Sure, there are two plate tracks and three short tracks that the sport competes at every year, but by time a casual fan were to get to that point in the season, they would most likely lose interest in the sport completely. The occasional dominating performance doesn’t help with this problem either though.
3.Constant rule changes
We have talked a lot in the last two entries about being able to retain the casual fan and while that is always important to a sport that wants to grow and live on for future generations, it is also important to keep their dedicated fans intact as well. Unfortunately for NASCAR and ultimately its fans, officials constant rule changes are driving fans away from the sport in droves.
Lets be honest with ourselves for a minute. Anyone new fan that comes across a NASCAR race and hears a bunch of men in southern accents commentating on a 40 car race on a oval track is probably going to chalk up the experience to some hick show and find something better to watch. Of course no one wants to admit that, especially die hard fans that have watched the sport for decades, but you have to consider what the other side sees.
To them, NASCAR needs to go through a transition before it ever enters the mainstream or even their living rooms. NASCAR’s ties to southern heritage, support of Donald Trump and propinquity for the rebel flag flying in the infield during every race helps nothing and will ultimately be a determining factor in why people turn off the sport and never go back.
For NASCAR to work in the mainstream and thus have mainstream appeal to new viewers, the sport needs to insert a more moderate voice into the mix during races. They also need also really need to stop supporting any political candidates whatsoever. While their endorsement of Trump last year was no surprise to their mostly Republican fan base, it was just another red flag for the mainstream not to touch the entity known of NASCAR.
Isn’t it funny when the one thing you actually wanted to happen ends up ruining what you love completely? Unfortunately for myself and other NASCAR fans that dream of the day that the Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s, Austin Dillon’s Ryan Blaney’s and Kyle Larsons of the sport would finally get their chance to prove that they are the future, we sadly forgot that this thrilling time period would also include many popular veterans hanging up the helmet for good.
While retirement in the sport of NASCAR has been a thing for decades now, fans would be hard pressed to find a time when such a plethora of top stars left the sport in such a short amount of time. It started in 2015 with the retirement of Jeff Gordon, which was insanely difficult to swallow by itself, but it was followed up with the retirement of Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards in 2016 and the upcoming retirement of Dale Jr at the end of the season.