NASCAR – From A Fans’ Point of View

Nascar has just announced it will put into place a much simpler points system for all three of its’ premier series. The reasoning? To make it easier for the average race fan to understand this points system and create “more drama” near the end of the season. Nascar also tweaked the process that teams and drivers will use to qualify for the championship chase. After 26 races, the top ten in points are in, 2 wild card entries will be determined by the number of wins a driver has, if they are within the top twenty points position. If there are no drivers in the top twenty that are eligible it will then revert to what Nascar calls the “series standings”. So, it seems that there is a very distinct possibility that the top twelve in points will compete for the championship. Am I missing something here?

[media-credit name=”Brad Keppel” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]Another Tweak for 2011, revise the qualifying procedure. No more drawing for your qualifying position, but rather you will go out to qualify based on your practice speeds, slowest cars will go out first, fastest cars last. If practice happens to wash out due to rain, the order will be set by point standings, if practice, and qualifying are rained out, the field will be set according to points, Sound Familiar?

It is not a trade secret that attendance and television ratings have declined over the past few seasons, and it is necessary to realize that Nascar is trying to “Right the Ship” so to speak.  All considered, will these changes that Nascar just made bring the fans back to the tracks? Will these changes revive the sagging television ratings? What do you think?

It wasn’t that long ago that Nascar appeared to be paying attention to the people that were buying the tickets, and tuning in on Sunday afternoons by implementing the double wide restarts, and allowing the leader to choose which lane he wanted to restart in. Why did Nascar do this? Because the fans demanded it, fans wanted something done to add more excitement to the race. Maybe Nascar should look at this again, does a complicated points system, or how the cars qualify keep people away from the race tracks, or grabbing the remote to change channels? Not likely. What’s the solution, what needs to be done?

A few ideas, the most obvious problem for the race fan is, of course, cost. It’s nearly impossible for the average working class family to afford a typical three day Nascar week end. Travel to and from the venue, three day ticket packages (Trucks, Nationwide, and Cup series) minimum three nights lodging, it’s just too much. No matter how you shake it out, to get people back in the stands it has to be more affordable. How? A few ideas. Limit the three race weekends; go to a two race, or single race format. Schedule the truck series on more short track venues, one day shows, go back to the roots, Hickory, South Boston, how cool would it be to have a truck race at Bowman-Gray. Maybe run more Nationwide races in combination with other series, IRL, ARCA, even the modifides, how about a few shows with the Rolex Sports cars, the current road course races seem to be popular, why not tap into this fan base? Schedule some stand alone events for the Cup series, reduce them down to 2 day events, Practice one day, qualify, and race on the second day. Just a few ideas. Could these types of changes bring back some of the excitement, could they open new, and different markets, could they bring a totally new fan base, Could they bring races fans back to the tracks? This is a little like Field of Dreams, If you give them more value for their dollar they will come.

Now lets’ talk about Television ratings. This is an entirely different animal. It’s important to understand the basics of broadcast journalism. Networks are dependent on selling air time (advertising space) to keep the doors open. In order to sell this air time, the networks need a product to make this air time more valuable, this is where Nascar comes in. Nascar approaches the network armed with the “Ratings” and presents a viable package for the networks to sell to its’ advertisers, in turn, Nascar will sell the broadcast rights to the network for some undisclosed amount of money, (just how much is this undisclosed amount? It would seem it takes at least three networks to come up with the amount?) Herein lies the problem, the networks are forced to sell nearly 50% of the scheduled air time to cover costs, and as in any other corporation, turn a reasonable profit. This leaves about 50% of the scheduled air time for actual event coverage. This seems to hold true for most television programming, in most cases the viewer will see as many ads, as they see event coverage. With this in mind what can you do to hold the viewers (in our case, Race Fan) interest. Simple, Just take a look at how other networks broadcast motorsport events. There is one network the does a split screen during the race, racing on one side the ads on the other, the race fan does not miss a moment of the action. If this can be done for other forms of motorsport why not Nascar?

Will these ideas, and suggestions cure all, will any of these ideas, and suggestions ever happen? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a certainty that doing nothing will not elevate this sport back to where it

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


  1. Another fans view!

    Start paying points to lead laps in the mid portains of a race , say 200 to 400 in a 500 lap race!

    This is the area in which they usually just ride around! Demote the Chase and make Raceday more important!

    Here NASCAR wants a simplier point title, but then make qualifing so complicated, nothing was wrong or simplier than the old qualifing draw for position they have now!

    Its not that we dont under the point system, it that we do understand it and dont like it! It does nothing thats needed and that spice up races on race day! Need to use points to put a rabbit in front of these drivers!!!!

    Ask yourself two simple questions when going to a race or watch on TV!

    Am I here to see a great race?
    Am I here to see who wins the Chase?

  2. NASCAR – From a different fan’s point of view.


    I am interested in where you got your TV numbers. Why do the networks need to sell 50% of the airtime to cover costs? It seems to me that I can watch a 20 minute period of hockey (playing time, approx 45 mins real time) with only 10 minutes of commercial. Seems to me that tv ratings for hockey are somewhat lower than NASCAR, yet versus & the Canadian networks that carry it seem to be able to cover their costs just fine. Perhaps you can explain to me why in Europe, football (soccer) which is played entirely in real time NEVER goes to commercial during play. Your argument Sir, does not hold water. Check out my blog for my answers to fixing the TV problem.
    I also would like to point out that making the nationwide series & truck series the problem of other forms of motorsports is not going to help NASCAR. If people can’t afford to attend the race weekends as they are now, my bet is that they aren’t going to be able to attend other series races if the Nationwide and Trucks are added to them.
    My solution to that is to give the tickets away to those who are twelve and under (proof of age required of course). This makes the races more affordable, along with having making the races two day events instead of three. This also helps get more the interest of that ‘crucial’ 18 – 43 year old male demographic; if you can get the attention of the young boy, that attention is more likely to follow him as he becomes a young man. (More on this also posted in my blog.)
    Thanks for your article, I enjoy reading other’s opinion and the debate that can come from it!


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