Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

April 1, 2010

NASCAR and Indy Car: Reversal of Fortunes?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 9:49 am

Like most any racing fan, I enjoy watching NASCAR from time to time. Storylines in the ‘stock’ car series are somewhere between soap opera and WWE. Their bumpin’ and bangin’ style of racing has an appeal, as does its mostly oval centricity. They don’t do street course abominations.

The discovered the wings on the back of the cars were just silly, so they went back to spoilers. Although they are not as fast as Indy Cars, they are still fun to watch, particularly on a track like Bristol.

NASCAR is having some problems lately. Problems with shiny aluminum and low ratings. The problems are not really getting resolved, either. They are worsening over time. Is it the product? Probably not…it has remained consistent over the years and they have done a remarkable job of transitioning through generations of stars. Do people resent when someone like Jimmie Johnson wins every week? Probably, but that is not the big problem.

The big problem is overexposure. Their relentless self promotion worked as they positioned themselves as a sport rivaled only by the NFL. Their season is longer than any other sport. Off season is nothing more than an extended vacation for most.

If I was in a position to give them advice here is what I would tell them:

  1. Shorten your season. You are overexposed. Cut most of your two-race tracks down to one per season for starters. Do you need 36 races per season?
  2. Broaden the Nationwide Series to run at legacy tracks on different weekends than Cup or use tracks Cup doesn’t.
  3. Experiment with teaming up for the weekend with the IZOD Indy Car Series. It won’t work at all tracks (especially in the South) but it could at a track like Fontana.
  4. Stop trying to poach selected stars. Danica can sell a s#*&load of merchandise to star struck little girls but her learning curve in those cars will be painful. Unfortunately it appears the wheels are in motion to move her into Cup full time next season. During her brief foray into ARCA and Nationwide increased ratings were seen and she did not act like a petulant bitch much, and that makes NASCAR drool. Her quirky disposition and appeal has, of course, not been leveraged to the degree it would in NASCAR, and I have a feeling we haven’t seen anything yet. But will it help them? Their most popular male driver has not had much luck on the track lately.

It feels this year like NASCAR is on a slight slide and Indy Car is on the way back up. That is a refreshing change.

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9 Comments »

  1. I think Ncar made a mistake when they left some of the traditional tracks in order to go to bigger tracks. And I don’t get why they need to race some tracks twice. Agree they need to cut back their season.

    Besides the economy tanking, I think the new car does have something to do with it. In the old days it was so easy to tell a big Dodge or Plymouth from a Chevy or Ford. They had character. Now they look like grandpa and grandma cars with wild paintjobs and they all look alike.

    That said, it could all be better if Dale Jr. won some races.

    Comment by redd — April 1, 2010 @ 10:36 am | Reply

  2. How can they even think about moving Danica in to Cup? That’s a bit much. If so, let her people buy out her contract and use that money to put a good deserving driver in the seat.

    NASCAR will only continue the slide by pushing Danica in their fans faces, especially if she’s not winning races. Danica mania is not sustainable.

    Comment by Mike Miller — April 1, 2010 @ 12:09 pm | Reply

  3. For the most part I Agree.
    I can’t stand their version of KoolAid.

    Comment by tim nothhelfer — April 1, 2010 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

  4. Nascar has made some mistakes. The COT was a blunder from a fan prospective. The decision to determine the champion based on the last 10 races “to make it more exciting” has backfired.

    Restrictor plates – I need say no more.

    The beneficiary rule angered a lot of fans.

    I think too one of the big advantages for Nascar used to be the ease to which fans could meet their favorite drivers. Not sure that is quite what it was.

    The issue of leaving traditional tracks is also an issue (sound familiar?)

    I don’t know if Indy car is on the way back up or not. But if they go and introduce a new car that is not a true open wheel car, any gains will be quickly wiped out.

    Comment by Bob F. — April 1, 2010 @ 12:54 pm | Reply

  5. I sadly think both are going down. NASCAR is losing TV Viewers and attendance but so is the IZOD ICS. It looks now like Danica is trying to get out of her Indycar contract at the end of this year. If and when she does cup races could equal to higher ratings and attendance for NASCAR. I do agree with you about the schedule. Also, there are some NASCAR fans leaving and the IICS needs to do a better job of bringing them over. IRL 2002-2004 would have been a perfect time to do that because I know both NASCAR fans and IICS fans and one thing is for sure, NASCAR fans don’t like seeing ride buyers race on a majority road/street circuit schedule with little Americans. While, I think road/street courses are not bad, NASCAR fans like Americans racing on ovals. That being said, TMS will probably go back to having two dates a year but there will be two ovals dopped next year.

    Comment by blueplayer — April 1, 2010 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

  6. I’ve long felt that the NASCAR season is way too long. If they slashed their season by half it would be to their benefit. Heck, just look at the empty seats in places like Atlanta and California, to name just two–and it wasn’t just because of the “economy”, or whatever. Keep it down to just one event a year, it would seem more special, and the seats would probably fill up. The Indy 500 wouldn’t seem very special if they had more than one of it a year, I guarantee.

    Comment by DOUG ALBORN — April 1, 2010 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

  7. I don’t see NASCAR fans as being former, nor futher IndyCar fans. For the most part, NASCAR fans are not racing fans, just fans of CUP. When they fall off, they simply stop watching anything racing related. And Danica won’t turn this around. She’ll have a novelty effect on TV ratings but do little for attendance. History has shown Danicamania has an initial spike then drop. She was already starting to slightly fade in NASCAR. Putting her pre-maturely in a CUP car will be the last straw with what’s left of the long-time hardcore fans.

    IndyCar UpSwing: yes it is possible because unlike NASCAR, IndyCar has a pool of disenfrachised fans that watch from the shawdows, or have forced themselves away from watching. The build up of IndyCar can come from those fans which are starting to come back along with younger fans that are wanting something fresh and new.

    Comment by Mike Miller — April 1, 2010 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

  8. Nascar Cup’s 36-race season can’t be found anywhere else. F1 has 19, V8SA has 16 and everyone else races less times per season. Nascar should follow the model of Argentine tin-top racing: the TC, TRV6 and TC2000 turn each other with 12 to 16 races each per season. Top drivers such as Pechito López compete in the three. How about this: let’s make the Nascar Cup visit twice Daytona, Charlotte, Talladega and Bristol as today, rotate a second race between Michigan and Fontana, another one between Dover, Richmond and New Hampshire, and that’s it: 28 races.

    Comment by NaBUru38 — April 1, 2010 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

    • Want to make a race move? Close Homestead. If the season starts in Daytona, let it end in Daytona. What was the logic used when they took the spring race from Atlanta? Trying to push “west-Coast” racing? If they’re going to “re-distribute” the racing, then they should look at the tracks, and not just where they’re at. Atlanta has always been known as one of the fastest tracks in the circuit. Another thing… loose the “race -for-the-chase”. I mean… really… Aren’t ALL the races a race for the chase? NASCAR’s feeble attempt to boost TV ratings.I wonder how long before they change the point system again? And my favorite…. “NASCAR”? Should be NAFCAR. All the cars are fabricated.. .nothing stock about them. NASCAR’s roots were centered around production cars. They should go back to their roots. If Toyota’s goign to run a Camry, then put a V8 Camry in the market. Otherwise, they should be on the track with a V6. Wonder when Mazda ,and maybe even Hundai is going to enter NASCAR… Afterall, all it takes is a little money..

      Comment by Loosing Interest.. — June 10, 2011 @ 7:43 pm | Reply


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