Defender of IndyCar

Auto Racing 2011…A Popularity Shift?

While INDYCAR seems to be on the upswing, NASCAR continues having serious challenges. Among them:

-The surface at Daytona has not been re-paved since 1979. Last year it fell apart on national television. They spent $20 million to repave it correctly for the 500.

-NASCAR is discussing simplification of their convoluted points system, presumably so fans can keep up with the numbers.

They may have to scrap the ‘Chase.’ More fans dislike it than like it.

-Fox wants shorter Cup events with built in minutes in the front and rear and four hour windows. Good luck.

-None of their races sold out last season.

-Ratings fell short of expectations.

-Many primary sponsors are leaving and a new trend is selling partial season sponsorships to folks willing to share. So much for consistency.

Is INDYCAR a better alternative these days? We already know it costs less. Sponsor spend more than doubled in 2010. Ratings in targeted demographics are up over 40%, something no other sport can claim. Randy Bernard and his staff are pounding the pavement with more ferocity than INDYCAR has ever seen.

This may be an interesting year all the way around.


7 replies to “Auto Racing 2011…A Popularity Shift?

  1. While I don’t think Indycar can be competitive with Nascar anytime soon, I do hope Indycar is gaining some momentum for the future. And with the new car and new tracks and Hollywood lobbying, I hope they remember that giving value to a sponsor and keeping costs (comparitively) low–for sponsors and owners and fans–is very, very important.

  2. What a lot of people haven’t considered is plain, old-fashioned, individual tastes. Some prefer stock car racing, others prefer open-wheel racing. It’s as simple as that.

  3. Never thought I’d say this, but one thing IndyCar seems to have at the moment that the Tintops are severely lacking is…


    Whether its planning, vision, a little blind ass luck, or a combination of all three, Randy seems to have the series going in the right direction, while Brian France’s leadership and vision bears a strong resemblance to a monkey pulling poop out of his backside and throwing it against a wall. Whatever sticks, that’s the new plan.

    I’ll throw in other things fans don’t like. The top 35 locked in (can you say 25/8, anyone), and the developing trend of start and parkers.

    Is there a ‘popularity shift’? Slightly. Possibly. All the facts Defender cites are, technically, true. NASCAR didn’t sell out a race last season…but then again, neither did IndyCar. And where the IRL put 10,000 at Homestead, NASCAR put 60. And the disparity exists at every common track (except Indy, natch.). While they’re TV ratings were down, they still crush IndyCar in all the target demos. (No, I don’t have specifics. But when your 12+ is 10 times greater, I can assume). But they ARE down. Are primary sponsors leaving? Yes. Some like Verizon got tired of not being on a car. Some, like Dupont just left. (That being said, Indycar has also lost primary sponsors as well). NASCAR is feeling what CART felt in 1995; costs are getting out of control.

    Look, Indycar won’t become the primary auto racing series this year. Or next year. Or likely for a while. But for the first time in a long time, BubbaCar is showing chinks in the armor. The gap is still huge…but it isn’t as huge as it used to be.

    And as long as Brian France is running the show down there, it’ll keep getting smaller.

  4. re the sponsorship dollars – it is pretty easy to double the amount spent when you start with bugger all

    Editor’s Note: Dang, what language is that?

  5. It is sad that IRL fandom has concentrated on how popular the sport is vs. other forms of motor sports. Not surprising, since that is how it has been since 1996 with CART, most of you bootlickers have just shifted your energy towards Nascar. Most real racing fans watch the racing, and the people that race and focus on that, you bootlickers focus on TV numbers, fans in stands, and meager sponsorships and even though all of those are pathetic, you try and spin them into much more than they really are. I guess when your racing sucks, and the participants are no one anybody cares about, these efforts are all you have. If you want to compare Nascar and Indycar, go back to 1993 and then compare today. One is much better off than they were then and the other is much worse off than they were then. Glad the youthful Anton took the sport by the horns and fixed things.

    Editor’s Note: Me too. It could have worked out a lot differently. INDYCAR could have brutally killed itself. Twice. But it’s still here. The series worshiped by its most vociferous and childish critics is not. Twice. Best approach? Grow up. ‘Bootlickers?’ Classy.

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