By admin | April 27, 2008
Exciting race and empty seats in Talladega
By Richard Allen
In victory lane on Sunday Kyle Busch thanked the fans for being there and supporting NASCAR racing. Unfortunately, there were not that many fans there, or at least there were not as many fans as there could have been.
There are two tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit that almost always sell every seat in the place and them some. In the past, fans have not been able to get enough of the excitement at the Bristol Motor Speedway and the Talladega Superspeedway.
This year, however, the Food City 500 on March 16th in Bristol was run in front of pockets of empty seats. That is almost unheard of for the East Tennessee short track.
Likewise, Sundayâ€™s Aaronâ€™s 499 in Talladega played out in front of not just pockets but numerous empty seats.
Could it be that fans are souring on the way NASCAR conducts it business? The Car of Tomorrow, â€œdebrisâ€ cautions, perceived inconsistencies in the way the sanctioning body enforces rules and the moving away from tradition may have driven fans away from even the most popular tracks.
Or, could it be that the slumping economy has forced NASCAR fans to do so much belt tightening that they have had to settle for watching races from home instead of forking over the hundreds of dollars it takes to attend a race?
Television ratings are up slightly over last year. The explanation for that could be a simple matter of mathematics.
With gas prices now well over $3 per gallon and the cost of other necessities at the grocery store sky rocketing many fans may be finding it difficult to justify spending so much money on a luxury.
â€œIf the fans didnâ€™t like that you just donâ€™t like racing,â€ Denny Hamlin declared in his post race interview.
That statement may very well be true but for whatever the reason, fans missed out on the excitement the Alabama track has become known for.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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