By admin | October 12, 2010
By Richard Allen
The corporate headquarters of NASCAR are in Daytona Beach, Florida but the real home of NASCAR is Charlotte, North Carolina. It is around that town where the sport’s teams, suppliers and many fans are centered. This weekend NASCAR comes home to the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
It hasn’t taken any sort of an expert on sporting event attendance to see that there have been significant numbers of empty seats at just about every track the series has raced on this season. Of course, there have been a myriad of excuses as to why this has happened. The economy has led the way among those excuses but there have been others.
This week, a number of those excuses will not be valid. There are more reasons why the seats in Charlotte should be filled rather than empty.
There are certainly enough fans in and around the Charlotte area to provide plenty of spectators for a Sprint Cup race weekend in a season filled with a large measure of drama. And with the number of fans in close proximity there should be no need for hotels and restaurants to drive up costs for the economy stricken.
Of course, there is the possibility that many of those fans have become so disenchanted over the years and won’t come no matter how close the race is.
Along with the fact that fans are close by, the preceding race in California was a good one. The Charlotte race had a good setup so it’s not like fans were turned off by bad competition the week before.
That is, of course, if anyone watched the race. And based on recent television ratings, it is possible that the good setup was wasted.
NASCAR instituted the Chase for the Championship in 2004 for the purpose of generating interest in a close points battle at this very time of the season. This year, the championship battle is one of the closest in history with only six races remaining.
On top of the fact that the points battle is one of the closest in history, Jimmie Johnson is in the midst of trying to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive title. The historic nature of what is happening ought to spur those who like or dislike the driver to show up to cheer or jeer.
Problem is, a good number of fans hate the Chase and regard Johnson as quite bland and seem rather unenthused one way or the other.
And along with a full slate of racing action at the speedway the NASCAR Hall of Fame has scheduled a number of activities to help draw in fans. However, there is the fact that not as many people are visiting the Hall as were originally anticipated. Perhaps the attraction isn’t the thing to actually attract fans on a race weekend.
Well, maybe the premise of this piece was improperly stated. It looks as if there are some excuses that will fly. Only, many of those excuses have been self-inflicted.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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