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« And then there were four as Burton, Edwards, and the Busch brothers are eliminated | Main | Hall of Fame’s limit of five per class is going to create hurt feelings »

No excuses for not filling the seats at NASCAR’s home track

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.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

9 Responses to “No excuses for not filling the seats at NASCAR’s home track”

  1. Rodger Says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    I have met numerous fans this year who planned on boycotting the Chase. I have joined them, as have my friends. I will be skipping Charlotte this weekend for the first time in over a decade, and have not watched since Richmond. The fans are speaking up, the Chase must go, Mr. France are you listening? We need to show that while Brian France may run NASCAR, it does not belong to him, it belings to us, the fans. The gimmicks, the disregard for history, the even worse idea of an elimination, we are not going to take it. I will not watch another Chase race, and I am not alone. Ratings are down over 25% on average for the Chase, and I hope they are down by more than 33% by Fontana. We are taking NASCAR back, and anyone else who is equally fed up should join us, spread the word.

  2. Jimm57 Says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 11:08 am

    We paid only $17 for the Nation Wide race on Friday and got FREE tix from Kroger for the cup race by buying groceries there. We’re going!

  3. Bill B Says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Rodger, do you have a twin brother named Michael?

  4. midasmicah Says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Hey Jimmy57. Enjoy the “cup light” race. Seriously I hope you have a good time, but I no longer take the nationwide series as a viable entity. It’s dominated by cup teams and that doesn’t make for good racing in a series that’s tries to sell itself as nas$car’s AAA division. Good article Rich. Sad, but true. Brian France has taken a sport I’ve loved for three decades and ruined it.

  5. Gordon82Wins Says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    It doesn’t matter that the championship battle is so close–everyone knows that it is so because of a forced, contrived resetting of the points. NASCAR fans new and old are insulted by it.

  6. Ken Says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    With manipulated “excitement”, contrived rivalries with manipulated finishes, many of us just don’t care any more. I’ve gone from being a “must see” fan to “I’ll watch if I have nothing better to do”.

  7. Marybeth Says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    I believe that Brian France could pull off a huge public relations coup for himself, & make more money for himself…by dipping into some of his petty cash fund & buying out or doing whatever it takes to get Jr. out of HMS, & to an owner who wants him winning. It would fill seats at Brian’s tracks to have Jr. running up front and winning again, which I do not believe that Rick is ever going to allow. If Rick wanted Jr. winning, he would be. I don’t believe that it is going to happen as long as Jr. is yoked to Rick. Have you ever heard of the 25/88 r&d car running competitively for a championship? After the race last weekend, Jeff Gluck on SB Nation quoted Jr. as saying, “where the No. 88 team ran a “wicked, weird” setup Earnhardt Jr. called “alien.” The information will be shared with the other Hendrick teams in hopes of helping Chase drivers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.” I translate that to mean that he is still r&d-ing, yet & again. Surprise! Surprise! I am glad that Jr. had fun & is honing his skills in preparation for being out of HMS & free to be competitive again. :)
    For years Roush said that Jeff Burton was not r&ding for him, until he finally admitted that yes, Burton was r&ding. I believe that Jamie McMurrary took up the r&ding postion after Jeff left.
    With all Jr. has done for Nascar and Chevrolet (aka Chevy:) ) I would like to see France & Chevy do whatever it takes to get Jr. free from Rick and put him with an owner who wants Jr. running up front & winning again.

  8. Overra88ted Says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    There goes Marybeth the Alien from Planet Amp posting more of her delusional Dale Jr. BS again for an article that’s not even about her Field filler, JR.

  9. Overra88ted Says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Johnson going for an historic 5th title? What a joke! No matter what Na$crap says, contrived 10 race do-over championships are meaningless. With out the Chump Chase, the real story this fall would be Gordon battling with Harvick for what would be his 7th championship. Possibly making REAL history by tying Petty and Dale SR. The fans ARE sending a message this fall during the stupid chase.