By admin | May 11, 2011
By Richard Allen
One thing that has been said in a number of places throughout these past few days is that NASCAR needs incidents like that between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch in Darlington to increase viewership and attendance. It is argued that the attention drawn from the fracas will stir interest going into coming races.
On this site I even posted a piece in which I said don’t look for NASCAR to do very much about the dustup because it actually increased the amount of focus on the sport. In my opinion, however, I do not necessarily believe such skirmishes will cause the previously unconcerned to suddenly rush out and plunk down $75-100 for a ticket or sit through an entire four hour broadcast just to see if two drivers are going to ‘have at it’ in the end.
Where NASCAR gains from such matters is in the placing of their highlights on shows such as ESPN’s SportsCenter. After a little controversy, the highlight package may get moved from the second segment of such shows to the first segment, which in turn garners more attention for the sport and its drivers and sponsors.
By the way, I want to venture just slightly off topic. As you might have noticed in the paragraphs written in this piece so far, I refuse to call that comedy performance in Darlington a fight. To do so would be a complete misuse of the term and an insult to Cale Yarborough and the Allison brothers among others.
Now, back to the topic at hand. Post race confrontations are not going to suddenly fill all the empty seats at every NASCAR track. Television ratings are not going to soar through the roof. The extra attention on the sports segment of the news and on highlight shows will be the most noticeable result. But make no mistake, those things are good for the sport.
So, to say that NASCAR needs such incidents is a pretty big stretch. What NASCAR needs is good competition on a weekly basis. Lap after lap of hard racing with position changes rather than accepting ‘good points days’ would serve the sport far better than the folly of two cars chasing after each other at 15mph on pit road ever could.
Sure, it’s always good that drivers show some personality and emotion. But such flare ups are not what the sport NEEDS. They are sidebar issues that are nice to have. Good competition that is not fabricated with mindless rules and phony caution flags is what the sport NEEDS for long lasting results.
So far in 2011, there have been good races and interesting storylines. That’s what the sport needs. If NASCAR is to recover from the funk it has experienced over the last several years and once again fill grandstands and increase the number of television viewers, they best not be relying on the pugilistic skills of Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch to make those things happen.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying a little controversy isn’t entertaining. And I am certainly not opposed to drivers showing their true emotions. There is nothing wrong with a few SportsCenter moments every now and then. I guess I am quibbling about the use of the word ‘needs’ by some people when it comes to scuffles and dustups. NASCAR needs great racing on the track. The other stuff is just a side show.
If NASCAR is smart not much will come from their “looking into” recent confrontations http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1426
Actions of others take away from Regan Smith’s big day http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1425
Bloomquist tests at 411 Motor Speedway http://tennesseeracer.com/?p=1639
Harry Gant’s ‘Skoal Bandit’ to be on display at Kingsport Speedway Friday night http://tennesseeracer.com/?p=1637
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