By admin | May 16, 2011
By Richard Allen
To hear the folks at Fox and in some other outlets tell it, the ‘feud’ that ‘erupted’ in Darlington between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch was something NASCAR needed to inspire the masses to return to the grandstands and television sets on race days. And it was more than just Fox. Over the last week there were numerous people who tweeted, blogged or otherwise theorized that such rivalry was what NASCAR needed.
And granted, on this site there was a piece posted that stated my belief that such run-ins are good for garnering attention away from the other sports and good for quick shots of attention. However, as was also pointed out in the pieces run here last week, such incidents are not what is needed. Good hard racing and intense competition are what is needed.
The grappling skills and/or verbal sparring prowess of Harvick and Busch will not rescue the sport from its current downward slide in attendance. Real race fans want to see good racing. Casual observers want to see those sidebar happenings. And as this sport has witnessed in a very real way over the past few years, those casual fans are fleeting.
While overnight television ratings appeared to have been slightly above those of last year for this Dover same race, on-site attendance was decidedly weak.
Gapping holes were abundantly evident in the Dover grandstands and that was even with multiple sections closed off and covered with advertising banners. While ‘Boys, have at it’ has provided some moments of entertainment, it does not seem to have inspired folks to refill the seats at each track.
Trouble is, this is another example of NASCAR and the decision makers such as network executives and sponsors attached to the sport grasping for quick hits rather than long term solutions. Yes, it is fun to a degree to watch to watch and listen to two drivers display some emotion. However, if that’s all there is to offer over the course of a four hour broadcast, chances are there won’t be many people around to see it whenever said incident occurs.
This year there have some great storylines and some intriguing races. Much better so far than in recent years. That needs to be the focal point of attention, not contrived ‘rivalry’.
The point of this piece is to say that NASCAR, and more specifically the networks, need to keep their focus in the right place. People come to races to see racing. That’s what will fill the seats once again. Scuffling and name calling are entertaining(and I am all in favor of things that are entertaining), but only the short sighted will proclaim that such is what is needed.
Bobby Allison’s favorite car had east Tennessee ties http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1430
I will be doing live updates from the Southern All Stars dirt late model race from the Cleveland(TN) Speedway Saturday night on TennesseeRacer.com. http://tennesseeracer.com/
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