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Looks like Harvick vs. Busch didn’t exactly inspire the masses to attend Dover

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

I will be doing live updates from the Southern All Stars dirt late model race from the Cleveland(TN) Speedway Saturday night on

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6 Responses to “Looks like Harvick vs. Busch didn’t exactly inspire the masses to attend Dover”

  1. zhills fan Says:
    May 17th, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Get rid of these IROC type cars is the solution. What they need is innovation by the crews, NOT by nascar. Until they have race cars that are different and not just different decals nothing will improve.

  2. Sue Rarick Says:
    May 17th, 2011 at 11:37 am

    In a way I agree with zhills. But I think the problem isn’t the basic car as much as the aero package they have on it. It doesn’t lend itself to close racing. Just for fun I tried to modify a current COT as simply as possible so that most of the aero aids were eliminated with a minimum of modifications:

    Making the cars less aero dependent would make for better racing by making passing easier and take away some of the advantage of ‘clean air’

  3. jerseygirl Says:
    May 17th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Agree with Zhills, this “boys beat the crap out of one another” BS isn’t going to bring back the fan base. Good racing will and having it be something other than a crapshoot format to decide the championship.

    I had tickets to Dover, was bored as heck last year and decided not to pay the $ for gas and parking esp because the forecast was pretty ominous. Honestly, I don’t feel like I missed anything. This year’s race was just as boring as last years.

    someone fire Brian France and whoever the genius who designed the IROC series car they are driving now. I can’t find any reason to be loyal to either a decal or the pathetic excuse for races we have been seeing for the last several years.

  4. Joe from Pittsburgh Says:
    May 17th, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Nascar is just reaping the seeds they have sewn with all rules changes and track closings and date shifts and chase crap and IROC cars. It took them a while to create the mess they are in and 2 squawking drivers arent turning it around anytime soon. I used to go to Dover fall race and jammed in my seat at the track to watch good racing. Now you couldnt give me a ticket and I dont even watch anymore.

  5. steven Says:
    May 17th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    The broadcasters embarrassed themselves (if that is possible) by trying unsuccessfully to exploit the Harvick/Busch deal. To the drivers it was apparent that that was old news. Pro wrestling anyone? No, I didn’t think so.

  6. Russ Edwards Says:
    May 17th, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Nascar’s current problems arent the result of just one thing. And just one thing wont fix it. BUT, once you loose credibility its awful difficult to get it back. I dont know that they can.