By admin | October 18, 2009
By Richard Allen
It was cold. It was windy. It has been a very wet fall season across much of the south and there was a chance of rain on Saturday. There were some big college football games all over the region. So, it is no wonder there were so many empty seats at the Loweâ€™s Motor Speedway just outside Charlotte this weekend.
Well, that all sounds good except for a few bits of logic mixed in.
First, those factors have not kept race fans away in the past when they felt as though there was something worth watching, especially in the heart of NASCAR country. After all, the number of people who work in racing related industries around the Charlotte area alone ought to be enough to fill a significant number of seats at the speedway.
Second, were there a demand for NASCAR tickets, the seats would have been sold well before it was cold, windy or rainy.
And more, even in times of a bad economy people will find ways to put money aside for things they truly enjoy. This would be especially true for a race held in Charlotte where there are supposed to be so many fans within such close proximity. Hotel and meal expenses would be negated due to the ability to stay at home right up to race day. If people still truly enjoyed NASCAR racing then there may not have been a sellout, but there would have been considerably more people in the seats than there were on Saturday.
It might be understandable and excuses might work when there are empty seats in California, Chicago or Kansas because those places are outside the home territory of the sport. Charlotte is the home base of the sport. And not only were there empty seats, there were empty sections.
There is nothing to explain this other than to say that people have grown tired of the product NASCAR is presenting to its ever diminishing number of fans. A car no one likes, a championship system despised by many which produces such a predictable result, drivers and cars with no individuality or identity and manipulated race finishes have driven many away.
No excuse will suffice. There is no positive spin to put on the poor showing on Saturday. Attendance in Charlotte was an embarrassment for NASCAR. Hopefully it will be an attention getter as well.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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