While they sit on their golden throne and eat grapevines, NASCAR should feel threatened by dirt-track racing. Once upon a time, NASCAR threw dirt racing out the window, leaving it stranded as they drove up the hill and into the distance, dragging their fans with them.
Now NASCAR has run out of gas and nowhere, but backwards on this hill. Years ago NASCAR left the dirt roads and moved on asphalt short distances. A little later NASCAR left the short distances and let them die.
But, short track racing, specifically Dirt Racing, is engaged in a bit of a sudden, shock resurrection. I got this straight with fans leaving NASCAR to the millions.
Could Dirt Racing be the greatest form of motorsport in America in 3 years? I think it could be. I could actually argue that it already is. That’s why races throughout the county, all week long, against NASCAR’s 3 race lone weekend. But that’s not a fair fight either. In reality it is getting closer. I truly believe that individual dirt track races will soon attract a larger audience than NASCAR Premier Series races.
Positive NASCAR fans are suddenly hard to come by. Just read the comments, there will be nothing rosy down there when I post on. The fans have reached a boiling point, now beating in their own hands, just to throw it over the spiky fence and aim it directly at Brian Frances head. The fans have given up hope that NASCAR will fix the sport, and they are angry that the sport they loved has turned in the wrong direction, probably intentionally.
Of the 39 races of the NASCAR Cup Series on television in 2016, almost all fell from the previous year. 30 of 39 races, saw a decline in attendance and many of these drops were significant, cliff dives. The Atlanta Motor Speedway 2015 race attracted 9.507 million TV viewers. The same race in 2016 attracted only 6.800 million.
Meanwhile, dirt racing is flourishing. The Gateway Dirt Nationals in December 2016 attracted enough dirt-racing fans to sell the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. 15,000 tickets sold and her room to grow. The entire upper part of the stadium was not open on Saturday for seating, it has room to grow. The NASCAR Truck Series race in Eldora is another dirt race to sell out all 17,000 seats sold months in advance.
15,000 is still cute, I understand that. I’m also aware that the Gateway Dirt Nationals was a debut-dirt event with plenty of room for growth. If you build it, they will come. Next year, the upper part of The Dome could be open to fans, which could also push the number of visitors to 30,000. Well, that’s a real threat to NASCAR’s supremacy in auto racing.
My point is that NASCAR has outgrown the seating capacity and southern culture of short distances (in their eyes). It has now fallen so far that it could return to these tracks if it really wanted to. The NASCAR race in Eldora has been the most intelligent change that NASCAR has ever made, and they have made many changes for years to come. Shit, they have made many changes since 2016 alone.
But they still drag their feet to bring a Cup Series race back to Dendirt, or short distances at all. That’s a mistake, the same mistake they made all the time. They separate themselves from the short track fans, the true heartbeat of the car race in America.
Years ago, NASCAR discontinued the weekly publication of subscriber numbers. Practically, they did exactly as the numbers went in the wrong direction. But you do not need to publish the NASCAR traffic to take a look at the vast sea of empty seats at NASCAR events.
It’s ugly at the Bristol Coliseum, but it gets worse than that. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a capacity of 235,000 permanent seats. It was widely reported last season that NASCAR sold only 50,000 tickets for the event. We did not need any official attendance figures, pictures told the story. Whole parts of Indianapolis seats were essentially used by a single body.
In most cases, NASCAR ranges remove seats. Empty seats do not look good on TV, so take them out. Meanwhile, the number of seats increases.
Former NASCAR stands with former NASCAR fans. These Golden Isles seats were actually shipped from Daytona International Speedway. Part of the old backstretch stands, which now stands on a dirt road.
NASCAR has dominated the North American racing market forever. But an old friend NASCAR stranded years ago is getting closer and closer. So close that NASCAR has probably torn off the mirror and thrown it out of the window.
In the past few years, we did not hear about dirt roads except when they closed. Now the unclaimed nature claimed by nature is recovered and repaired. It’s exciting.
I’m referring to the sudden growth of the dirt track race directly with NASCAR’s recent break-in. The most interesting part … NASCAR has not stopped falling.