NASCAR Nascence or NASCAR Nosedive?

“Nascence”: (n) the beginning or coming into being of something (Encarta World English Dictionary)

Two columns appeared in the last couple of days that were very interesting. The first, by Dustin Long in the Virginian-Pilot on May 11, dealt with the dominance of Hendrick Motorsports. It seems that Hendrick’s drivers, as well as teams supplied by Hendricks (read Tony Stewart’s shop and Phoenix Racing) have been driving away from the competition. In fact, according to Long, 67% of the top five finishes have been teams using Hendrick equipment. Except for a couple of wins by Roush-Fenway and Gibbs, nobody seems to be able to keep up. Long closes his article with “Just about anybody driving a Hendrick’s car is having fun this year”-except those who want to see more racing.

And, in an article in on May 11, NASCAR is studying the reasons for the drop-off in television viewership of NASCAR races-reportedly just over an 11 percent drop from last year at this time (and last year’s viewership was down from previous years). What was interesting was the number of comments following the story (117 when I read the article!). Most were explaining the dropoff by complaining about Fox coverage, confusing times for starting races, not racing on Sundays, and the Car of Today being too “generic”. Some of those providing comments simply said the racing was BORING!

As much as NASCAR can continue to say that the economy has impacted attendance negatively, there is simply no plausible explanation that those not able to afford to attend a race can’t simply turn on the television. So, to answer my headline above, there simply is nothing to suggest a NASCENCE (“undergoing the process of being [re]born”). And that’s the view from here. Jon

P.S.: Further proof? I gave up my season tickets to RIR!