Well, it’s that time again–school’s back in session and Mike and I are beginning our Business of NASCAR course again. We have 30 students this semester–many of whom are fairly knowledgeable of NASCAR racing, but less so when it comes to the “business” of NASCAR. Exciting semester planned with returning speakers and new faces to provide interesting insights into what has become, for many, America’s true sport. We start with Nate Ryan (USA Today) and Dustin Long (Landmark Communications) on the Thursday before the final race to the Chase!

It’s interesting to note that the last two weekends of racing have drawn larger television viewership than the previous year’s races. Could it be that, regardless of the drop in ticket price, many core fans simply prefer to stay home? If that’s the case, what does that portend for the tracks? Further ticket price reductions? More pre-race attractions? Better ticket and lodging packages (now that would be a first)? It remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, the “race to the Chase” is heating up! Recent columns by Dustin (check the recent Virginian-Pilot) and David Caraviello (NASCAR.com, 8/27) have pointed up, however, some continuing problems/flaws with the current Chase formula. Time will tell whether NASCAR will make some changes if Tony doesn’t win, or someone who makes the Chase takes the championship without having won a race (not unfathomable!). But that’s the view from here. Jon