DIVERSITY AND NASCAR

When I originally thought of NASCAR, I saw it as a white sport, but I also thought they wanted to keep it that way as well. Recently I signed up for a NASCAR business course VCU offers in its program. In that class we discussed that NASCAR has actually developed a diversity program that involves not only trying to attract more fans, but attract more minority drivers as well. In fact, we met two of the drivers currently involved with the show “Changing Lanes”, which is a reality series shown on BET. If this is not a major step in the direction of diversifying the sport, then I don’t know what is.
We also discussed how Juan Pablo Montoya alone has led to NASCAR being aired and translated in over twenty different countries. He alone has attracted not only a large Hispanic following, but other minorities look to him as well. I believe they do this because they see him as someone other than the typical white or “Southern” guy. This is a positive thing for the sport, both for the business side as well as the ethics side. More fans means more sales. WJ

NASCAR APPEALING TO FEMALE FANS: Raising Breast Cancer Awareness

With sponsors like Lowes, DuPont, Budweiser, The Home Depot, Miller Lite, Jack Daniel’s, and Red Bull, NASCAR sponsors are more appeasing to the male audience versus the female audience. For the month of October some sponsors chose to put a twist on things and appeal to the female audience.
The month of October is recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness month. To raise breast cancer awareness and to honor and remember those affected by breast cancer, four NASCAR teams took at least one car and tricked it out in pink. In an effort to contribute to the cause, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte, North Carolina, the number 96 car driven by, Bobby Labonte, raced to raise breast cancer awareness to millions of Americans.
The sponsor Ask.com launched a full campaign for the month of October to raise breast cancer awareness among female Americans and all NASCAR fans. Many fans that already have their favorite drivers who they support temporarily chose to root for the “pretty in pink” race car to honor breast cancer awareness also. Among those drivers whose sponsors also tricked their cars out in pick colors to support the cause were Elliott Sadler, Kyle Busch and Bill Elliott.
I think that this promotion was an excellent way to appeal to the female fan base of NASCAR. It shows support for those fighting the battle with cancer and respect for those who lost their lives to the battle of cancer. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer found in women and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women. One in eight women will get breast cancer. I feel that NASCAR’s efforts to educate and recognize its female fan base and millions of female Americans were very effective and efficient. I have three breast cancer survivors in my family and as a female I am statistically at risk also, so I truly can appreciate and respect the efforts that NASCAR took to support the cause in raising Breast Cancer Awareness not only to race fans but also to millions of Americans.
Outside of the support NASCAR gave in raising breast cancer awareness, I still feel that there is a lack of female targeting sponsors within the business. I feel that NASCAR should touch bases with this matter and gain more sponsors to reach and appeal to its female fan base. Although the breast cancer campaigns that some sponsors ran during the short thirty one day month of October were successful in the attempt to connect with the female fan base, I still feel that just that alone isn’t enough and that there should be more.
And that’s the view from here.
CD

DIVERSITY IN NASCAR–or the lack of it!

Diversity has been on e of the biggest issues in NASCAR over the years. As in the past with people trying to be equal depending on race or gender, in NASCAR too there is a big gap of diversityl. Other sports such as basketball, football, and baseball have been making lots of changes to make the environment more diverse and the results of these efforts are outstanding because they have brought more fans to the sports.

NASCAR is usually seen as a predominately white American sport, while most other sports are trying to become more diverse. Juan Pablo Montoya, a Colombian, who is currently a NASCAR driver, has made a difference in NASCAR. He has performed well in many races and he has done a great job overall. Due to his performance in NASCAR, Juan has attracted many Spanish fans to follow and watch NASCAR. The Indy Racing League has Danica Patrick, who has broken the male dominance of the sport and has given women the opportunity to see anything is possible.

So my concern is why is NASCAR is not so diverse? Why there are no African Americans or women involved as drivers in NASCAR at the upper levels? Why can’t there be a Tiger Woods in NASCAR? Why can’t there be more women like Danica Patrick in NASCAR? All of these are concerns that are very important because I think that by bringing women and other races to the sport a more diverse environment can exist. The biggest result of this diversity would be a more diverse fan base in NASCAR.

And that’s the view from here.

EK

YELLOW,YELLOW,YELLOW …and blue skies

Well, probably better that we had a sunny race so we could see the yellow better. It seemed to be the usual race for the season so far — good racing early, then the boring bits, then a pretty exciting chance to see which Hendrick car would be the victor.

Boy, talk about your potential ‘black helicopter’ theory — what is it with the COT and Hendrick?! Are they that good? Well apparently so.

Overall, well done Richmond

BTW: Let’s give some kudos to others who aren’t getting much air time — such as Ryan Newman and Dave Blaney.

On another note…

A few columns back I called for a “return to yesterday” with regards to tracks. Of course next Saturday night the COT will meet the Lady in Black and if the cars are as hard to turn there as they were here you will need a dayglo yellow flag.

Now, it’s time to show some respect for the drivers and to drop some rules. Let’s do away with –right now — both the champions provisional AND setting the starting grid by owners points. While our race commentators noted who didn’t make the JSCR 400 (wow, that must be awfully tough for DW), they failed to mention the actual qualifying speeds of those cars. Personally if I were 40th fastest and was bumped by a slower car having higher ‘owners points’ I would be, well … I would not be happy. For that matter why not tell only 43 cars to show up or better yet take the several who don’t make it and tell them if they don’t make it six races in a row then they should just come back next year.

Hey, at least NASCAR’s carbon footprint would shrink …

That’s the view from here.

Michael

JUST WHAT IS NASCAR’S CHALLENGE?

Writing in his NASCAR.com column last week, David Caraviello shared his views on “NASCAR’s real challenge” — not TV ratings or ticket sales. Rather, “fan base” is the real problem: the disparity between “traditional fans” (spell that “old timers”) and the “new fans” (see “chardonnay” in your dictionary).

Caraviello suggests that the traditional fans need to understand the need for NASCAR to change in order to continue to grow while new fans need to realize that those who came before see NASCAR not simply as a sport but as a “prized heirloom passed from one generation to the next”. Thus, traditional fans need to accept the “car of today” and that NASCAR will continue to evolve and new fans must understand that a Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon is more than just entertaining clients.

I would like to inject my opinion on what else constitutes the “NASCAR challenge”: NASCAR’s inability to reconcile its desire to “keep racin’” with placating its financial supporters. What do I mean, you ask? A couple of days ago Juan Pablo Montoya was fined $10,000 and placed on Busch Series probation until December 31 for making an obscene gesture during Busch Series practice. NASCAR stated that he was in violation of Section 12-4-A of the Busch Series rules book: “actions detrimental to stock car racing”.

Let’s get real here children! Anyone reading this blog is probably guilty of “actions detrimental” to their offspring riding in the family car when someone cut them off in traffic!

I doubt most followers of NASCAR were even aware of JPB’s adolescent behavior — or care! The problem is NASCAR’s inability to understand that driving 160 mph oftentimes leads to tempers flaring. NASCAR’s desire to be non-controversial in order to keep sponsors happy has led to “too much grease on the squeaky wheels” and way-to-many trips to the wood shed. If NASCAR wants to fill the grandstands and increase TV viewership, it needs to be less concerned with “regulatin’” and more concerned with “good ol’ racin’”. What do you think?

(By the way, I prefer cabernet.)

Jon