NASCAR REVISES TESTING LOCATIONS

Among the excitement of the unexpected win by Keselowski at Dover this past weekend, NASCAR officials confirmed that in the 2013, season teams will be allowed to practice at four Sprint Cup tracks of their choosing, in addition to the preseason test at Daytona.

In an effort to cut costs, NASCAR teams were banned in November of 2008 from testing on sanctioned tracks. During the ban, teams have continued testing on non-sanctioned tracks such as the Nashville Superspeedway. Testing on non-sanctioned tracks appears to be futile for teams, and ironically cost the teams more money, as the data obtained is often considered ineffective or irrelevant for the Sprint Cup series. As driver Jimmie Johnson said, “We’re all testing at tracks that don’t relate. So in a way we’re spinning our wheels and kind of wasting funds.” (USA Today).

The new policy is met with optimism across the NASCAR community as it will not only redirect the funds being wasted on “spinning wheels” to more useful data, but should prove to be advantageous for the entire sport. With more access to sanctioned tracks for practice, rookie drivers will be able to gain experience, teams will improve their strategies and newcomers will have a chance to enter the sport. This policy has huge implications for the future of NASCAR and the ability of the sport to improve, as practice makes perfect, after all. AM

Ryan, Nate. “NASCAR’s New Rule Could Help Rookies Stenhouse, Patrick.” USA Today. Gannett, 29 Sept. 2012. Web. 01 Oct. 2012.

Hall of Fame Attendance and Sponsorships Spur Cuts

In a tough economy cutting costs is always at the top of discussion, but how does the economy affect the motor sports market? Moreover, how do you avoid cutting costs to the point where people are not losing jobs? Unfortunately, the NASCAR Hall of Fame (HOF) is looking to cut between $2.5 million and $3 million annually in order to balance its budget. The reason for cutting costs is that attendance figures have not reached the level anticipated in Charlotte’s bid for the HOF. However, Tim Newman, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA), stated in a recent NASCAR.com article that cutting costs at NASCAR’s HOF will not impact plans for any current or future exhibits nor the laying off of 27 ful-time employees. Nevertheless, the NASCAR Hall of Fame has witnessed a decline in the number of people visiting due to a poor and sluggish economy.
Subsequently, when trying to win the business of Hall of Fame participants, NASCAR finds itself competing with places like the Rock and Roll and the Country Music Hall of Fame, two other good attendance draws. Surprisingly, other sources reported that attendance at NASCAR was lower than expected during the summer months. The sluggish turnouts have resulted in a net loss of around $3 million for NASCAR. However, NASCAR is on par with anticipated attendance figures between 250,000 and 350,000 running close to Baseball’s Hall but just ahead of Pro Football’s Hall attendance according to this year’s projected forecast. Meanwhile, Country Music and Rock and Roll Hall’s first year’s attendance for both venues was estimated at around 800,000 respectively compared to the 800,000 respectively for the NASCAR Hall. In spite of a slow economy, NASCAR’s Hall of Fame was still the leader with around 300,000 as compared to baseball’s 280,000 and football’s 196,000. In retrospect, football’s highest attendance ever in the early 70’s was around 247,000. In conclusion, the NASCAR Hall is planning a new advertising campaign to help boost attendance.
It’s important to understand the dynamics of a sluggish economy whether it’s a lack of interest from tourists or the fact that people are just not flocking to the Hall of Fame on which millions were spent building. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that some individuals are able to visit the NASCAR Hall only by dipping into their discretionary income. Tim Newman suggested that there are several local promotions in the works; if successful, the local attendance could make budgets cuts less severe. AS

NASCAR and Its Declining Attendance

For those of us who are and have been dedicated NASCAR fans for years (or even decades) the question we sometimes ask is: Why is attendance declining in NASCAR? I have been wondering the same and and as a result of my curiosity I searched for possible reasons as to why attendance continues to decline in NASCAR.

According to an article on Forbes.com, a few reasons are: high price of gas cutting back travel, cost of hotel rooms and food, bored by lack of drama, and ticket prices at the track. Joe Baumann of Erie, PA “thought that races with boxier and safer cars were not as exciting as they used to be.” In response, NASCAR is looking to make improvements to regain interest from those fans who lost interest in the sport.

The Washington Post stated that NASCAR Chief Executive Brian France is looking for ways to make NASCAR’s car more “racey after NASCAR mandated a single body shape for all of its cars in 2007.” In addition, France recently decided on making the races start earlier and on at a more consistent start time.

NASCAR is aware of the declining attendance and is working on making changes to address the issue. We will not find out whether these changes will be successful until racing starts next year. However, for those who have decided to attend fewer races or not to attend any races at all, it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons as to why each person has made that decision. On the other hand, for those of us who remain NASCAR fans, we can only hope that these changes will bring about a positive effect for the future and for the betterment of the sport.

And that’s the view from here.

LK

NASCAR Hall of Fame – Nothing to sneeze at!

The much-anticipated NASCAR Hall of Fame is set to open in May 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to bestowing honor upon those featured in the Hall of Fame, the 130,000 square foot hall will house a museum and entertainment attractions. It will serve as a tribute to the drivers, crew members, team owners, and other contributors to the sport.

The complex will also include a new ballroom and the NASCAR Plaza Office Tower.
Perhaps most exciting for the fans, however, are the multitude of attractions being considered for inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Among those are a racing simulator and “A Week in the Life” (a behind the scenes look at a NASCAR team and race day preparation), and about ten other interactive activities! For more on those, visit www.nascarhall.com.

So what kind of impact will a facility of this magnitude have on the city of Charlotte?

According to John Connaughton, University of North Carolina–Charlotte economist, the economic impact will be roughly $62 million annually! In light of the recent economic downturn, the NASCAR Hall of Fame also may be just the thing to boost revenues for NASCAR in terms of admissions sales and souvenirs. Regardless, it will surely boost Charlotte’s economy, bringing jobs and tourists alike to the city.

I, for one, look forward to learning the exciting new plans still in the making for NASCAR’s first Hall of Fame and Charlotte’s own “Crown Jewel”, as coined by Charlotte’s mayor Pat McRory.

And that’s the view from here.

AR