I saw a picture of Brad Keselowski after he won the show
and you could count 11 people in the stands. We need a strong NASCAR leading
our sport. If we’re having empty stands in most places in the short tracks it’s
usually because of the promoter. You get rid of the promoter and the business
will come back. And I can name you 100 tracks where I’ve seen that happen. So,
is that what we need to do in NASCAR? Get rid of the promoter? I think their
arrogance is unbelievable. I listened to Dave Moody on Sirius Radio and he says
the people call in and say they’re never going to go again, and they’re never
goanna watch again. He says “that’s not true; they waited 45 minutes to talk to
me”. Well they waited 45 minutes to talk to you Dave, cause they’re extremely
interested in the sport. But if you think they’re they are telling you they are
not watching and watching look at the TV ratings and look at the grandstands.
Because these grandstands are sparse with customers.
Now this week they pull another boner and change the date
at Darlington. They’ve done everything they could to kill Darlington which is
unique in their history. Southern 500 was the first big race for NASCAR. It
evolved from short-track series, like one of hundreds that are out there now,
because of Bill France’s dream of putting on big track races. So they started at
Darlington and then they build Daytona and then more and more and more. I saw
Bill France Jr., who I admire very much, speak and he said, “My father and I
made every decision based on what’s best for racing. And this money came to us,
and if you believe we’re smart enough to figure out this money you’re wrong.”
So I think if you’ll make all your decisions based on what’s best for racing
you’ll do well. It seems up in those Ivory Towers at NASCAR …they think Market
is what’s best for racing. So they took an intensely loyal regional audience and
took away what they had built up. They moved the Southern 500 to California on
Labor Day weekend.
And they gave Darlington Mother’s Day weekend. Now they
hadn’t raced on mothers day weekend for may years. The last mothers Day race was
at Atlanta, and they had 2800 people show up. So the idea was to close
Darlington by giving them a date that had never been successful.
I was living in Florence at the time, which is 9 miles from
Darlington. And the community and the state of SC got tired of it. Chris
Browning was running Darlington at the time, and Cathy Elliot was the PR lady.
The whole state of SC got behind them and they sold that race out. It was so
good that they built some new grandstands at a time when all the other NASCAR
tracks were beginning to take grandstands down. But now in their wisdom they’re
giving the May date, the Mother’s Day date, to Kansas.
It’s just too hot in May in South Carolina. The average
temperature is 81. This is going to be a lot more comfortable for everybody
because the average temp is 72 on the 12-15th of April in South
Carolina. Not only that but in there desire to help racing they have added
another Saturday night show. So that’s one more night that they’re trying to
draw people away from the short tracks.
We went to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which has the
largest seating capacity of any place in the world, and the ticket there was the
second hardest to get in -- next to Bristol. And they didn’t like their tires
so they ran 10 laps and had a yellow flag. They had a yellow flag every 10 laps.
That’s how they ran the race. And they wonder why people don’t go there now. Oh
they had a good crowd – better than a football crowd. There were 110,000
Look at Bristol. I went to Bristol right after we moved to
South Carolina, and I saw $485 dollars paid for a ticket and they bought a
pair. The seats were over ¾ of the way up in the grandstand. I saw that with my
own eyes. Bristol was barely over half full. The racing’s good in NASCAR.
Saturday night they had a debris caution; they never showed
the debris. Jimmy Johnson who had a big lead at the time said he never saw it
either. Probably about an 8 point swing and might cause him the point
championship in the end.
What do you think about NASCAR? Why did you stop going?
What would they have to do to get it right? Send me your ideas and I’ll post
some of them in my column next week.
If you weren't there you missed out.