NASCAR has been in a downfall numbers wise for the better part of the last decade, from soaring TV ratings and attendance numbers in the early 2000’s, to barely 30,000 people in the grandstands this past Sunday at Richmond.
To make the situation seem even worse, Dale Earnhardt Jr., the sports most popular driver, is retiring after the 2017 season. So, what’s next for NASCAR?
Well, if you ask older fans that have stepped away from the sport, they’ll say what’s next is the demise of the series. That’s just simply not true. IndyCar has gone through tough times, even tougher than NASCAR’s. Drawing only a little over 7,000 estimated fans and terrible TV numbers at Phoenix, it seems the leading American open-wheel division has lost all it’s momentum as well. With all that being said, it’s still a sport, it’s still relevant, and will be when Scott Dixon‘s grandkids are old enough to watch it.
The point is, NASCAR is not going anywhere. Yes, we’re going through some tough times as a sport, but soon that will rectify itself. In the mean time, what do we do about all the negative fans, who say the sport is dying a slow death, and won’t live through the retirement of Dale Jr?
Just point out the eye test and let them see for themselves. Young drivers are dominating the sport right now, from Kyle Larson, to Chase Elliot, and the guy we all seem to forget is only in his mid-twenties, Joey Logano. The racing is the best it’s ever been. We had 3 and 4 wide racing on a .750-mile track for goodness sake. NASCAR has cleaned up their inconsistency: we don’t see suspicious debris cautions near as often, if you fail a certain areas of inspection you get the same penalty as the next guy, same for if you decide to brawl in the pits.
The fans and media who love the sport know what’s next: the next generation of great drivers, racing, sponsors and fans.
Yes, the numbers don’t look great at this point, but eventually, you’ll be able to tell those people who doubted that the sport would rise again, “I told you so.”