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SBD/Issue 102/Leagues & Governing Bodies
NASCAR Listening To Fans, Sponsors, Teams When Making Changes
Published February 9, 2010
|NASCAR President Mike Helton Says League
Using Fan Input To Improve The Sport
TRACKING CHANGES: Helton said, "Some of the filtering process takes a while and qualifying what we do and how we get to the point of doing it takes us longer than even we would like and certainly fans or the other stakeholders would like. But I think the big message today is that NASCAR itself and the stakeholders ... are listening and trying to adapt." Meanwhile, YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Hart wrote there are "three things NASCAR does right." NASCAR has a "willingness to change," it "produces the tightest racing in the world," and the league "takes safety seriously." Hart also listed "three changes NASCAR should consider." NASCAR should "shorten the schedule," limit teams to "four cars only" and "give more incentive to win" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/8).
PERSONALITY TEST: In Orlando, Tania Ganguli notes drivers during last year's recession had "become afraid to be themselves." In an economic climate "where sponsors are cutting their budgets, drivers didn't want to offend corporations." NASCAR CMO Steve Phelps: "The sponsors are in a little bit of a box, too. They want to make sure their brand is being represented as well as it can be. Having a driver that's a good corporate citizen is important to them." NASCAR has "spoken to six to eight major sponsors about how an emotional driver could benefit them." Phelps: "What we did was let them understand you want your driver to show emotions, you want your driver to be himself. There are certainly boundaries to that but keeping them in tight box is not the best for the driver. ... If the driver is just going to be vanilla, always have that corporate speak the fan base will start to dissipate." Drivers also are "trying to determine those boundaries," as some brands are "more receptive to bold personalities than others" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/9).