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NASCAR Struggles With Attendance, Last-Minute Ticket Buyers
Published May 24, 2013
WAYS TO STAY RELEVANT: In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen writes NASCAR is “shrinking, not growing.” Race tracks “struggle to sell tickets” and racing struggles to “be relevant.” Sorensen wonders, “How does NASCAR stop the slide?” Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. said, “You’ve got to make this environment almost like the fair came to town. You’ve got to ... provide a lot more activity for fans and give them things that get them involved prior to the race and even after the race.” He added, "I know that stuff costs money. It’s not cheap. But it’s what brings people to the race track" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/24).
CHARLOTTE'S WEB: SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith has softened somewhat over his threat to move the fall Sprint Cup race in Charlotte to Las Vegas, but ESPN's Ryan McGee said, "You have to honor his bluff because his pile of money is so big and because his resume says he will take crazy chances." McGee: "If anyone else was doing this, then you just kind of call their bluff and say, 'Okay, whatever, you haven't even filled out the paperwork.'" ESPN's Ricky Craven said, "I'm not going to attempt to undermine Bruton Smith, and it would be a big mistake to challenge him or dismiss his thoughts and his ideas. But it's not reasonable, in my mind, that Charlotte would ever lose a race. This is home turf (for) so many of the teams. … At the very core, Charlotte is synonymous with NASCAR racing. So the idea of having one race a year in Charlotte is extremely remote." Driver Regan Smith: "I would hate to see a race leave Charlotte. … We'll all race wherever the race is at, but certainly I think we've all got our hearts here and would not like to see it leave here" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 5/24).
TAKING THE CHECKERED FLAG: In Charlotte, Jim Utter lists the “25 most influential people, places and things in NASCAR.” The Gen 6 Sprint Cup Series car/competition takes the top spot, followed by the economy, fans, Twitter/social media and the France family (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/24).