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SBD/July 8, 2013/Facilities
Renovations Could Land Football Games At DIS; Chitwood Dubs Race Weekend A Success
Published July 8, 2013
LACKING APPEAL: In Orlando, Mike Bianchi noted while ticket sales were up slightly for Saturday's Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400, but the "fact is that the crowd at this NASCAR race and most others is not even close to what they once were." Bianchi: "Chitwood and other track executives are doing everything in their power to lure fans to their venues." At Saturday's race, adult tickets could "be bought for $45 and the kids could get in" for $10. The price of that ticket "included a Sheryl Crow concert before the race, a massive fireworks display after the race, and" former NBAer Shaquille O'Neal and actors Adam Sandler and Kevin James serving as grand marshals during the race. In today's world of "skyrocketing ticket prices, that's a pretty good deal." NASCAR has the "unique challenge of its two most popular drivers rarely winning races." Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won "just once in the last five seasons," while Danica Patrick has been a "non-factor" since winning the pole at the season-opening Daytona 500 (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/7). In Daytona Beach, Steve Master wrote one explanation for light crowds at DIS this weekend "might be" that July 4 "fell on a Thursday, and many had to return to work on Friday, precluding a long weekend." Another "might be NASCAR's attendance slump -- something not often admitted but noticeable enough, especially of late." Master: "Few can remember a NASCAR crowd thinner than the one at Friday night's Nationwide race" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 7/7). Also in Daytona Beach, Ken Willis noted the crowd for Saturday's race was "estimated at 90,000." It was a "day and evening that went off without a noticeable hitch." Given the "variety of issues that have plagued events at Daytona over the past few years, that was welcome news." Saturday's pre-race hours "weren't lacking for interest and/or entertainment" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 7/7).