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SBD/October 14, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Kansas Speedway Gets Second Night Race As Track Switches Dates With Darlington
Published October 14, 2013
NASCAR PUSHES FOR DEMO SHIFT: In Charlotte, Rick Rothacker in a front-page piece noted NASCAR's Industry Action Plan "aims to help the sport rebound from the economic downturn and changing consumer habits that have affected all sports." The goal is to "inject more youth and diversity into a fan base that is mostly white and aging by ramping up digital and social media offerings, consider changes to the cars to make the racing more exciting, and even contemplate more radical moves." NASCAR will "spend tens of millions of dollars on the five-year plan, which started in 2011 and is expected to evolve over time." NASCAR drivers and team owners said that they "appreciate the efforts by NASCAR to be more open to their new ideas." NASCAR to help attract younger fans has "spruced up its website and mobile apps after building a media and entertainment hub in Charlotte." It has "worked to bring pop culture figures to races and land spots for drivers in television shows popular with a younger generation." NASCAR also is "trying to meet the next generation’s interests by getting deeper into video games and digital device offerings." NASCAR CMO Steve Phelps said that one challenge with younger fans is the "love affair with cars does not come as naturally as it did with previous generations." Driver Jeff Burton said that to feed interest, NASCAR "should showcase the sophistication of the cars." NASCAR is "working with tracks to make improvements in the fan experience," and that list "includes everything from better signage to improved technology such as Wi-Fi connectivity." The sport also has "increased marketing for the 10 'Chase for the Cup' races that make up the season-ending playoff" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/12).
STILL SEARCHING FOR DIVERSITY: Izod IndyCar series driver Adrian Fernandez said that he is "surprised that 10 years into the Drive for Diversity era, NASCAR still has not been able to create a top Hispanic personality." He said, "In my opinion, I think NASCAR hasn't done enough to bring up a proper Latin or Mexican driver. It's a huge thing missing from NASCAR, having a recognizable young Mexican driver. They have to treat it as an investment for the future. ... We had NASCAR racing in Mexico City with seven or eight Mexican drivers in the field, but it didn't have long-term impact because those drivers weren't racing in the top series in America, so people would forget about them" (ESPN.com, 10/13).