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SBD/February 5, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NASCAR Hopes Drivers' Family Ties To Racing Greats Will Help Build Audience
Published February 5, 2014
WHAT'S THE POINTS? SPORTING NEWS' Bob Pockrass wrote of NASCAR's overhauled Chase for the Sprint Cup, "NASCAR at least got part of it right, even if the most difficult thing for many to stomach -- four drivers tied in points going into the final race -- remains part of the plan." The other thing that NASCAR "got right is the way it will allow drivers knocked out during the Chase to battle for fifth in the final standings." But the "biggest issue that remains is that it will be quite difficult to look at the champion the same way as past champions, to look at the champion as truly the best driver rather than someone who survived three Chase rounds and then won the title in the final race" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 2/4). In Orlando, George Diaz wrote, "A cynic would suggest desperation. Perhaps it's simply a more pragmatic approach to running the family business." It has "been stagnant for a while." NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France "certainly has folks buzzing" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 2/4).
FOUR-LETTER NETWORK: USA TODAY's Ryan notes there "seemed no discernible change in ESPN's commitment in closing the 2013 season with its 17-race block, which began just days after NASCAR announced NBC as its impending replacement." ESPN President John Skipper has said that NASCAR "still will be covered" on "SportsCenter" and other news programming. Ryan writes that "has to be reassuring for those who recall the contentious era in which ESPN reporters weren't credentialed for races and were left to interview drivers on helipads outside racetracks." But without race programming in '15, there will "be a natural decline in NASCAR's presence on a multimedia behemoth that sets the tone for national conversations and debates among fans" (USA TODAY, 2/5).