SBD/May 16, 2014/Events and Attractions

Columnist Calls For "Major Reinvention" Of NASCAR's Sprint All-Star Race

NASCAR cites drivers' starpower as a primary way it will rebuild its audience
The "overarching flaw" of NASCAR's Sprint All-Star Race -- and there are "many failings with an event that has lacked an indelible moment for years -- is redundancy," according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. Every Sprint Cup race "already is an all-star event." That has been a "major selling point for years in NASCAR, which cites the omnipresent starpower as a primary plank in the six-point 'Industry Action Plan' for rebuilding its audience." Ryan: "So why does the All-Star Race matter?" It "doesn't in its current shape, which reeks of irrelevance." A $1M winner's share posted by Sprint is "hugely significant." But "despite the big money," the "brutal truth is this has become the most banal of professional sports exhibitions." A "major reinvention is needed for an event with a long-term and severe identity crisis." A short track is the "best venue for the event, and there are some attractive options (Iowa Speedway?) whose layouts are much more conducive to the slam-bang style that is billed as its appeal." However, the "downside" is that Charlotte Motor Speedway, which hosts Saturday's All-Star Race, would lose an event. One of Ryan's Twitter followers "suggested a car swap in which a lottery would determine the drivers' rides." Anything that "doesn't smack of what fans already tune in to watch every week" (USA TODAY, 5/16). NASCAR VP & Chief Communications Office Brett Jewkes wrote on his Twitter feed, "Lots overanalyzing All-Star race. It's just the best million $ exhibition in sports - relax, have fun & thank @Sprint for doing it. #NASCAR" (
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