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NASCAR's Trouble At The Track
Forbes ^ | 02.09.09 | jack gage

Posted on 02/10/2009 9:54:54 AM PST by stainlessbanner

The sport is suffering declines in sponsorship, attendance and financial stability, and the roots of the problem go a lot deeper than the lousy economy. Ratings are falling more rapidly than those of other sports

"It's not NASCAR's job to tell us what we can spend and how to run our business," says Richard Petty, who also sees franchising as a great way to foster fan loyalty. "The Green Bay Packers may lose their quarterback," says Petty. "That doesn't mean they lose their fans." Says Ty Norris, general manager of Michael Waltrip Racing, "Franchising is critical and should become one of the top issues for NASCAR."

Standing firmly in the way of that idea is the France family, which built NASCAR from a Southern backwater circuit into a $2 billion marketing phenomenon in two generations. The man in charge these days is Brian Z. France, the 45-year-old grandson of NASCAR founder William France Sr.

Brian France became chief executive of NASCAR in 2003 and, after the death of his father, Bill Jr., in 2007, inherited an 18.75% stake in the sanctioning body, worth perhaps $300 million. His sister Lesa France Kennedy owns another 18.75%, and his uncle James C. France 36%. Uncle Jim is also chief executive of International Speedway, the sport's biggest owner and operator of racetracks, with a profit of $135 million last year on revenue of $777 million.

Despite its good intentions, the Car of Tomorrow program got a hostile reception. Team owners saw the $100 million upfront cost (sportwide) of building all-new race cars as an unfair burden, even if it produced long-term savings by reducing the number of variations. < snip > The new cars have also infuriated many die-hard NASCAR fans because the amount of creativity and technology that makes each car different has been reduced.

(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: nascar; racing; sports

1 posted on 02/10/2009 9:54:55 AM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner

2 posted on 02/10/2009 9:55:45 AM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner

I’m not even much of a casual fan of the sport, but it seems to me, just from listening to people I know who are fans that the biggest problem for NASCAR over the last few years is that in an effort to attract audiences outside of the South and rural America, they’ve alienated some of their base audience.


3 posted on 02/10/2009 9:59:48 AM PST by SoDak (Molon Labe)
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To: SoDak

Yep, by trying to take NASCAR out of the South and make it more cosmopolitan, they screwed themselves.


4 posted on 02/10/2009 10:04:20 AM PST by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin is a smart missile aimed at the heart of the left!)
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To: SoDak

I live in Race City USA...I agree. Watch the race in LA notice the attendance.


5 posted on 02/10/2009 10:05:21 AM PST by personalaccts (Is George W going to protect the border?)
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To: stainlessbanner
I didn't like restrictor plates, CoT is worse than stupid in my eyes.

While I agree that "stock car" racing hasn't been "stock" in decades, tossing the baby out with the bathwater entirely just kills it for me.

6 posted on 02/10/2009 10:10:03 AM PST by Dead Corpse (What would a free man do?)
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To: stainlessbanner
The worst thing to happen to NASCAR is Brian France. The COT might be safer, a good thing, but it removes the brand loyalty and creativity the cars of old had. Get rid of the restrictor plate. In fact, so much of NASCAR is restricted, it's as though socialism/collectivism has come to racing and taken over. Let freedom reign again and watch excitement and drama come back home.
7 posted on 02/10/2009 10:13:06 AM PST by GBA
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To: SoDak

What a coincidence the family is named French when they made the sport so French.

Next Al will be advertising ‘NASCAR IN A BOX’.


8 posted on 02/10/2009 10:26:32 AM PST by ImJustAnotherOkie
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner

Ditto.


9 posted on 02/10/2009 10:31:02 AM PST by Lurking in Kansas (Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down their level, then beat you with experience.)
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To: stainlessbanner
There are several things hurting it.

Number one is they started building all these cookie cutter 1.5 mile tracks and moving races to them and away from where their base is. They could stand to build another short or intermediate track.

Number two is the sponsorship money has increased so much that not just anybody can show up and compete. The purses are so huge there isn't any fall off between positions, which leads to less incentive to race for the money. Then you have the teams that show up to fill the field and get a payday. Last place at Daytona will pay $300,000.

Number three is justifying buying a $100 dollar or better ticket. I live an hour from Martinsville. You can get a $25 ticket that you can't see the whole track from or you can pay $75 plus and get a good seat and Martinsville is one of the more affordable tracks.

Truthfully, there are 6 short tracks running within a two hour drive from my house. The price ranges from $8 to 15$ to get in and the concessions won't kill you. The racing is a lot better and if you set up half of the guys running at the local short tracks in the same equipment that the cup guys have they would smoke 90% of the guys running at Daytona this Sunday. The difference is the local guys have to find the money to bring with them to cup. Being able to get to the Cup level now doesn't mean you are the best driver. It means you are marketable.
10 posted on 02/10/2009 10:32:31 AM PST by mtbrandon49
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner

“Yep, by trying to take NASCAR out of the South and make it more cosmopolitan, they screwed themselves.”

You are exactly right. These France idiots have also chided fans for bringing Rebel Flags to events.


11 posted on 02/10/2009 10:33:17 AM PST by ohioman
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To: ohioman

My hopeless, brainless brother-in-law is a big NASCAR fan but applauds the idea of taking the “southern-ness” out of NASCAR. What a total twit. And a hardcore democrat, obviously.


12 posted on 02/10/2009 10:43:34 AM PST by SoDak (Molon Labe)
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner
To many sissy-boys driving, like jeff gordon. Yeah, he's very talented, but he's a sissy. Bring back guys like AJ Foyt, Cale Yarboro and the Allison's, etc.


13 posted on 02/10/2009 10:43:57 AM PST by Travis T. OJustice (Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.)
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To: NormsRevenge; WestCoastGal; tubebender; glock rocks

Ping.


14 posted on 02/10/2009 10:46:19 AM PST by Travis T. OJustice (Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.)
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To: stainlessbanner
If you are a "Fabricator" forgetaboutit.....

They are laying off.

I have a friend did that for almost 20 years for one of the big-3 and is darn good at it, and NASCAR was a natural, problem is no work their either.....

15 posted on 02/10/2009 10:48:34 AM PST by taildragger (Palin / Mulally 2012)
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To: mtbrandon49

Lots of folks are back to the dirt tracks now. Boy-France is driving racing fans away in droves.


16 posted on 02/10/2009 10:49:03 AM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: GBA
"The worst thing to happen to NASCAR is Brian France."

Those 10 words explain all of NASCAR's problems. The man is a special kind of moron and those with the ability to remove him are tone-deaf.

17 posted on 02/10/2009 10:50:41 AM PST by Niteranger68 (Make Obama voters suffer!)
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To: stainlessbanner

Car of Today ~ Is Stupid

Race to the Chase ~ Is Even More Stupid

I barely watch anymore.


18 posted on 02/10/2009 11:04:51 AM PST by libertarian27 (Never has so many been owed so much by so few)
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To: stainlessbanner

bump


19 posted on 02/10/2009 11:06:54 AM PST by 1COUNTER-MORTER-68 (THROWING ANOTHER BULLET-RIDDLED TV IN THE PILE OUT BACK~~~~~)
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To: SoDak
in an effort to attract audiences outside of the South and rural America, they’ve alienated some of their base audience.

Right. They've forgotten where stock car racing originated, and are busily courting the northeast and northwest. Northeast and northwest don't seem to be particularly fazed by the attention.

20 posted on 02/10/2009 11:30:45 AM PST by Ole Okie
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To: stainlessbanner

When they discontinued racing at Rockingham and all the yuppies started showing up in Charlotte, I began to lose interest in NASCAR......


21 posted on 02/10/2009 12:01:28 PM PST by Le Chien Rouge
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner

I still love NASCAR for praying to Jesus Christ before the race.


22 posted on 02/10/2009 12:04:48 PM PST by stevio (Crunchy Con - God, guns, guts, and organically grown crunchy nuts.)
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To: Travis T. OJustice; SouthTexas; WestCoastGal; glock rocks; NormsRevenge
Oh sure Trav...You jump in the middle of a bash fest and expect us die hards to get you out the back door before the sheriff shows up. Nascar does not fit the mold of todays athletes...i.e not enough druggies.

On the other hand Brian France has a IQ of 77 and has surrounded himself with even dumber 2nd Lieutenants changing the rules every race...

23 posted on 02/10/2009 1:17:34 PM PST by tubebender
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To: tubebender

I was pinging for your information, not loking for any help. LOL! Feel free to disagree with me all you’d like!

In a lot of ways, NASCAR is better tofday than when i was a kid, but there are a lot of reasons why it’s not as good, too. I like the old tracks. I don’t liek the cookie cutter tracks. The COT doesn’t look right, but it does make things safer. All around safety improvements are great, too. It’s WAY too commercialized. Etc. ad nauseum.


24 posted on 02/10/2009 1:24:18 PM PST by Travis T. OJustice (Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.)
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To: tubebender
Nascar does not fit the mold of todays athletes...i.e not enough druggies.

Well, I hear what you're saying, but on the other hand NASCAR's so called management seems to think that "something is wrong" if a driver other than the big advertiser magnets (I list Gordon, JJ, Edwards, Kahne, Stewart, and Junior in that group) wins the races and the championship.

I'm convinced that the reason we got the "Chase" was that Matt Kenseth, a great driver who happens to sell very little beer, tools, or insurance, won the cup.

We're not yet awarding driver points based on Q score, but it's getting close.

25 posted on 02/10/2009 2:28:07 PM PST by Notary Sojac
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To: Ole Okie

How are they courting the Northwest? There are no races in the Pacific Northwest.

Yet, two of the top drivers come from here: Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne.


26 posted on 02/10/2009 2:52:22 PM PST by B Knotts (Worst economy since the Third Punic War)
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To: ohioman
You are exactly right. These France idiots have also chided fans for bringing Rebel Flags to events.

So did Junior. He called fans who wave the Battle Flag "ignorant".

That, along with NASCAR paying extortion money to Jesse Jackson killed it for me. If NASCAR has so much money that they can pay Jesse, they don't need mine.

27 posted on 02/10/2009 3:55:04 PM PST by PalmettoMason ("an empty limousine pulled up in front of the White House, and Barack Obama got out")
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To: B Knotts

I was just spouting my general impressions, and got too general, it appears.

You should be proud of Biffle and Kahn.

I don’t think there’s much doubt that the powers that be are trying to get closer to major population centers without all that much success.

But I watch the RV’s, buses, pickups, trucks and SUV’s by the thousands rolling into the Atlanta Motor Speedway on race weekends here, and have the impression that those who follow the races week after week after week really constitute a major base for NASCAR.


28 posted on 02/10/2009 6:47:08 PM PST by Ole Okie
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To: stainlessbanner
It's over exposed. You have TV coverage wall to wall on Speed Channel, ESPN, and 45 minutes of babble before every one of the 36 races. Add in the junior series, with many of the same drivers...

It had a buzz in the 90's and took many of the fans from the dysfunctional open-wheel leagues.

29 posted on 02/10/2009 6:59:02 PM PST by Trailerpark Badass (Happiness is a choice!)
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To: Le Chien Rouge
Rockingham Speedway is making a comeback. I was at a light in Concord yesterday next to a pickup decorated with Carolina 200 info for the upcoming ARCA/REMAX race at the Rock April 19.
30 posted on 02/10/2009 7:24:18 PM PST by GBA
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To: Ole Okie

I generally agree with you. I just wanted to point out that in the Northwest, we don’t get much attention from NASCAR. We don’t have much population up here, and that’s why.


31 posted on 02/11/2009 6:21:17 AM PST by B Knotts (Worst economy since the Third Punic War)
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To: PalmettoMason

Tell me it aint so. Is it really true that Dale Jr. called fans who wave the Battle Flag “ignorant”?


32 posted on 02/11/2009 7:32:11 AM PST by ohioman
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To: SoDak

Kind of strange sonmeone would want to take the “Southerness” out of NASCAR, since “Southerness” is the main reason we have NASCAR. You are right, your brother in law is brainless.


33 posted on 02/11/2009 7:34:30 AM PST by ohioman
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To: ohioman
Is it really true that Dale Jr. called fans who wave the Battle Flag “ignorant”?

Actually, I think he called ANYONE who flies the BF (I think he referred to it as a "rebel" flag) ignorant. You can find the references to it on the internet.

Needless to say, I'm not a Dale Jr. fan anymore. He should STFU and drive.

34 posted on 02/11/2009 2:40:20 PM PST by PalmettoMason ("an empty limousine pulled up in front of the White House, and Barack Obama got out")
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To: PalmettoMason

Thanks for the info. If Sr. were alive, I bet he would kick his butt for running his mouth. I mean, why would you want to turn off a good portion of your fan base. What an idiot.


35 posted on 02/12/2009 5:47:13 AM PST by ohioman
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To: PalmettoMason

You are correct sir. I searched around and found where Dale Jr. slams the Battle Flag. He’s dead to me.


36 posted on 02/12/2009 6:00:51 AM PST by ohioman
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