Is NASCAR fading away?


Following the record-tying seventh championship by Jimmie Johnson, I began to think to myself, is NASCAR failing as a sport?

With the super teams of today, it seems that no team is truly a “team” anymore. With the alliances in today’s NASCAR, such as Joe Gibbs Racing & Furniture Row Racing, Roush Fenway Racing & Front Row Motorsports, and even NASCAR superpower Hendrick Motorsports & Stewert-Haas Racing, with the latters alliance ending next season with Stewart-Haas Racing moving to Ford. 

NASCAR fans began to notice that the finishes were beginning to be the same every single week, with either Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch & Tony Stewart constantly winning, fans began to untune the television to ESPN and NBC. 

They also began to stop going to the races. If you notice in the stands, every week, there’s thousands upon thousands of empty seats, and if you go to any other racing event like Formula 1, Honda IndyCar, or even a series like GT Racing, those are almost always sold out. 

One of the other main reasons of NASCAR’s decline is because of the constant rule changes. With the changes, fans are constantly left scratching their heads because of the changes to fender size, weight, or even restarts and overtimes.

Another thing is that NASCAR doesn’t have a poster boy who can create controversy and gain heat. Joey Logano gains heat because he’s young and brash, but he’s too much of a blue blood to be hated. Dale Earnhardt Jr could be that but he’s soft spoken, and a lot older. 

The last great rustler was the late great, Dale Earnhardt Sr. Who was the only man who came even close to being able to gain heat like Senior? “Big Smoke” Tony Stewart, but that just recently ended with his retirement with the conclusion of the 2016 Sprint Cup season. 

Can Nascar pull itself out of the shallow grave it’s dug itself from the past years or will it end?

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One Comment

  1. The rule changes argument is only part of the problem, the “lack of a true rustler” argument is not that compelling – Dale Earnhardt Sr. was not the driving for for NASCAR’s popularity, for even with his 1999-2000 success he’d been pushed back in relevance by the rise of Gordon and others.

    The biggest reasons for the sport’s decline in popularity –

    Lack of lead changes – only Daytona and Talladega have seen true competition, the other tracks in the sport have not seen quality racing, this due to too much horsepower, too little downforce and tire, lack of drafting effect, and overreliance on points position instead of incentive to win. Monster Drink’s recent changes for race “stages” is an attempt to address this lack of incentive, and it remains as of this writing to be seen if it incentivizes going for the lead.

    Lack of winning teams – the piece alludes to this. 2016 did see new winners for the first time in two calendar years but overall the sport is monopolized by Hendrick Motorsports, Penske Racing, and Joe Gibbs Racing, a triopoly the sport does not need to continue – it needs eight or more winning organizations because competitive depth is always better.

    Unprofessionalism of the star competitors – Tony Stewart was surly and as seen in the Kevin Ward disaster downright lethal to other drivers. Kevin Harvick has been petulant and dangerous, as have the Busch Brothers, the now-retired Carl Edwards, and Joey Logano. The drivers who have displayed professionalism have been drivers without success.

    The sport can get back its competitive vinegar – as Indycar has been doing in recent years.

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