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February 15, 2010

No Checkered Flag for Nascar

Nascar took one giant pit stop and missed an opportunity that could have expanded their industry to unprecedented levels. This Sunday people across the nation could tune into the 52nd annual Daytona 500. A race that is regarded as the most prestigious and most important event Nascar has to offer. The Daytona 500 is also the sprint cup series' first race of the year and just so happens to provide the largest purse to the winning driver. With all of this in mind, it is clear how important the Daytona 500 is to Nascar and their marketing department. The Daytona 500 sets the tone for the rest of the season for both drivers and fans.
Nascar has experienced and continues to enjoy a tremendous following from fans all across the country. Yet, Nascar has seemingly remained relatively low on the sports pecking order. For example Sportscenter and other media outlets rarely start off their program with the latest Nascar story. This Sunday however was going to be different. This was the Daytona 500. This is the race that started in 1959 and annually draws over 100,000 fans to its venue. This race was at the forefront of sports this Sunday and something that would be sure to attract people who normally don’t watch a race all year. However when I tuned into the coverage I was shocked at what I saw. What could be worse than watching cars go around in circles 200 times? No cars moving at all. A pothole delayed the Daytona 500 for an hour and forty minutes and in my mind ruined any chance I had to ever tune back into an event. I applaud Nascar and their media coverage. They do an incredible job with what they are given. They can’t change their product, but they can change how it is presented. With different cameras along the course and inside each drivers car Nascar truly does cover every angel. An easy to follow ticker is constantly showing viewers what place all of the drivers are in makes it easy to catch up if one was to miss something. However, with all of the good things nascar does, in my mind it is still inexcusable to let a delay of this magnitude happen. It’s not to say that other professional leagues haven’t experienced problems with playing surfaces. The Philadelphia Eagles had delays during a game in order to fix bad turf, NBA teams have had unusually slippery courts, and NHL teams have had problems with the surrounding glass. But these problems haven’t occurred during that sports biggest event and in front of potentially the biggest viewing market of the year. Maybe the pothole was just bad luck, maybe Nascar is trying to make a more realistic feel to fans that commute in the state of Michigan, or maybe Nascar will just never get out of its shell. In my mind, you are a Nascar fan or you aren’t. Needless to say, I’ll be watching the Olympics next Sunday from 3pm- 7pm.

Posted by abaumann at February 15, 2010 05:02 PM

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