Don’t Believe The Hype: NASCAR All-Star Race Marketing Not Helping Matter Of Failing Event

Promotion. In most forms, realms or types – whether it be sports, or movies or products – is almost always laced in some way with exaggeration. And for the most part, consumers are willing to understand and live with that fact.

Then there comes a time when exaggeration crosses the line into full blown fairy tale fallacy, when promotion doesn’t in any way fit with reality.

Despite another new try with another confusing format, Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Showdown turned out to be another in a long line of less than dramatic or exciting All-Star events.

Turn to any form of NASCAR covering media over the past three days and the theme has been the same: How can NASCAR fix its All-Star event?

Contrived efforts to somehow take action-sapped racing and turn it interesting through formatted segments, field inversions, mandatory pit stops or even confusing mathematics involving average finishes has only served to turn uninteresting into uninteresting and complicated.

And lost in all the talk of quick fix gimmicks to return a once proud event to glory is the question of how much damage has been done by the continued push of disingenuous marketing?

Promoting the NASCAR All-Star event as no holds barred shootout is like the WNBA promoting itself as an above the rim slam dunk fest. NASCAR is guilty, the track ownership is guilty, the broadcasting partners are guilty and even the drivers are guilty.

Pushed on fans annually in the weeks leading up to the All-Star event is a story of the astonishing dramatics that’s in store at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Listen to drivers talk when asked about the All-Star event in the weeks leading up to it and one would think upcoming was theater on par to rival the Gladiators vs. the Lions.

Talk is about letting it all hang out, doing anything to win because no points and big money are on the line. Offered are overhyped predictions of beating, banging, gouging and rooting for every position on the track.

And they know it won’t happen because they know they’re the one’s that won’t do it. Maybe 20 years ago, not today.

Beating, banging, pushing, shoving, going for it all on the track with no regard for the consequences? Sure, that’s a pretty picture painted of the days of old when it comes to stock racing and the early days of the All-Star event, but it’s hardly representative of what fans are going to see these days at speed on most 1.5-mile cookie cutter ovals like Charlotte Motor Speedway.

And yet it’s a myth still pushed and pushed and pushed every year.

And when people get sold a bill of goods over and over they most likely are going to stop buying into whatever they’re being sold going forward. Ultimately the ticket-buying consumer will decide if the All-Star event needs to remain. Selling them annually on a blockbuster that will never really happen is only going to serve to hurt the product more and more each year no matter the format.

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Comments

  1. Mat says:

    If they wanted to make it interesting, award the winner a victory to be included in the win total when figuring out the two wildcard entries in the chase. Of course, it’s hard to think of anything more contrived than the chase.

  2. Andy DaRos says:

    To get the racing they advertise, put it on a Bristol or Richmond weekend, one segment, 30-50 laps, winner take all.

    Unfortunately, there’s nothing “sexy” to NASCAR about the size or speed of those tracks, and one segment of a few dozen’ish laps doesn’t keep it on television long enough to run their contracted commercials over and over. So, this is what they get.

    I’ve been continually surprised, for years now, that they haven’t rolled the All Star race into the Shootout at Daytona and make it one big extra race for pole winners, race winners, champs, etc. Maybe they will next year since Danica would already be in.

  3. Jimmy says:

    NASCARS attempt to take a page out of the Vince McMahon WWE book of entertainment is and will be a big mistake. McMahon and company feeds scripted events to fans and they come back each night begging for more. McMahon has learned that entertainment sells and he sells plenty of if. NASCAR has tried to sell the ALL-STAR race just as you have stated. Unfortunately its not gonna work. The driver are too corporate, the cars too expensive, and quite frankly I personally feel they don’t want to get their hair messed up. I once asked Dayle Earnhardt if he knew how much the NHIS Cup race he was participating in paid. He looked at me and said “Don’t know, don’t care. I’m here to race.” That mentality and desire has long since gone. Sorry Shawn but you and all the other media, no matter what you write, will not help create a fix. Theres no such thing as lets get down and dirty racing any more on that level. Nobody,despite what they may say, on the inside wants it to happen.

  4. Doug says:

    Put them on the mini mile for 100 laps. Pure entertainment.

  5. Mike Kalasnik says:

    One day, NASCAR will see that running this race in Charlotte is not helping and not smart. What kind of wild action do they want on a 1.5 oval? Face it, its not going to happen when you got the Coke 600 the next week, and guys want to use it as a test session. Another ting is the money. Whats a million bucks to guys like Brad, Dale or JJ? Nothing. 1 million wont make them race harder or faster. Go back and watch Kyle Bush’s post race interview. he was clearly aggravated about getting “knocked around”. DUDE, its a non points paying race!

    The crowd has been down big time. Look at the crowd for One Hot Night in 1992. You couldnt fit another body in there. Yes A LOT has changed, and Bruton and NASCAR needs to see that not everyone can afford to go to BOTH weekends. CMS staff pushes HARD for this 10 days of racing bit, and begging people to buy tickets for both weekends. How many people can afford that?

    I think many dislike the fact you have racing at the same track for 2 weekends in a row. Your seeing a short race one weekend and a REALLY long race the other. I for one dont want to sit through 600 miles at Charlotte. I did it once and I had a HOT pass, so atleast I had fun things to do.

    Move the race to a track where you MUST bump and bang…. Bristol or Martinsville come to mind. Both have enough seating for something like this. Bristol has too much seating, but wouldnt that be a GREAT place for payback? You can wreck people at “lower speeds” instead of at a track where your doing 160 or so. Bristol would do a great job with the race. Or just have the race travel around, like the Super Bowl does. Give each venue a chance at the race (maybe pick like 10 venues, and rotate them).

    Another thing is timing. How many drivers have “beef” with guys by May? Not many. By October, plenty do, ask jeff Gordon. He waited to November to take out his frustrations. Imagine putting an All Star Race at the end of the year? Let guys battle it out and do what they need to do in a NON points race. Get it out of their systems and give the fans an AMAZING race.

    I live 35 min from the track, and I usually only go once a year. 500 and 600 mile races are too long there. The best race is usually the truck race on Fri night.

  6. dirk says:

    Just go back to what it was in the beginning…. Just like the busch clash (or whatever its called now) it is nothing like it used to be. Go back to that. IT will also show you if the driver and/or cars put on a better show then…

  7. fred says:

    I say you put them on a track they’ve never been too at least lately anyways, like North Wilksboro. Little practice if any a half way pit stop and that’s it.. I stopped watching the all-star race after the showdown put me to sleep. It needs to change big time or I won’t bother watching that. If they really wanna fix it they’ll go back to what got them where they are. There is to big of a divide between what I watch at Stafford and what I see on tv. Just my two cents.

  8. Dave says:

    How bout get rid of the front splitters? Downforce on the front of the car equals aero push which equals spread apart racing and no passing. NASCAR will never admit this though because their cars are “perfect” and drivers can’t either because they’re told not to. Even FOX seems to avoid the topic, but its painfully obvious it’s there.

  9. Jim says:

    “‘Gettin’ above your raisin” is a phrase I’ve heard all my life. The notion is you want to change social classes. You try to change social classes, there’s this feeling that you’re forsaking the family, you’re forsaking place, you’re forgetting where you came from…and here’s this real fear that if you leave, that you’ll become ashamed of where you came from.” — Michael Birdwell, historian

    This is what NASCAR has done to itself.

  10. Nate says:

    Boring 1.5 mile racetracks + insanely hard tires = boring races & low fan interest.

    NA$CAR truly can’t figure that out?

  11. Steve says:

    Go to “The Rock”…. use segments…. say 30-35 laps for first 2, then 20 for last run. Mandatory pit stop between each one(gives the crew a moment to shine)…. but no mandatory tires. Oh, and depending on the amount of cars, drop 5 last place teams after each of the first 2 segments.
    This would prevent teams from using the “race” as a test session, and would eliminate the “backrunners” from being in the way as the race went on.

  12. Mike Kalasnik says:

    Steve: Your gunna take tires everytime at The Rock if you did it that way. Its more fun to see guys on old tires there though. I agree on dropping cars. This shouldnt be a test race for the Coke 600. Rockingham would be neat but a lack of hotels and such would put it at a disadvantage. Darlington would be a GREAT track, same with Bristol Martinsville and maybe Richmond.

  13. Bob Freeman says:

    The two consecutive weeks at Charlotte really drag down the schedule – I agree with the posters who call for bringing the race to a more interesting track like Bristol. I didn’t even bother to watch it last weekend. Or just nix the All-Star concept all together and give the date to another track for a regular racing weekend.

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