Castigating NASCAR Superstars For Disconnect With Short Track Racing Is Absurd

Jimmie Johnson (left) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson is a seven-time Monster Energy Cup Series champion and certain Hall of Famer who has through his career proved himself to be a model citizen among his peers and an impeccable ambassador for NASCAR as a whole. 

Though Johnson has never been one to moonlight at short track events, or even make many appearances at a short tracks. 

At least what is seen on the surface is that, his connection to short track racing ended when he moved on to the upper levels of the sport. 

And the reality is, he shouldn’t be condemned or criticized for that. That’s pretty much how the world works, most especially when it comes to major level sports. And he certainly shouldn’t be held accountable in any sense for the struggles of lower tiers of motorsports because of how he chooses to live his life.

Though somehow in motorsports a philosophy has come to pervade a good portion of people involved in short track racing who want to believe that the elite of the sport should somehow feel responsibility and obligation to propping up the lower levels of the sport. 

In a column this week on the website Speed51.com, writer Brandon Paul calls out the stars of the Monster Energy Cup Series for not doing enough to support short track racing. 

“Everyone that straps in behind the wheel of a race car on Sunday has an opportunity to have a positive impact and connect with the grassroots level. Right now, they’re not doing a great job at doing that. They could and should do more.” Paul wrote. 

Saying they “should” do more is inferring that the superstars of NASCAR are somehow bad citizens of motorsports for not helping the lower levels or not living up to some unwritten, unspoken responsibility.

And it’s an unfair and a truly unhealthy philosophy. 

If certain Monster Energy Cup stars like Kyle Busch or Kyle Larson or Kevin Harvick want to continue to be a part of promoting or participating in short track racing, wonderful for them. 

But criticizing those that don’t have the same desire to do that, or judging them in some way as less than or not living up to expectations for how they choose to live their lives away from their jobs is simply irresponsible. 

Certainly it’s good for short track racing to have superstars participating in events at lower levels whether directly on the track or indirectly making appearances. But to even infer that the future of short track racing depends on it or that top-level drivers should be chastised for not doing it is an amateurish and selfish point of view. 

If the future of short track racing is dependent on the competition at the top level supporting it then short track racing is in a lot more trouble than it would even seem.

The roots of this idea that superstars should help short tracks was born in the days before NASCAR became a global phenomena. Back in the pre-1990’s when barnstorming short tracks for Cup drivers wasn’t just a way to to promote racing, but rather a way to make a living. Drivers weren’t raking in millions back then. Heading to a local track in the middle of the week was a way for a Cup driver to help pay the bills. 

And yes, it’s understandable that some would now wonder why barnstorming isn’t still a way of life for most of the top-level drivers because it was for so long a part of the sport. 

But the idea that top-level stars should be expected to regularly compete in lower classes as a way to prop up minor tiers of the sports is oddly unique to racing. 

And in the same vein, the philosophy that the superstars of racing should somehow feel obligated to do it, or somehow have their reputations as a good citizens of the sport held in lower regard for not doing it is also something very unique to racing. 

Nobody expects to see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady going to make an appearance playing on the field for a semi-pro team in Chelmsford, Mass. to help support grassroots football. 

You don’t see NHL players volunteering to go play for a minor league team because that team is lacking in attendance and could use a good night at the box office.  

Nobody expects to see Tiger Woods playing in the Connecticut State Golf Association championship just because he should want to help the grassroots of golf. 

But yet in racing, we constantly hear about how drivers at the top level of the sport “should” be doing more for the lower levels. 

The Speed51 column goes on to read: “Why are some of the top drivers, former NASCAR Cup Series champions in face, like Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Martin Truex, Jr. seemingly distant from the grassroots level?” 

Maybe because they have lives they want to live? Maybe because after team meetings, and fulfilling sponsor obligations and doing their regular jobs racing a race car, they would rather spend time with their family or spend time doing things that don’t involve racing. 

Should a national vice-president of Wal-Mart feel obligated to go do a shift as a cashier on his day off just to be a good sport for the company? Absolutely not.

So why should a NASCAR superstar be criticized if they don’t want to spend the time away from their job being part of racing’s lower levels? They shouldn’t be. And if the business model that is short track racing can’t survive without the help of those superstars that’s the fault of short track racing, not the guys at the top of the sport. 

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Comments

  1. Well said.

    And as far as our beloved modifieds are concerned, there were many that did not like to see Newman, Stewart, Kahne, Karl Edwards or others in the modified races, especially at Loudon, especially when a certain ringer car driven by a Cup driver was bagged cheating bigly. When these guys invade, they are taking points and money away from the regulars. Not good. I personally did not like it, but some thought it was great.

    I’m not sure those Cup drivers that are involved in grassroots racing are doing it out of virtuosity and philanthropic good deeds, or self-serving business. Harvick’s marketing company donated like $250 or so to Stafford racing. Big deal. He gets great publicity for that stunt, the $250 is insignificant. Now he can brag about how he helps the grassroots racing. Kyle Busch is a racing animal, he loves going up to Oxford and such and destroying the competition. They don’t do this out of some deep philanthropical urge. It’s more selfish and narcissistic, but they make it look good.

    Look up the https://jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org before you even think to criticize what he does, or doesn’t do. He does plenty of good with the power of his celebrity.

  2. Article title: NASCAR Stars Could Do More For Short Track Racing
    More like: Short Track Racing Could Do More For Short Track Racing

  3. 22,
    In a comment in response to my column on Facebook someone said: “short track racing could sure use the help” in regards to the Cup stars promoting.
    My response was I don’t deny that it could. But, part of the problem I’ve seen in recent years in short track racing is that too many want help from others, but don’t want to help themselves. I hear a lot of drivers complain that tracks or sanctioning bodies don’t do enough to promote them, but then they don’t do anything themselves either.
    In the column from Speed51 that I referenced Brandon Paul wrote: “Pretty much every NASCAR Cup Series driver is active on social media, whether they’re controlling the account or they have a PR rep running the show. Either way, why don’t we see more Tweets from these drivers about grassroots racing?”
    I would venture to say that less than 10 percent of short track racers in New England actively use channels of social media to regularly promote themselves or their divisions or tracks. Some do a great job, but most don’t utilize it any way.
    So how does one criticize the people at the top of the sport for not using the social media reach they’ve cultivated to promote short track racing when the majority of the people in short track racing don’t try to use social media themselves to promote short track racing?

  4. So, question, Should Ryan Preece compete in the NWMT event at NHMS when the cup cars race in July?

  5. Should a full time NWMT driver compete in the Xfinity race at NHMS? After all, with a good finish, or a win they would be taking points away from the full time Xfinity drivers.

  6. Rob P.,
    I’m not judging the personal decisions anyone makes. If Ryan wants to, all power to him. Ryan has clearly shown he wants to be an ambassador for short track racing, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The point here is that we need to allow Cup drivers to be who they want to be. They’re under no obligation to involve themselves in short track racing and to condemn them for not participating or supporting it is simply wrong.

  7. Folks outside of short track racing have no obligation to short track racing. They can choose to be involved, they are not obligated.

    Short track racing needs to help itself. Back in the day, like the 60s and 70s, the streets were full of 396 Novas, Chevelles, 426 ‘Cudas, Chargers, Six Pack Challengers, Camaros, Firebirds, GTOs, Shelby Mustangs, Torinos, Cougars, Javelins, and that was the draw to motorsports. Cars were the thing and center of life. It’s not like that anymore. Cars have become ‘utes, SUVs, utilitarian. The new Challenger, Mustang and Camaros are retro cars, catering to old geezers. Look who owns them. Look in the stands at the short tracks… looks like a geriatric ward with some visiting grand kids. That needs to be remedied, and short track racing is the one that needs to work for itself and get fans in the stands. Short track racing needs to attract the young kids. Short rack racing needs to do this for themselves, but short track racing has shown they are a bunch of bratty entitled whiners since they choose to complain that others are not doing enough to help them. Short track racing needs to show cars at gas stations, convenience stores, McDonalds, WalMarts, malls, schools, etc. Everywhere the target audience gathers. Give away tickets, auction or raffle tickets. Short track racing needs to get the target audience attention away from the video games and all other entertainment options. In other words, short track racing has to work for and earn the fans and audience, and stop the damn whining that others aren’t giving them hand outs and doing their jobs for them.

  8. Shawn
    Personally, I agree with the sentiment that today’s society, seems like everyone is looking for someone else to help them out, and I do not like it, However, in regards to the article in question, I feel it behooves the upper echelons of NASCAR to help promote grassroots racing, because it in fact really benefits THEMSELVES. If you have a strong foundation on local grassroots racing, you are building a foundation of future CUP fans and the like. As far as drivers moving up or down, I couldn’t care less. Beat em. I know its tough, but in more likelihood they are drawing fans to the race, and hence potentially more money to spread around.

  9. My view is the problem started with the original article in Speed51 by Brandon Paul. He had an kernel of an idea for a story. Did a bunch of research, got locked into writing it after doing the work, threw a bunch of stuff at the topic and hoped something would stick. Problem is it was the wrong century.
    He could have decided to stop writing as soon as he mentioned money. Either the drivers need to be paid or the sponsors need the drivers to go to races to promote their products. Clearly asphalt short tracks don’t have the money as he said and sponsors name brand promotion is so fragmented now sponsors are not wasting their time. How many people in a crowd 2000 are looking to move their accounts to Ally Bank.
    Then there’s the premise that there is a connection between grass roots racing and the top tier. There was a connection decades ago, now it no longer exists. Individual drivers may like to spend their down time racing locally but those are individual decisions and not industry policy. Grass roots racing, dirt or asphalt and NASCAR Cup racing are each stand alone entertainment decisions.
    Preece, Harvick, Newman, Larson et al are throwbacks. The prototype driver now is not a hard scrapple minor leaguer that worked his way up to the bigs driving the wheels off of cars. It’s children on a career path starting as soon as they can hold a steering wheel hopscotching to whatever series that will give their career the boost it needs. It’s almost always backed by a family or patron with big money.
    Speaking of money the changing dynamic also extends to grass roots racing or at least the part I have exposure to. Mr. Courchesne made what I think is the best observation in this entire thread by saying our locals are missing opportunities to promote themselves on social media. I’ll take it a step further. They don’t because they don’t have a real connection to the fan base either and see no reason to connect to it. Like the Cup series the local guy or gal in their 20’s or 30’s fielding a car on a shoe string hoping to get a fan or two to buy them a tire or some gas is mostly gone. Replaced by kids from families with money that started out in karts and worked their way up on the backs of self contained family units many funded by successful family businesses. Or entrepreneurs like Rocco and Owen supplying cars and equipment to multiple teams.
    Our local drivers don’t promote themselves to their fans as much as they could mainly because they have no reason to. Sure they want to be cheered by large crowds and they know there has to be a minimal amount of people in the stands for the track to justify having races but otherwise what does a fan do for them? Certainly not relieve the cost burden of racing. Bigger purses…………please.
    Furthermore I would suggest that a significant number of local teams have a visceral contempt for fans and at best view them as a necessary evil. We see it in this forum by the lack of named drivers participating. With the notable exception of Geoff Nooney who goes out of his way to inform and educate fans the few entries by drivers and owners often time can be contemptuous and condescending to fans. Facebook, Twitter, individual web site pages………….out of date…….irrelevant.
    The exceptions to fan interaction. Unmuffled, pit parties, Matt Bucklers video interviews and driver signing sessions on race day. In other words highly structured interactions.
    The question of why there are overwhelming reasons for drivers and team members to stay away from unstructured forums such as this and social media. Ask Melissa Fifield and you may get the best answer.
    It was all wrong from the start of the Speed51 article. None of the assumptions exist any more. Stafford has to be one of the best if not the best asphalt track in the Northeast and you have to be an old man like I to remember when Waltrip, Earnhart, Bouchard, Richmond or even Paul Newman made a visit.
    On all levels the money requirements are so massive each team is it’s own self funded, individual money network where fan importance to participants is merely scenery. There are exceptions for sure but the industry trends are pointed in one direction and it isn’t interaction with fans. Ironic isn’t it in the age of social media?
    Which brings us back to Sean Foster’s series on local racing. Forget Cup series driver interactions with the grass roots. It’s about thinking outside the box for local racing. Giving teams and drivers a reason to connect to their fans and fans reasons to attend races. My guess is a visit from Joey Logano wouldn’t cause the fan interest meter to even register a blip.

  10. Ken L.,
    I agree with you. I think both sides can help each other. I think Cup drivers can help short track racing and I also thought a strong foundation of grassroots racing will help Cup racing. That said, I don’t believe any Cup drivers should be forced to spend their free time participating with in short track racing or doing appearances to prop it up. And I also don’t believe they should be judged negatively if they choose not to.

  11. Short track racing needs to do their own damn job. Haul your cars out to these car shows and events, and promote yourselves:

    http://www.newenglandautoshows.com/calendar-month/

    There are plenty of people at these events.

  12. Unfortunately folks the writing is on the wall, we’re just too blind to see it. Dareal brought out a good point. Go to a race, and look in the grandstand, 70-80% of the people are over the age of 45. The 20-30 crowd is into stick and ball sports. This downward slide started about 25 years ago, and no action was taken to curtail it. Now, if you were to start racing Nissan’s and Honda’s, maybe you would get some interest from the younger crowd. Joey Lagano could stand in victory lane, and say ” Hey go out to Stafford Speedway Friday night for some great short track racing” and that statement might draw 10 people, and they’d be 40+ years old. More involvement from the ” super stars” ain’t going to fix the problem facing short track racing. At this point I don’t think anything is gonna save us. So enjoy while you can, because unfortunately someday it will no longer exist. Sorry for the downer.

  13. Whatever happened to the NASCAR HomeTracks ads during the televised races? That appeared to be a great way to bring attention to the local track scene.

  14. The biggest problem is promoters think I will open the gates and they will come. The tracks are paying the purse through the back gate. They really don’t care how big the crowds are. Everything that comes in through the front gate is profit. Track owners and promoters are out of touch with their fans. I have two teenage sons. I ask them if they want to go to the races. Their first question is how many other divisions are there besides the modifieds. If it more than two, they opt to stay home. They don’t want to put in eight hours at a speedway! If I ask them if they want to go to a hockey game or lacrosse game, they are in. Sports that are timed and you invest about two and a half hours and move onto something else the youth of today have no problem going to see. See the pattern here. Kids don’t want to sit through hours and hours of victory lane interviews and intermissions. My kids hate the down time between heat races. They want action on the speedway all the time. Seekonk has the best setup with the victory lane up on top near the pits. That way the winner can get his pictures and thank his sponsors while the races are still going on. That is what is wrong with short track racing. Other sporting events they have t-shirt night, hat night, rally towel night,etc. They are PROMOTING their event. Racing is selling you an $8 cold hot dog, and a $6 soda. Do I need to go on? If short track racing dies, it will die because the track owners allowed it to. Hopefully Norm Wrenn has some good ideas and can jump start the short tracks of NH.

  15. Fast Eddie says:

    Shawn, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Cup people aren’t obligated to do anything and there should not be anything held against them for not doing anything for grassroots racing. Grassroots racing needs to stand up for itself and work to gain interest from the world’s entertainment pool. The “family factor” at racetracks has been thinning steadily; it’s mostly an older crowd that grew up interested in racing. When I was younger there were many opportunities to go somewhere to see a racecar on display and chances to win tickets on the radio, for example. Now it seems most of the promoting is between tracks for the same fans. there seems to be fewer attempts to look outside that group to access NEW fans. I think NHMS and Stafford are doing a good job of trying to do that. Thompson is now working harder on that as well, the drifting during the circle track events being a prime example. Getting potential NEW fans exposed to short track racing is desperately needed. Many existing race fans are pretty dedicated people; they’re looking and planning for races to go to. The “let’s go to the races” idea needs to planted into NEW peoples’ brains to get them to the track instead of somewhere else.

  16. Ed j, and fast Eddie both bring up valid points. Kids and the twenty something’s don’t want to sit for hours on end, they prefer stick and ball sports that are timed ( although recently there was a thirteen hour baseball game). These are the future fans the promoters need to reach. The tracks don’t really promote because as stated, the purse comes from the back gate, the stands are all profit. Throw a few big events each year, and the track owner is happy having made their money. Cup drivers are not track promoters. With sponsorship being so hard to get most drivers spend their time keeping sponsor happy, or trying to find it. Most short track drivers don’t make their living driving, and work full time jobs, racing on the weekends as a hobby of sort, leaving no time to promote their sport. And obviously promoters aren’t promoting, as most nights the stands are half full. As I said before the writing is on the wall, we’re just too blind to see.

  17. Lots of great points in this article and in this comment section. I think most agree that short track racing can’t (and shouldn’t) rely on NASCAR and its stars to save the local level of the sport. Could they help by promoting and making appearances? Of course. But I feel like it’s of out of their nature.

    Let’s pick on Joey Logano (simply because he’s an easy target)… How is Joey Logano going to connect with the local racing scene if he has never had a connection himself. This isn’t a guy who cut his teeth or spent time at the local short tracks. Same with Alex Bowman, William Byron, Erik Jones, even Martin Truex Jr. only spent a couple years racing locally before moving to NC to chase the dream. None of the drivers have an emotional attachment to the grassroots level. Beyond that, hardcore local racing folks don’t have as much of an emotional attachment to the upper tiers of NASCAR so at this point it’s not very significant if a cup driver appears at a short track.

    Shawn- I hear ya and agree with what you’re saying about our racers not using social media as a tool to help short track racing. My thought on that is that the race tracks sort of have to get the ball rolling and encourage racers to get involved online. Take Stafford Speedway for example: They have IG takeovers, they share posts of racer’s new paint schemes, they comment, engage, interact with both fans and racers on all social media accounts… these tactics create an open online community and more importantly, acts as a promotional tool.

  18. I am a race fan and I stopped going to Stafford weekly because I was bored during a good portion of their show. They routinely run the division I want to see last and I felt as though I was held hostage waiting for the SK feature sitting through 4 heats of limited and late models in which there may be 4 or 5 cars running. Then they would run two half a field features of limited and late models which at best is marginally entertaining for the first 5 laps after which I would pray no cautions would come out so it would end quickly. Every Friday night, there was at least an hour to an hour and a half of time in which I am not entertained. I have a decent attention span, I am a race fan and they lost me for 2/5th of their program, there is no way they are going to keep millennials entertained. There are simple solutions, combine their feature, run them after the SK’s. People can stay if they want people can leave if they want. There was a poll recently with high school kids, the vast majority said they were more excited for a new cell phone then getting their drivers license. These kids aren’t into cars and don’t have the attention span to sit through a 3.5 hour program of car racing when they don’t even care about getting a driving license.

    I used to bring a newbie to Stafford each year. I wanted to introduce someone to racing and for years I thought Stafford was the best shot at making them a fan. Nice grounds, great lighting and sound system, good fields of cars, they had the jumbo tron on the back stretch for replays, safe grand stands, etc. Generally, I found that the Newbie would initially be excited and into it but as the night dragged on they would tire out and want to go. I ended up leaving once before the SK feature and I said never again. For some reason a couple of 12 car features of cars that look alike but run separate features in the middle of the show did not hold their attention long enough to get to the entertaining portion of their show. You could get new people into the stands once but you have entertain them to get them to come back.

    Years ago Stafford dropped the pro stocks citing the show took too long. Then over the years since added SK lights, limited late models and legends(since departed) to their program. Not sure why their attention went away from the fan friendly time of show to the new mentality of lets cram as many divisions as we can into a Friday night paying no attention to the quality of the entertainment it provides. Worse yet the divisions look the same limiteds and lates look identical, sk lights, sks and tour type mods look alike. Its confusing to new people. I understand the whole feeder ladder system, but it comes at a cost of time to run a show and quality of entertainment.

    I will once again start off by going to Stafford the first few weeks and I am sure taper off before the end of May. Maybe earlier if the limited late models are running two heats of 4 cars and a feature anywhere before last in the program. I will stop going as I just dont find it as entertaining the past few years. Stafford has made it clear the fans in the stands is no longer their priority. There was a time where I wouldn’t miss a Friday night for anything. Now I will skip a Friday night at Stafford for just about any reason.

  19. Cg, nailed it

  20. I agree with CG. My two teenage daughters won’t go with me to the races. I have taken them with me all their lives. Now they prefer to stay home or chill with their friends than to go sit in the heat for 3-4 hours or more. some tracks run shows till midnight. They are bored. It’s not cool. The cars look alike as CG mentioned. They would rather play on their phones than go. The connection with cars is over for these kids. The over priced food and boring racing turns these kids off.

  21. When most of us here were kids, the streets were loaded with hot rods from the factory. Regular cruise nights on the weekends. That hooked us and got us to the tracks. We saw it everywhere everyday. Cars are utilitarian now, no more spiff and pizzazz.

    Many kids today don’t even get a drivers license. There is no attraction to motorsports today like there was, and there is so much more competition. And competition is something NASCAR never had to deal with.

    The tracks do have to do a better job moving the racing along and making it less of a show. The into at Stafford where they park the cars on the little oval are olds and stale. The rolling intros are far better. That was done when the shows ran too long.

  22. I agree with all points here.
    My 2 cents? Times have changed like all of you have stated. Its not 1 thing, its many things.
    When i was a kid there were 3 guys in my local town, 1, a next door neighbor even, that ran cars out of their little garages In the neighborhood right where you lived! A connection. You knew them.
    There were many more track back then, so, for me, my hometown track of Norwood arena, was only 20 minutes away. And a lot of parents in the neighborhood went, and it was a social event.
    Places were packed.
    However, soon, real estate became too valuable. People complained of noise, as rural towns built up. Tracks disappeared and became malls. Oil shortages.
    Kids that used to center their activities around cars got into “other things” and the car monies (and interest in them) dried up. Home built car builders became less and less, as professionally built cars at the tracks were what you had to buy (on the most part) to stay competitive.
    Costs.
    Costs to run, costs to be a fan. Fast forward.
    Now, electronics have changed everything. There are only so many entertainment dollars out there. Kids are into phones, xboxes, ect, with all the non stop action they can handle. They can get on line and network together without leaving home. And do anything, including simulated racing, if they want.
    And, Add elecronics to this:
    This year, i can sit at home, and not miss a modified Nascar Whelan tour race without leaving my home. Beer fridge 12 steps from my couch. Restroom 20 steps. No lines and clean.
    Sure, like football, baseball, nothing like being there, but……
    So, for this old nostalgic guy, ill still get to my half dozen races or so this year. And sit with all those other old guys there, looking for someone to pass the fan torch to. My buddies and I will lament and remember the “golden eras” when local racing was king. I’m afraid it only matters to us, who remember how it was, and it just does not translate to today’s generation of “new fans”, for whatever reason. I just wish we could come up with the magic answer that would save this worthy sport. I’m all ears. For now, all i can do is buy a race ticket, buy some concessions at the track, to support the sport I love. And hope for the best, for all of racing.

  23. Aren’t we something. A bunch of geezers ready to die and while we’re at it lets pronounce local asphalt racing dead with us.
    CG may have nailed it but he’s been nailing it with the same take down of Late Models and how it’s turned him off going to Stafford going on 10 times now. Meanwhile the LLM’s have 9 cars signed up and are in the process of dying while the Late Models are actually showing signs of life. The situation may be solving itself. Don’t like the gap at regular shows CG………don’t go. Stafford is not one show it’s several. Do as I do go to the Opens and VMRS show where they fire off tour heats and features in rapid succession most of the night. Or take in a NWMT show, There’s three of them I hear.
    Racer28 you’re post was my favorite. Teenage daughters not wanting to go to something their old man enjoyed. That they may have found interesting when they were younger but now no longer share the same interests. Like you discovered teenagers and their need to show independence. A condition I would suggest has existed from the beginning of time and has nothing to do with racing.
    Sorry Rob I’m not ready to pronounce racing dead yet. It’s hard to go into all the positive things going on but some mentions may be in order. Tracks in New Hampshire and Waterford are making major improvements to their facilities. The NWMT has a number of new young drivers committed to a full season and always get strong crowds in the Northeast. The Stafford Opens have more cars now signed up then at any time last year. More importantly several SK teams are building purpose built tour cars with new chassis and engines. How about the Bullring Bash and TTOMS expanding their schedule? The SK, SK Light and Streets at Stafford are reflecting a ton of young new talent with well funded equipment and the rosters are nothing short of impressive.
    Too many golden agers in the stands. For sure in the early months. But when we are in the heart of the summer the crowd is more diverse with families with kids and the doom meter clearly not striking midnight.
    Stafford Karts are popular and the Friday night program is full of Kart graduates. Take in a driver meeting and what you will see is mostly young people, men and women.
    The hearse may be backing up for many of us in the foreseeable future but it may be a bit premature to say racing will be in the same funeral.
    Bob, great post. It touched me for some reason. “And sit with all those other old guys there, looking for someone to pass the fan torch to.” Outstanding!
    Recognizing the challenges but with humility not assuming you have all the answers. A lesson for us all.
    Buck up Racedayct nation. In spite of all our negative thoughts there will actually be a season this year.

  24. Your teenage girls would go more often if there were a lot more teenage boys at the track.
    All of us have shortened attention spans. It’s the world we live in. I like what Thompson does for the weekday WMT events. They run all the weekly divisions before 8pm. The tour guys usually roll off by 8:30. We’re all on our way home an hour later. Stafford would do themselves a big favor by running the SK feature around 8pm. Those who want to stay for the other divisions will. It should be our choice, not their choice. It shouldn’t really matter either if the back gate pays the way. The days of running the “main event” last is over. People don’t want to be at the track until 11pm or later.

    Part of Ryan Preece’s popularity on the national scene last year was due to the fact that he was a Saturday night racer trying to make the show. Guys like Preece and Kyle Larson are certainly a breathe of fresh air but I don’t expect the Cup guys to do it. They all have young families, wealth, sponsor commitments. Their time is their time just like my time is my time.

  25. No doubt social media and the internet has taken it toll on attendance. With race monitor I can get results instantly, now I can watch the Modified tour on racechoice live. No need to go to the races unless I want to waste 5 hrs of my night on a Friday to watch the sk or skl features. The LM and LLM are a waste of time in my book. What ing a race live used to be exciting, we would have to put blankets down in the stands to save seats for the features when the tour rolled in. We used to have a pool (pick out of a hat) winner take all. Fans cheering for their favorite driver, booing there least favorite. Ordering a whole tray of beers before the feature or a red flag. Now you sit any where you want, no cheering going on… just not same without fans in the stands.

  26. Reeling back to the topic the two most knowledgeable contributors to this threat the author and 22 make the point that local racing and teams specifically want their series promoted more but could do more to promote it themselves. Given the sources it clearly is the case. But there are exceptions and a counter argument.
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    On track performance speaks for itself with 2 wins, 7 top 3’s, 10 top 5’s and 16 top 10s in 2018!
    Donations are accepted along with the marketing partnerships.

    If you are interested or know of someone that would like to help out our team please pass on our information or leave us a message on how we can help each other!
    Looking forward to 2019 as another career season at Stafford Motor Speedway!
    Thank you for all your support from everyone here at Nikki Chambrello Motosports!”

    There’s a reason she’s voted the Most Popular Driver.

    As for teams complaining less and promoting more a devils advocate counter argument.
    On any given race night teams show up with somewhere in the area of $500,000 to a million dollars of equipment.. They shell out massive amounts of money to win very little money. Meanwhile the track if it’s open and holding the race is spending money to make a lot more money.
    We want tracks to make money and be successful but their financial goals are far different from race teams.
    Being more aggressive on social media is low effort and fairly easy so why not do it as Chambrello Mortorsport does. All it take is a camera, minimal writing skills and a little creativity. But when you suggest teams should be loading up their cars and traveling to various places to sell the sport of racing it’s perfectly reasonable why they would resist that unless they were reimbursed by a track.

  27. JD, I dont think Stafford had a single regular show (non tour or open) end after 10 all summer. I was at almost all of them. Running SKs at 845/9 doesnt seem unreasonable to me.

  28. The writer of the article should have done some better research. 3 of the drives mentioned drive for Penske and Hendrick. Both of those owners have for a very longtime limited where their top level series can race outside the series.(For Penske this goes back to the 1970’s and not wanting his Indycar drivers running sprint cars and midgets anymore)

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