Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Time for NASCAR to just go away?

Is it time for the sun to set on NASCAR? At least one writer thinks the sport's time has passed.

You knew it was coming. The wonder is that nobody has done it before now.

But there’s a column/blog/whatever on the web today that calls, out right, for NASCAR to just go away.

The writer is Robert Weintraub, who says he’s based in Atlanta and who worked as a producer on the “NBS 24/7” show.

To summarize his points, he says NASCAR should be “put out of its misery” for several reasons.

First, he says, the sport “has been leaking oil for some time.” He cites declining attendance and television ratings, poor reception of the Chase for the Sprint Cup format, the “disconnect” of the sport from its hardcore fan base and the changing face of the sport’s stars.

“The most visible part of NASCAR, the driver corps, has morphed from a crew of heroic-yet-relatable, older, mostly mustachioed hell-raisers to an interchangeable posse of corporate-ready drones fresh out of driver's ed,” Weintraub writes, citing three-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson as someone who is “excellent but dull.”

But Weintraub adds that “a couple of sexy drivers or a breathless season finale” won’t fix the sport’s biggest problem.

“The sport can't escape the fact that the internal combustion engine and fossil fuels are technologies on a steep downslope. With hybrids and electrics on the way in, it's hard to see where gas-guzzling, emission-belching stock cars fit in. Unlike the Indy Racing League and Formula 1…NASCAR has yet to implement alternative-fuel programs — hell, it only switched to unleaded gasoline last season! Open-wheel racing isn't immune from the economic turmoil…but it stands a better chance at survival. Formula 1 and the Indy crowd run machines that are less cars than science experiments, highly engineered equipment that can and will adapt easily to new technologies. Stock cars are just tricked-out Dodges and Chevys — you know, the ones that nobody's buying anymore.”

He also points out that if the American automakers do get money from the government to stay alive, it’s hard to see how they can justify spending any of that on “a diversion like NASCAR.”

Weintraub’s conclusion?

“There is an unshakeable anachronistic whiff to NASCAR these days. Like the saber-toothed tiger and the cassette tape, stock cars had their time — but that time is now past. …Detroit's nightmare is an opportunity for NASCAR to do the right thing and suspend operations. Once it goes, we'll probably wonder why it ever existed in the first place.”

I think he’s full of horse feathers. Whenever there are issues with gas prices or supply or other economic hard times, somebody always says we can’t “afford” diversions that take us away from finding real solutions. That’s nonsense. Movies, music and sports help us recharge to face those problems, in my mind.

I agree that NASCAR needs to start working toward using different technologies and fuels to make what its cars do on the track more relative to what’s going on with cars on America’s roads now and in the future. But you can’t convince me that what goes into making an Indy car go 225 mph has anything to do with making street cars better, either.

I also don’t agree that NASCAR can’t survive without the manufacturers. The fact is that history shows the opposite is true. Manufacturers have pulled out of racing before, several times, and every time they’ve come back. If you’re going to sell cars, you’re going to have to advertise to potential buyers. People who come to NASCAR events, by and large, are the kind of people who like cars. The best advertising is the kind that’s aimed at likely customers, and I think it would be short-sighted for auto makers, no matter what form the industry takes going forward, not to try to appeal to race fans.


Christopher said...

I read Weintraub's Slate article yesterday. I was skeptical at first but he makes a compelling case that NASCAR's best days are behind it. I have to say that as the economy gets worse, it gets harder and harder for race fans of modest means to travel to races, pay high ticket prices, and buy a track hot dog. As more people become unemployed, NASCAR looks more and more like an unnecessary luxury.

Anonymous said...

Weintraub's notion of simply hanging a "closed" sign on an industry of the breadth and depth of NASCAR is laughable, but when you get inside the extremes of his piece, as Chris noted, he makes some valid points.

NASCAR has led its heritage and traditional fan base far from home, apparently in a quest for bigger and more lucrative rewards. Perhaps, like the executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they thought they "were doing the right thing at the time." It's not working all that well right now for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and it's beginning to look a little iffy for NASCAR.

As for Weintraub's certainty that the internal combustion engine is gone, I've been hearing that just about all my life (56 years). But even if it goes away, it will be replaced by some sort of power-providing source, and it seems to me that those futuristic vehicles might even be raceable.

As for the "uninteresting" drivers, NASCAR's athletes have not evolved any more dramatically than, for example, baseball players over the history of that sport. And baseball, many years past its peak and no longer referred to as our National Pastime, is still with us. By Weintraub's logic, perhaps baseball should "go away."

It's difficult, in retrospect, to say whether Big Bill France was visionary, intuitive, lucky, or something in the middle of all that in his concept of the Strictly Stock division and in his execution of the idea. It's less difficult, now, to conclude that the boom that began in the late 1980s has presented dilemmas that have not been quite so effectively dealt with in comparison to Big Bill's stewardship.

All in all, Weintraub's article is probably more provocative than insightful, and very likely was intended as such.

Anonymous said...

The guy is exactly right. I turned off the TV and stopped going to races about 3 years ago. The racing got boring, the drivers are nothing but corporate pretty-boy robots (for the most part), and they kept moving the races further west. Not to mention it costs a mortgage payment to even go to a race anymore.

I wouldn't shed a tear if big-league stock car racing shut down. Doesn't matter to me in the slightest. I'll still go down to my local track and watch them beat and bang on each other for $100 purses.

Anonymous said...

Horsefeather is right! I can't imagine life without NASCAR.

Monkeesfan said...

David Green stole some of my thunder in noting how Weintraub uses extremes in his piece but nonetheless makes some points worth taking seriously. The extremes about Al Gore's sham "documentary" and about the "rise of hybrids" (which are actually a fuel-efficiency hoax, about "renewable energy" even though the concept is mostly myth, and about oil when prices have not only plummeted but are likely to stay down because the excessive spike in demand of last year won't be repeated - not to mention quoting Neil Young lyrics as if there's any credibility to Neil Young's opinions - those are turn-offs to some of his larger points.

When he examines the sport seriously, Weintraub misses when he puts too much stock into the loss of tracks like Rockingham and a date from Darlington. Replacing them with Kansas was a correct decision because Kansas is a NASCAR demographic. Adding Texas also works because it's a NASCAR demographic; it is the circumstances involving exactly how Texas got onto the schedule that should anger people.

He also oversells the "dullness" of drivers and distorts the kind of drivers fans went for - only a few drivers from the past had mustaches and most of them didn't raise hell but in fact would be considered "dull." About the only real hell-raiser in the post-1971 past was Tim Richmond. The sport has never needed "oomph" from personalities.

Weintraub misses totally when he fails to examine how the declining competitiveness of the racing has driven fans away. A sport with far more winners, more winning teams, more lead changes - i.e. a sport where Talladega racing is the norm and not the exception - is a sport that would not lose as much of its fanbase (if it lost any) as NASCAR presently has.

Where Weintraub lets his extremism get the best of him lies in damning the internal combustion engine, of which the above-cited fits of extremism are a part - it is absurd to say that IRL's switch to ethanol is really accomplishing anything advertised of it beyond fueling the cars. He is also wrong in talking about Dodges and Chevrolets as cars "nobody is buying anymore."

He's also wrong in comparing NASCAR programs to CEOs flying private jets - that people equated that with their companies dying out is ludicrous - Weintraub should have noted the role of one of Talladega's previous race sponsors - the UAW.

chris - the economy was far worse in the 1970s, yet fans went to the races anyway.

Front.Burner.Issue said...

It's NOT the economy stupid.

NASCAR buried itself by:

1. Promoting corporate suck-ups for drivers

2. Leaving historical tracks

3. Pushing diversity

1. Edwards, Johnson, Kahne and anyone named Busch. Petty was the King. Earnhardt was the Intimidator. Gordon is the Middle Manager.

2. Darlington, The Rock, Wilkesboro, etc. in favor Cali, Texas, Vegas and...Mexico?

3. Joe Sixpack has had 'Diversity Training' rammed up his you-know-what in every corner of his life. He don't wannit (sic) on race day.

Anonymous said...

Weintraub makes some nice points, But NASCAR is not giong away anytime soon.

Sure 2009 is going to have a whole bunch of races with under 43 cars in it, but the when the economy gets better the more sponsorship dollars will appear and more 43 cars fields will happen.

A NASCAR car is not an F1 type car. It never has been and never will be as well.

I think we have exciting drivers, we just do not have a whole load of them that show it off the race track.

Tim Richmond was a quality driver, but he died of Aids.

Anonymous said...

The guy is partly correct but only partly. The real problem is NASCAR has removed the sport from the people that got them where they are. I remember about 10 years ago when we were camping at Dover and overheard a couple of guys saying "We are being priced out of our sport". If they were saying that 10 years ago they certainly are gone today.
I am an old NC guy and love racing. We are retired now and go in our motorhome but the cost is starting to get to us also. Sad, I have been a motorhead all my life. Hate to see what is happening.
Greed is the root cause if your dig deep enough.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR not becoming "green" isn't their problem. That's a bunch of bull. If they want to kill themselves any faster all they need to do is put electric cars on the track. LOL. No, their problem is they turned their back on their roots and went Hollywood. They closed tracks like North Wilkesboro and Rockingham to branch out to Mexico (now defunct)and Western and Northern states.

I'd say if they want to turn it around go back to the old rules and old traditional tracks.

I know you Northerners would like to destroy the Charlotte traditions and make us more "New York" but NASCAR is as part of this city's heritage like it or not. If you don't like it then go back to where you came from and quit trying to destroy our heritage.

Bumblebee said...

Nice article David and good commentary. Your points are valid and NASCAR is going no where but up. The sport is still growing and experincing change. Change can be difficult especially for the fans. The only concern, more prevalent than at any time, is the COT. The vechile manufacturers put out products that the fans can buy. The COT is so far from that and the average fan, especially new ones, cannot connect to it. NASCAR needs to make this one change back to the original intent, racing/testing "STOCK" cars. Consumers relate to what they can see and feel. Go to the car lot and see a real "STOCK" car. Then the switch over to alternative fuels and other modes of more efficient fuel cells will be accepted by the consumer.

Anonymous said...

Dave -

Do you actually expect the local tracks to still be here if NASCAR shuts down? Where is the buzz going to come? Local tracks are already having a hard enough time staying alive with the endorsements of NASCAR behind them.

NASCAR will find a way to cut cost and stay on the air.

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine life without NASCAR racing. However, I do think they need to get back to the real world. We just got our renewal for the BofA 500 at Charlotte next year, and they told us they were so glad we were returning customers. They even gave us a business card to call our "representative" with any questions. However, when I called her to ask if our very expensive seats near the start/finish line were going to be upgraded to the new seats the "cheaper seats" that were larger and much more comfortable below us in the grandstand would be upgraded to the new, much larger and comfortable seats, she said "NO". Then, I asked if she could tell me how many years for sure we had had our 10 seats in that grandstand, and she said records only went back to 2005! What is up with that???? Wouldn't you want to know how long people have paid for their seats? I think our ten tickets are over 20 years, but she didn't know. So much for the our "personal representative" and the billionnaire Bruton wanting to keep his fans happy. She could have cared less that I called. May be our last year in 2009.

Anonymous said...

If NASCAR dies, it will be for 1 reason. Their inattentiveness to their fan base. The racing for the most part is boring. It's like watching an NBA game, you can ignore the race and tune in for the last 50 laps and not miss much. We all can talk this to death, but if the leaders of NASCAR don't make changes to bring back good racing, then the sport will die off. At about anytime you get better racing on Saturday night at Anderson Speedway than what you get on Sunday in NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

I was born and reared in Billy Graham and NASCAR country where people believe that the moon landing was fake and pro 'rasslin' is real. I had my only shot at movie stardom as an extra on the second Smoky and the Bandit movie filmed at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. I watched Talladega Nights, the Legend of Ricky Bobby on television the other night. Sometimes, I do miss my old stomping grounds and NASCAR fan buddies.

Anonymous said...

No let Nascar stay but get back to real racing. Get rid of the weiners who complain when another driver "bumps" them during a race...duhhhh it's racing! Get rid of the restrictor plates and let's go racing. And let the drivers punch each other in the helmet if they want! Dawm...let them say dawm if they want to without a half-million dollar fine! Nascar has become a nothing sport of brats who think they are hot .... And get rid of drivers like Earnhardt Jr who obviously can't get it done and move over for those that can. Let Tony say what he wants... Get rid of ABC who don't know how to broadcast a race and give it to Fox... Let's go racin' boys!

Anonymous said...

Well I think Weintraub should be nutured to keep such lunacy/heresy from spreading. But, the really great thing is that we live in a country where I can believe he's an idiot and he can know I am, and neither one of us gets shot or locked up. There's a lot to be thankful for - including that every 2nd or 3rd article that makes you realize that David Poole isn't really as bad as he seems sometimes.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Working on NASCAR commercials is 80% of my husband's income. It is the largeste spectator sport around. You have got to be kidding me???? You are in the heart of NASCAR! I may not be a huge fan myself but I realize what it means to this city!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh and 1 other thing. The U.S. auto industry is so very important a part of our security and economy that our alleged public servants in Congress felt it was much more important to leave town for a 2 or 3 week vacation than to work out some solution to the auto industry situation. Regardless of what anyone might think should be done to or for the U.S. auto industry, that should take precedence over members of Congress going Christmas shopping.

Anonymous said...

Geez Dave, Just because every meaningful dollar you made in your life is directly attributed to kissing Nascar hinney and you think the guy is wrong about nascar being outdated? I don't belive it! I spent two thirds of my adult life around stock cars and nascar, and too feel they have lost their roots and now are just drifting. The lady said her entire life was based around Charlotte and racing- well, maybe that's something that needs to change. Maybe Charlotte needs to go back to being a waanabee city where people are from- not a destination.

Anonymous said...

Guess what lady...this used to be the heart of the furniture and textile industrie,these industries made up 100% of a pay check.

Anonymous said...

Sports writers such as yourself are much of the problem. your promotion of the chase format, plus always whining anytime one driver has hard words for another, has helped create the current mess. The move out west sucks also. i watch 4 races a year....Daytona and Talladega. maybe Bristol. races are too late at night is another factor.

I don't think it will disappear, but the true, loyal fans are being turned away.

Anonymous said...

Theres been naysayers since the beginning of time. They said God was dead and should just go away for many years and actually took him out of the schools beginning in 1962 and today hes completely gone but its ok to learn about how man evolved from sea ameba and monkeys.

Weintraub is a joke. He just hates racing and wants to get rid of it because he is self centered bastard who cares less if others watch the sport and because it mostly whites only if the real truth were known. Suit up some minority drivers and he would be happy, if you can find any who would risk their lifes at 200mph for 4 hrs every Sunday without an advance paycheck like the NBA NFL or MBL.

Actually he needs to look at the declining NBA that is really in rigor mortis along with MLB and their 30 million$$ players where owners all lose zillions that comes back on taxpayers to cover foot their losses.

Weinraub is just a liberal who is trying to manipulate and get soemthing started when he really hates racing period. He needs to stick his nose in own affairs and mind his own business.

He hates internal combustion cars too so this millionaire needs to sell his 100,000 vehicles.

Also isnt it funny how Indy car racing going untouched as usual? Is he jealous that stock cars are more popular?

In other words he needs to F--- Off. Go fly and kite. Millions love racing its the 2nd biggest spectator sport in America only behind football. Maybe he afraid racing will surpass football and it will within a few yrs.

Anonymous said...

Well, I've pretty much been slammed everytime I make this comment (listening, Monkeesfan?), but I agree with several comments about NASCAR needing to get back to basics. Losing Rockingham and a Darlington date to goofball places like Kansas were bad for the sport. Getting away from "stock" cars....also a very big mistake.

I'll also step on a few toes and say that as a nation we've become such drama addicts that unless there's some sort of scandal in progress we think people are boring. The competition appears to be much better now, but could that be because of debris cautions and green / white / checkered nonsense? Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly "old school", but 5 cars on the lead lap at the end was not uncommon 25 or 30 years ago.

Also, the same folks who love racing at 'Dega and Daytona (including me on that one) never seem to understand that the restrictor plates that they loathe are the very devices making for such tight racing.

Some fans just can't be satisfied without 75 lead changes, a photo finish, and a fight in victory lane. (Of course with ticket and camping prices being higher than jet fumes, it's easy to see why they would expect that) Let me tell you, COT, debris cautions, g/w/c, notwithstanding, it ain't gonna happen but rarely. There will always be boring races and ball games regardless of the "level playing field."

Bottom line for NASCAR...go back to basics....Let fans either take it or leave it...And stop letting greed dictate who you try to please next and where....Be satisfied with the windfall that brings you.

Anonymous said...

Quoting David Poole: "...you can't convince me that what goes into making an Indy car go 225 mph has anything to do with making street cars better..."

Poole needs an Intervention or something, he is delusional. Maybe a stay at The Betty Ford Clinic with Brian France would help.

Read autoextremist.com in the FUMES weekly columns to get a similar opinion as Weintraub's with even more rational reasons Brian France has castrated stock car racing.

Anonymous said...

Get Dale Jr out of the sport and make room for the driver's that can get it done? lol. Lets see. Just man the field with one car (J.J.) and let him race (based on last 3 yrs). That would be boring IMO. If you eliminate the driver's you don't think can get it done you will be down to a 10 car field maximum. Yea, get rid of Jr. and see what happens. If you don't think it is true, ask Teresa Earnhardt how things are going these days. lol

Anonymous said...

Dave said...
"The guy is exactly right. I turned off the TV and stopped going to races about 3 years ago."

And yet here you are....... :-/

Anonymous said...

A few other posters stated my exact feelings. Daytona and Talladega. That's about it. The amount I watched grew less and less over the past three years. Haven't been to a track in five years. A boring product, way too many commercials, drivers running for points instead of racing to win, an anti-climactic Chase "season". Now, the automakers are in a jam. How long before a manufacturer leaves NASCAR, a la Honda in Formula One. There's not much to be interested in anymore. Period.

Monkeesfan said...

Anonymous #15 -

Racing isn't bumping - racing each other clean has always been the ethos of racers.

Let the drivers punch each other out? What are we accomplishing with that?

"Get rid of the restrictor plates" - why? They keep the cars out of the grandstands and are by far the best racing in the sport.

"Get rid of drivers like Junior who can't get it done" - and what do we accomplish with that? That Junior's not championship material isn't relevant - what's relavent is he can race, is pretty level-headed (yes Weintraib that qualifies as "dull") and is actually fun to watch even though I'd prefer him driving for someone other than Hendrick.

"Let Tony say what he wants" - for what?

Anonymous said...

I used to go to the tracks once a year with the kids. Never missed a race on TV. Now could care less,get the results on the web or this site. I prefer the old days when they looked like stock cars. We need a stock class with some safety items. Let the manufacturers cry fowl. who cares they do not stand behind their crap any how.

Anonymous said...

Bring back something even close to I.R.O.C. and I'd consider watching / attending again. It was drivers' skill then, not corporate money, that made a difference and was exciting to see. Maybe if all the high dollar / prestige value of NASCAR went away (like Bruton and all his antics) some of us might get interested again. Until then? Have a good day NASCAR; we enjoyed you while it lasted.

Anonymous said...

Is it rating's week or something???? You sure know what to put in a article to start crap!!
With the Guys thinking all other major sports can be compared as wel but otherwise

Monkeesfan said...

"Let's get back to real stock cars."

To people who advocate this - why do you think they evolved to pure racecars?

It would seem they did so because they had to.

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that because of NASCAR, there have been countless advances in auto safety of consumer cars, actually resulting in a significantly lower incidence of highway fatalities in America. If the big three do stay in business, they will still have advertising budgets, because that is what NASCAR means to the auto manufacturers -- huge captive advertising audiences who buy lots and lots of products and are worth millions of impressions -- the currency of advertising.

Anonymous said...

"Time for NASCAR to just go away?"


We'll see it begin to totally "disintegrate" in 2009.

Strange.....NASCAR never integrated, but it will disintegrate. Go Figure!

While this fan respects the right of those who write to have opinions, it is sadly obvious that most of you, including the illustrious Mr. Poole and especially his follower minions are totally full of "anachronistic crap."

NASCAR is dying a slow death and Mr. Weintraub is far more correct, in his thinking, than he is wrong.

"It ain't over 'til it's over."

Face it folks!

It's almost over......

Poole - you can work at Home Depot, in the paint department.

Monkeesfan - You will be a garbage collector....picking up the mess you've scattered across the universe with your blustery condescension.


Anonymous said...

Spanky wrote this:
Is it rating's week or something???? You sure know what to put in a article to start crap!!

My question to you, Spanky, is this: Why would I NOT try to get people to read my blog, my newspaper or my website? Why would I not post things on here that might spur debate, discussion and argument? I don't understand why you think it's an accusation to say that I pick topics that people might want to have an opinion about. What else would I do?

Anonymous said...

It is about time. The 'sport' has grown out of control when it comes to the prices of the food, parking, tickets, and other stuff. The 'sport' should have been stopped years ago or come in to the age of eco-friendly racing.

Anonymous said...

What Poole said, Spanky.

Anonymous said...

Dave, if Nascar isn't dying, why are the stands only half to two thirds full on race day? we won't even talk about the support series races(pathetic)! If nascar is so viable, what is the field of cars going to look like after all the free money is gone next season? It really isn't nascar's fault, with the advance of technology, really all motorsports is going in the crapper. If you legislate out all the latest gizmos, all you have left is a grid full of overpriced go-carts. Maybe we need to figure out how to mix all my children and nascar together so it will at least be interesting to watch(maybe more cat fights in the pits!?!). Last but not least, people today- most all of us included, have the attention span of a gnat. Four and a half hour races are impossible to watch with all the other distractions of modern life. Many around here will say that they are not like that- maybe not but, I(who drove stock cars for 20+ years), am like the rest of the world and have many other things to do than just sit like a blob all afternoon or evening. I DVR all the races nowadays and watch at 1.3 speed AND skip ALL the commercials just so I can stand to watch- you have to know the sponsors would love to read this! Mr. Weintraub may bit a bit of a drama queen, but I'm afraid he is right.........

Anonymous said...

Real news and real reporters do not live on 99% GLOOM N DOOM But wait I think it was someone, no wait it was me, that said Maximum amount of income for MINIMAL amount of work

Anonymous said...

Moved to Charlotte 8 years ago. Was always a NASCAR fan. Became overwhelmed by NASCAR. Races went to ESPN and can't watch them. Tickets went to outrageous prices and can't buy them. Drivers have become sensored, this gets boring. Who wants to see a bunch of guys playing football that hug each other after every play? "Nice tackle, nice catch, nice touchdown you caught on me." NASCAR got boring to me. Haven't watched a race this year.

In God we trust said...

Nascar is a Stupid sport with a bunch of hillbillies going around in circles, it failed to be real racing, get it , Nascar is not exciting, is just as bad as wrestleling, until nascar evolves into a fine tune machine it will continue to go down, racing is about fast machines, agressive drivers and the Fan's !! nascar is just a revolving billboard, no grit !! not guts, therefore no Glory, the 3 times hendrick champions suck, all the teams suck !! there are stale and lame , the sport needs new thinking , this is new world , and yes it needs more diversity, better cars, real race cars, they all look alike that's so stupid,and boring they should have their own identity and personality , no just advertisement!! fans want to identify with a Great team-driver , andless ovals , let the drivers earn their pay and drive in a road course, real racing !

Anonymous said...

Euthinasia???!!! I don't know any kids in China!!!

Anonymous said...


Well, if what you say is true, then you're surfing a hillbilly site. You're reading and responding to a hillbilly blog. Where does that leave you? Might I suggest hillbilly?

I respect everyone's opinion and their right to express it, here, or anywhere else. I just don't understand why so many people who have quit watching races, quit going to races, and totally gave up on NASCAR continue to care enough to read opinions on this site and respond. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not happy with the way that NASCAR has, at the same time, abandoned its roots in the name of greed and driven prices through the roof on most things. But even I will admit that other than the cars being different, and races being held in places they have no business going to, it ain't changed that much in about 15 years. The races are just as long, most drivers speak on TV like they have some sense, and the level of competition is about the same. NASCAR just seems to be everyone's whipping post these days, and all are dared to stand up for it. I'll still take the COT, races in Kansas and Chicago, and corporate mumbo jumbo in victory lane over the multitude of thugs that have invaded the NFL and NBA. Not to mention the nomad, overpaid players of MLB. As for diversity, don't even go there. When I can't find 5 white guys on a 40 man roster in the NFL, I think it's time they took a look at a "drive for diversity" program. As for the sudden "eco friendly" fan, do any of you seriously thing that the small amount of fuel used or pollution caused by race cars and the trucks that get them to the track is anything more than a comprehensive drop of water in the ocean? Sure I'm for earth friendly, but it's not enough of a factor to use it as a slam on NASCAR.

Bottom line...if you're that down on NASCAR and would like nothing better than to see its demise, why care enough to be on this site?

Anonymous said...

Weintraub doesn't make much of an argument. Based on his logic, should we abandon wooden baseball bats in the MLB in favor of aluminum technology? After all, a wooden bat is as low tech as a '58 Chev small block!

Racing's fate (NASCAR included) will depend on its ability to provide economically viable entertainment. Of course that means being able to deliver NEW fans, something I don't think is happening these days. Move the Nationwide series to a 3 hour Wednesday night TV package? Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Brian SC: "I can't find 5 white guys on a 40 man roster in the NFL..."

Just exactly what team in the NFL are you looking at? Why not post something at least somewhat resembling reality?

And for that matter... what the hell does something like that matter anyway?

NASCAR has gotten expensive and boring what on earth does the race of drivers have to do with it?

You made a pretty stupid point, IMO.

Anonymous said...


I wasn't the one who cried "diversity" as if it would help NASCAR. Read the whole blog. I couldn't agree more, how is diversity, or the lack of it, a factor in the survival of NASCAR? Good point.

Anonymous said...

Reading some of these posts are just hilarious. "Can we have a spelling test?" That may actually be more interesting than the racing that Brian has so successfully sterilized.

Wait........lets make it a reality show. NASCAR SPELLING! It would be a prime follow-up to "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?"

Dont go anymore....dont watch anymore....and dont care anymore.

Thats whatcha get Brian.

Anonymous said...

from: cindy

I'm a sports fan. I love competition and read and participate in differents sites. I am amazed by the number of people who have nothing to do but come on this site to tell the rest of us they no longer watch/attend races. Then why are you here?

On my favorite sites for NFL, NBA, and MLB, the fans don't keep reminding us they no longer watch the sports. What's the point? There's lots of venting, but if you have abandoned the sport, then abandon it. People who still watch and go and want to make changes have a whole lot more street cred, than the ex-fans.

Mr. Weintraub is a bafoon. I had never heard of him before, but I had a hint what his bias was when I see his articles appear in Slate and the Guardian. Both are left-wing publications.

Then he starts out by telling the reader he is a proud owner of a Honda and Toyota. Say what? What does that have to do with the price of beans? He was raised in New YOrk. Yea, we know the place is full of NASCAR fans.

Then he says he has written "lots" of articles on the sport. I did a Google search and glanced at his last 4 years of articles. I found 3 or 4 in the last 4 years. Maybe in his world that qualifies as "lots."

I'll go into specific things he said regarding NASCAR, but first I must say this guy is the most negative jerk I was forced to read just to give an honest appraisal of his views on sports in general.

On 2-13-07 he wrote an article "Italian Soccer Can't be Saved"; 11-16-07 he wrote "Pro-Football Needs to get back to basics"; Kurt Warner is a "worn-down retread." 3-1-08 he wrote about NASCAR in the Guardian UK, and to explain to the British reader he digs at NASCAR by comparing to F1, where cars make right turns on occasion. (Can't you just feel the love he has for NASCAR?)

In the same article he says "most wouldn't put it past the France family to order a fake fight before the Daytona 500" to raise interest. He feels that 36 races are like "a death march." For a jerk who liked it in the old days, they used to have 50+ races some years!

I think the worst (I'm just assuming he is an American) is dissing an American state to foreigners. He said of Nevada, the "Nevada desert has a rich history of rocket powered vehicles aiming for speed records and mobsters gunning it away from newly buried victims.

Taking a break. Will be back.

Anonymous said...

Slow news day for Poole, evidently. Must have had a serious brain cramp coming up with a single story idea. Maybe Utter the gumshoe can up with some material for David if he can get a few precious moments away from the 49ers. It's sad when one of the sport's most storied beat writers (actually, one of the only beat writers now, which qualifies him as "storied") resorts to responding and publicizing what some knucklehead writes over at Slate. It'll be good when the racing season starts again so David can start griping about his parking spot at the track, his seat in the media center, the noise level in the media center, the security guard at the track, how the TV people are favored by everyone, and everything else ad nauseam. I can guarantee you this . . . NASCAR will be around a whole lot longer than both McClatchy and the newspaper industry. Time for Poole to just go away?

Anonymous said...

The only thing affiliated with NASCAR that needs to go away is Brian France. He is responsible for the ridiculous "Chase" format, green/white/checker, and the sterile image of all drivers. Brian is the worst thing that has happened to NASCAR, but the "other" powers that be haven't the guts to admit it.

NASCAR existed long before car manufacturer support, and it will survive again, if Brian France is gone. If not, Weintraub missed this critical element in his article.

Anonymous said...

I won't defend Brian France(he's a buffoon), but in the modern nascar "environment" these megasponsors demand sterile drivers. I mean, what world-wide corperation would invest megabucks in a bubba? Not to pick on the guy but, Cousin Carl is the posterboy for corperate perfection. If he was a smoker with a beer belly and slutty looking wife, I doubt he would be able to attract the kind of money needed to compete at the cup level. The problem is, sterility is boring to watch. IMHO, the best racing I ever saw on TV was the sunday night series from Tucson, AZ with Benny Parsons. Those were real racers who had real jobs during the week and could only spend so much on their cars because that's all they had. Racing NEEDS more of that.

Anonymous said...

It is sad that NASCAR is having problems. I have been a fan for 50 years and would hate to see it go away. Anything that comes out of SLATE is socialist yankee crap. If you like NASCAR you are a racist southern inbred moron according to a lot of northerners. These people have been trying to stamp out our culture for years, bit by bit, and will eventually succeed. That won't change my feelings about them though.

Anonymous said...

from cindy

Well. I guess I'll start by using a few adjectives on Mr. Weintraub: dumb, ignorant, uninformed, evil, left-wing nut, passive/agressive, unprofessional, unable to articulate an arguement using sound arguements,unsupported ego leading to delusions of grandeur, etc.

First he tries to give his credentials as someone who worked on NBS24/7. Excuse me, that was a short-lived series, for Busch, and was CANCELLED! Of course he also has written 4 articles in the last 4 years!

To show us he is willing to sacrifice his living, he says "out of pure self-interest" he should support any measure that will preserve NASCAR! Maybe that's why he wants NASCAR dumped, 'cause he got dumped. Or maybe that's why he thinks NASCAR should be put out of "its misery." If he can't have a NASCAR job, why should anyone else?

So, a guy who had a cancelled program and has written 4 articles in the last 4 years, tells us that he is concerned with the fate of Jimmie Johnson and Dale Jr.!!

I mean I had to laugh. I guess Mr. Weintraub did not see the last Sports Illustrated issue with a full picture of JJ (on the cover)saying he is Tom Brady in a fire suit. You know, a guy with a place in Manhatten, plus a mansion, a couple of planes, a great wife who is in love with him, and Lowes who is willing to spend millions on him every year. Gosh, hand me the Kleenex.

It''s hard to believe, but his articles on the NFL are even worse!

Anonymous said...

Claire's Thong -- Please don't hide behind your phony name. My email is dpoole@charlotteobserver.com. If you have criticism of my behavior, don't fire at me from behind a rock.

In God we trust said...

Truly people's nerves are getting sticky about this issue, and the passion of the fans will not make the France Klan made the changes needed to have Nascar survive, the sport is doomed, unless it re -invents itself in a way that is appealing to the new generation of race fans, the Red neck hillbillie era of Nascar is over, guys and gals get real, Nascar under the right management has the Potential of becoming a world class sport , something that a closed minded France has not been able to do, let me set the record straight i Support Nascar, but it's current format is obsolete, it needs to evolve , those days are over !!




Anonymous said...

Nascar does not need to go What and who needs to go is Toyota they have no business in the America's greatest sport. They need to go back to The Rock,North W, and get rid of Texas 2nd race and also CALIFORNIA in feb. Nascar has alot of fixing up to do or more of the 15 years and older fans will not watch it no more. We need to go back in the day like it was in 1997's.

Reno Blues said...

I'm 60. My first race to attend was the 1958 Darlington 500 overnight in a lawn chair in the infield. A war zone...lol. At age 8 with my Dad. I miss the old drivers like Fireball, Curtis Turner, Pearson, Cale etc. And I miss Ernie 'Swervin' Irvan, Dale, and the old tracks. And Nascar has become a joke with giving the second place finisher the win this year...a lot of that. Races ending under caution etc. And the new tracks are just boring. Now I only watch Daytona, Talledaga and two or three others. The new points format is a joke. I enjoyed the Rock, but its closed now. We need drivers who will mix it up and swerve a little.

In God we trust said...

those days are over boys, get real !! i like the good old times just as much as you do, but reality dictates otherwise!!

people like Bush contribuited to the dilution of America !! now we have to deal with his mess!! Nascar is one of the victims of his stupidity !! and the people that was sucked into voting for him !!

Anonymous said...

Anthony said...
"Nascar is a Stupid sport with a bunch of hillbillies going around in circles, it failed to be real racing, get it , Nascar is not exciting, is just as bad as wrestleling,"

And you just another dumb colored boy who cant spell ... BTW you better get down on all 4s and thank whites for bringing your ancestors out of the jungles when they were needed about as bad as a hole in the head. And dont forget who invented racing, basketball, football, etc plus everything else. Take a look at modern day Africa and see if you like what you see?
Best thing you can do is shut the hell up you ignorant punk. Go back to sckool and learn to read write spell and understand reality a little better.

Anonymous said...

Anthony makes so many stupid, unsupported statements, that it's not worth the effort to even address them.

Monkeesfan said...

Here's another hole in Weintraub's argument about alternative fuels.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR is an antiquated dud that relies of high school dropouts to pay corporate prices to attend. The cars all look exactly alike, the drivers all look exactly alike and the tracks all look exactly alike (except Bristol). Who wants to watch a bunch of cruddy American cars go round and round when the technology is 20 years old, the rules unexcplainable and the drama somewhat similar to watching turds fry in the summer sun?

Anonymous said...

Where's this guy's article about shutting down other major sports that are nothing like they were in the good ol' days?

We got players juiced up on steroids in baseball, NBA players who can travel six miles while making a dunk but couldn't hit a free throw if their contract depended on it, and don't get me started on the NFL.

The guy's argument is just plain silly. Racers have raced without manufacturer support in the past and will do it in the future, if neecssary.

The only conclusion I can draw is that the writer was looking for a topci that would get people riled up (and thus, get it linked on the websites), and this is the topic he chose. It worked, too.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR is an antiquated dud that relies of high school dropouts to pay corporate prices to attend.
There are many of us with college degrees who enjoy NASCAR.

And I find it amusing that you want to disparage fans' intelligence, but then say you don't understand the rules.

Even the "high school dropouts" in the stands can explain them, so maybe you're not quite as smart as you think.

Anonymous said...

I attended my first race at Martinsville in 1955. I got to see the Flocks, Buck Baker in a Chysler 300, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly in a '56 Dodge convertible, Ned Jarrett (I think) towed in with an open trailer behind a Chevy pickup, semis for the Chrysler 300s were the only covered transporters; in other words, I witnessed what MADE the sport, and BRANDS for fans to root for, as well as buy. I've told all who would listen that if I win a big lottery I'll try to establish a STOCK CAR sport, i.e.: you go to the showroom, pick a car, take the body off, put it on an approved frame, bust out the glass, gut it of seats, dash, etc., put in the safety stuff, choose an engine that company makes, cover the lights with metal plates, and go race a FORD, CHEVY, whatever!! Not a cookie-cutter you could knock the fenders off of and race in Indycar. What can't people see?!?!

Anonymous said...

The above comments reflect several aspects of "the sorry and depraved state of NASCAR and its proponents."

Time will tell if the sport will flourish or wither....but things do no look good right now. The future, with relation to the economy, is out of NASCAR'S control.

Think and say what you wish, but what will be, will be.

The stark reality facing teams, owners, drivers and fans may be a big stop sign.

If David Poole and Mike Bagley start alternating days on Sirius Radio, we'll know NASCAR is really in trouble!

Also, if Brian France was as smart as Monkeesfan, NASCAR wouldn't have any problems....and racing would be perfect.

Anonymous said...

For some this argument seems to have touched another one of those "nerves" and appears to really be a source for discussion, argument, and some bona fide hillbilly common sense.

Mr Weintraub does indeed make some valid points. It is true that NASCAR should not only be looking into alternative fuels but also promoting those same fuels and using them. It is true that nowadays, in the "immortal" words of Harry Hogg - "...there is nuttin 'STOCK' about a stock car..." and as you can imagine, even Ol' Harry Hogg would not exactly be thrilled about some of this. Its even true that NASCAR in some measure has become so "corporate" minded that they seem to be losing some of their identity. Case in point - who wants a Jimmie Johnson tshirt when The Intimidator sounds much cooler, right? In todays corporate nonsense, much of NASCAR, drivers, owners, and the like have sold themselves for that corporate sponsor who pays the bills.

In the interest of argument, however, I will respectfully disagree with Mr Weintraub. I believe, especially right now in times of collosal chaos and bedlam on Wall Street and with the Big Three losing face, that the manufacturers actually need NASCAR more than NASCAR needs the manufacturers. Remember the old adage "Win on Sunday Sell on Monday"? NASCAR fans have to see those manufacturers producing quality products that they want. In order to gain some of that exposure, those automakers have GOT to put those drivers in their Impalas, Fusions, Avengers, and Toyotas. If you look at the numbers, well, they do not lie. Manufacturers do tend to seel their products more efficiently when those same products are seen on Sunday whizzing down the front straight at Talladega or dodging trouble at Michigan. Its that simple.

And right now, thats not even working.

Some of the reasons are clear, like the rising costs for teams, fans, and sponsors. Som e of the reasons are not that clear, such as why Detroit has never beckoned to the call to produce more energy efficient alternative fuel cars, or even battery or electric cars which may not even need fossil fuels. Whatever the case, it may be a little late in the game to be making those changes, but the bottom line is with the economy going south, it will be harder for NASCAR to continue its long standing affair with Detroit unless changes are made, and fast.

It is not impossible, however, as some suggest. As Mr Poole pointed out, NASCAR and the automakers have from time to time gone their separate ways. While I am not exactly sure of how that would happen now, I can tell you almost assuredly, that as long as its got 4 wheels, an engine and a driver, its gonna get raced somewhere. It may be that as the Big Three pull back some that other manufacturers step in, or better yet, NASCAR and the teams find ways to race that are not nearly as money gobbling as it is now. If NASA can put a man on the moon, then NASCAR will find a way to race, even if it means cutting some races out and reducing the schedule, expanding some of the engine rules, and moving in the direction of alternative fuels.

For my part, I can only wait with baited breath for the green flag at Daytone in February, and that is what ALL of us want to see!

Anonymous said...

I knew someone would say it sooner or later....The old "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday routine.


There is no such perception among the buying public anymore. NASCAR is an abbreviation for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing......Think about that for a minute and let it sit in.

For the longest period of time these drivers arent driving
Fords, or Chevys, or Dodges. Show me one part on the car that is stock. The COT just added insult to injury. Stick some different headlight, tailights and a grill on it and call it a whatever. The only influence mfr's have anymore is who dumped the most money into a particular branded team and more and more the end user is starting to realize that and not really give a rat's you know what about which company won a race.

It's much akin to the old expression "throwing good money after bad." It looks like they are going to learn that the hard way which may be the best lesson learned.

Thank God I still have dirt tracks and short asphalt close at hand because "that's racin" and the corporatized NASCAR just doesnt have a clue anymore.

"Ya dance with the one that brung ya" and Brian and the corporate faction of NASCAR forgot(or better yet, ignored) that a long time ago.

Accept your swan song NASCAR, because the orchestra is tuning up and the fat lady is ready to sing.

Anonymous said...

I find it amazing how so many people contradict themselves.
First they say "NASCAR his outdated and needs to keep up with the times!" Then turnaround and complain that they no longer race at the old grassroots tracks that got them started! Then you hear "The racing is boring, it should be like it used to be!" After that they complain when a driver wins by 20 car lengths, and forget that by "the good ole days standards", when it was rare for more than 3 cars to finish on the same lap, that would be a barnburner! Also, yes the stands have recently been only 75%-80% full, but let's look at real numbers, not percentages, NASCAR races still sell more tickets to an event, than amy other sport in America, so being #1 is that a reason to shutdown? So called NASCAR fans are the most hippocritical people I have ever seen. They claim to love the "racing" but don't support the tracks that had the best racing because their wasn't a great nightlife in town. Let's also remember that these same people almost never support their local tracks where there is some great racing. I love this sport, I drive a racecar myself at a few local track in the NC, TN , VA area, and yes there are things I disagree with, but it's still much better than the alternative motorsports out there. And to those people who miss Wilkesboro, I did my part and supported EVERY Wilkesboro race from 80-96, did I see you there? To all the naysayers out there "If you don't like NASCAR, turn the freaking channel to curling or somethhing and leave all of us true fans alone to blow our hardearned money the way we damn well please!"

Anonymous said...

Roger, good points.

I'm alsao sick of hearing Nevada doen't have real NASCAR fans. Hey we get over 150,000 to each race and they pay the winner big bucks $425,000 last race.

We also have a driver who won a bunch of races-- 21 I think.

Unknown said...

I think Weintraub has a point. I have been a fan since my first race 1971. The last year they raced about three times a week. I grew up outside Talladega, my dad did some sub-0contract work for Don Naman who was running the speedway back in the 70's and 80's. I'm old-school, but its time has passed. Nascar is pushing for something now it doesn't need. Why do they still have the awards in NYC? Al the other sports except NHL have awards in where the championship is held. They need to do something about the quality of racing. I think only Daytona and Talladega had the most compelling races. The others were "invitationals put on by Busch, Edwards, and Johnson. I want a "real" playoff, eliminate someone every week. Shorten Atlanta, Texas, and Charlotte Fall race. Who cares about Pocono. Give fans a choice of merchandise that is not controlled by Nascar at the Track. ISC needs to be a separate entity away from Nascar.

Anonymous said...

I love Nascar. I just hate what has happened to it. I was a big fan of Fireball Roberts so that kinda makes me a little bit more knowledgeable about the really great Nascar days when it first started. Nascar needs to get back to the basics of racing the old fashion way when it was fun to go to the track, tailgate, meet friends and enjoy a great race. Now it is a business venture: to see who has the most money to do the most with and the little guy just cannot afford it. Nascar ditched all the good ole' tracks for the big money maker tracks. Now they will not have enough fans to pay for the track to be open and the drivers to be paid. It has turned into nothing more than business venture that th higher up snobs do not care anything about. Nascar get off your high horse and back to the little guy who can afford to go to the races and see how your business does. DON'T LET IT GO AWAY. WE LOVE IT, JUST CAN'T AFFORD IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

People, please note that NASCAR is an acronym. As such, each letter in the word stands for a word. And as such, each letter in an acronym is capitalized. NASCAR stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. So, please capitalize the word when you put it in print. There is no such thing as Nascar. It is NASCAR!

Anonymous said...

"A proud owner of both a Honda and a Toyota" makes a very compelling case for a slow news day article... not.
Most likely, his interview with David Beckham was canceled at the last minute and Olga Korbut was refusing phone calls.

At least Matt Dillon saved the day by revving up his rented Impala. Weintraub should cover the weekly cricket standings.

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