With the current economic situation, along with the monotony of the same teams winning each week and the bias of the press and television media, NASCAR is seeing an unforeseen situation which they never expected to see.
The unmitigated success of NASCAR over the last 10 years from becoming a "Southern Redneck" sport to a multi-racial and unlimited social sport has suddenly seen a sudden drop in attendance, none more so obvious in the empty stands on the back stretch at Daytona this past weekend.
Admittedly, it is "only the second race" at Daytona, but to see a complete stand empty must be concerning for promoters. This is not the first race with empty seats, many including Bristol this year have had tickets available when normally it would have guaranteed an automatic sell-out.
So, how can the promotors and NASCAR change this trend? As a relative newcomer to the sport (five years and being English) here are a few ideas:
1. Special ticket promotions are started a lot earlier. Why should I pay $125 for a seat in advance and the guy next to me buy a "special deal" which gets him three races for a little more than I have paid?
2. Reduce ticket prices.
3. Change the aspect of racing. Scrap the locked in top-35 rule and make all scrap to qualify for a race. At the start of the season, only the previous year's champion is guaranteed to start. Everyone else qualifies on speed/time. The following week, the only person guaranteed to start is the winner from the last race.
4. Rained out qualifying: Instead of starting the race as per points total, why not start the race as in previous weeks finishing order. This would encourage racers more and also stop the procession of the stronger teams from gaining more points.
5. Set start times for each race to be more consistent each week, not dictated to by the television companies.
6. Have "screen-in-screen" commercials so fans who cannot go to the race do not miss any.
7. Cut back the pre-race shows on television to say, only an hour before the race. Who needs three hours or so of repetition before each race? I know for sure I do not.
8. NASCAR needs to be more consistent with applying the rules to each and every team, as there seems to be a certain bias towards the bigger teams.
9. Cut the size of a team to three cars/drivers, no grandfathered teams, an immediate cut for next season, as this will allow smaller teams to enter and race.
These are just a few ideas of getting the fans back to the track. Some you will like, some not, that is why we have that freedom of choice.