Nascar! We Can't Afford You!

Ellen Pasko Contributor IApril 14, 2010

PHOENIX - APRIL 10:  A general view of the stands during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SUBWAY Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International Raceway on April 10, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images


The attendance these days, at a Nascar race, is pretty low.  Gone but hopefully not forgotten are the days when people fought over tickets to Bristol Motor Speedway. These days you can get tickets to just about any race, so why aren’t the speedways full?  One reason, Nascar Fans cannot afford it!

            A fan from Alabama told me she and her family use to go to 3 or 4 races a year.  Now they are extremely luck if they get to 1 per year. 

            While some tracks are listening to the fans and lowering ticket prices, most are not.  My husband received a nice generous $600 tip from his job.  I thought oh great we can rent a car, drive 12 hours to phoenix stay at a motel and be a happy Nascar couple.  I was even willing to forfeit the purchase of pit passes, which I always want at Phoenix.   I priced out the weekend tickets and it would have cost us $329.  There was no way we could afford this trip on $600. There was still gas, food, hotel and the rental car fees.  

            Hotels rooms are rip off during race weekends.   Get this, $159 a night for a side of the road motel?   A side of the road motel that is usually $39 a night!  I am sorry but if I am going to pay over $300 for a two night stay in a hotel it better be one of those hotels where you can get out of bed in the morning, put your feet on the floor and not have to worry about roaches crawling on your feet.  Those hotels are well over $200 a night on race weekend. 

            I don’t begrudge the income Nascar drivers earn. They get in a car and drive at crazy speeds, and really do put on a show.  I wonder how many of them really know how hard the economy has hit us middle and lower income people?  I guess if the drought of fans in the seats last too long they just might find out. 

            I heard someone make a comment about the Nationwide Series recently saying if fans ever get re-interested in the sports things might change.  I don’t think fans have lost interest?  I think fans can’t afford to shell out the big bucks to attend the races.  We are all still here, watching the races from the comfort of our favorite chair or couch each week.  We literally aren’t going anywhere!