NASCAR’s Short-Term Future Threatened by a Down Economy

Joshua LobdellCorrespondent IDecember 12, 2008

The long term future and stability of NASCAR is not in question, but as the economy worsens and the future of the Detroit Automakers is less then certain, the short-term future of NASCAR will surely be painful.


Everywhere we look these days, we see glimpse that 2009 is going to be a hard year for old school, diehard NASCAR fans. More then likely we will see the end of Petty Enterprises, at least as a stand alone Racing operation.


We also will probably see the end of the Wood Brothers team, and considering that these two teams helped build NASCAR, that is truly sad.


However, teams like Roush Fenway Hendrick Motor sports and Joe Gibbs Racing will insure that NASCAR style racing will survive.


Fans of this sport are sure to feel some pain, as races, teams, drivers, and maybe even series get phased out as the economic crisis continues.


In this way, NASCAR is a victim of its own success. Much like the car companies themselves, they have oversaturated the American racing market. Between the top three national divisions, there are 96 NASCAR races on TV and in different markets each and every year.


In this economy, that is probably way too many.


While this economic downturn ultimately could be good or NASCAR, eliminating the weaker teams and also-rans in the top three divisions, we have to hope that team and track owners do not panic and hurt the sport in the long run.


2009 tickets sale for the track owners are going to be soft, sponsorship is going to be extremely hard to find, especially for unproven talents, and we have to hope that the powers that be will not panic and ride out the bad times in order to get back to the good times.


I think we are going to see a massive market correction brought about by this economic hardship. Some of the races will not survive, some of the race teams will not survive, but in the end, the strong will be left standing and ultimately that will be good for the sport.


This is survival of the fittest, as the economic slowdown eliminates the weaker teams, tracks, and races ultimately NASCAR racing will be all the stronger.


Sure guys who helped build this sport, Richard Petty, Eddie and Glen Wood, probably will not survive. But since those teams have not won races since 1999 and 2001 respectively, is it that bad that they go away?


In the Nationwide series, MSRP Motor sports failed to finish a race in 2008 and yet made huge profits by not wearing out equipment and merely qualifying for races and then parking their cars.


These are the things that this downturn will eliminate, and as painful as it is to say, NASCAR will be better for it. Granted, I will be very sad to see institutions of NASCAR past leave, but a better product each and every week will be a far greater reward.