Hot 20 – If even fewer viewers tuned in for Talladega, what hope does Kansas have?

by Ron Thornton On Wed, May. 10, 2017

During the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 7, 2016 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The world, as we know it, must be ending. Forget about all the politics and the violence and the hypocrisy and the attempts to mix cultures that just don’t mix. I am talking about something serious here. The television ratings from the race at Talladega are the worst in more than 20 years. Talladega. The worst. What in hell is going on?

I appreciate we do not have the same car culture we once had. I get it that our society now has the attention span of a gnat. Have you ever taped that race and tried to fast forward your way through it? It cannot be done. Unlike some 1.5-mile tracks, say the one coming up Saturday night in Kansas, Talladegea features 2.66-miles of potential mayhem. You do not even need to be able to tell one Junior from any other to be glued to the excitement that lies before you from the seat of your comfy couch. Still, for seven straight springs, the ratings have slid; 5.9-million viewers watched the action on FOX, 11 percent fewer than who watched a year ago. That is not even half of those who tuned in back in 2005.

No surprise that this is not just a Talladega thing. Just about all the broadcasts this season have seen multi-year lows in ratings and viewership. I do not see Daytona or Bristol on that list. That does not surprise me, either, for the same reason Talladega’s numbers do. They all present action that is thrilling at tracks that cause fans to circle the dates on their calendars to ensure they do not miss a thing. Last Sunday, it appears that a lot of folks decided they could not care less.

Hell, if they can get more viewers to watch a 3.5-hour broadcast featuring a 3-minute horse race on a muddy track between critters few ever heard of, then our world is truly changing.

That brings us to Kansas. Aric Almirola did well at Talladega, but his car failed post-race inspection. He loses 35 points and his crew chief for the next three races. Amy and Dale Earnhardt Jr. might be hosting a short home renovation tv series. Instead of building toward a Chase, they will be concentrating on rebuilding a porch.

As for me, maybe I can plant some vegetables and pick some weeds. Sadly, a UN resolution bans me from partaking in World Naked Gardening Day. Apparently, no one wants to see my rutabagas.

Maybe Kansas and our Hot 20 might attract more interest this Saturday night.

1. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 2 WINS – 367 PTS
The best way to minimize a penalty is to win a couple of races.

2. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 2 WINS – 305 PTS
Imagine his popularity if Seven-Time was known as Demetrious or The Rock. Works for others.

3. KYLE LARSON – 1 WIN – 428 PTS
Leads in points, leads in stage points, but trails in wins. That is called motivation.

4. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 1 WIN – 374 PTS
Led 172 laps in this race last year. Now, he needs to deliver the finish he wants.

5. JOEY LOGANO – 1 WIN – 318 PTS
His last car looked like he loaned it to Thelma and Louise.

6. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – 1 WIN – 250 PTS
Junior wins at Talladega. What, were you expecting someone else?

7. RYAN NEWMAN – 1 WIN – 237 PTS
For a while, it looked like Kyle, but Newman spun and Stenhouse won.

8. KURT BUSCH – 1 WIN – 227 PTS
Considers Kansas “one of our strong tracks” as of late, but has just a pair of Top Fives in 22 tries.

9. CHASE ELLIOTT – 353 PTS
A.J.’s team wanted him to get into the Chase, so he did.

10. JAMIE MCMURRAY – 318 PTS
See the hole, be the hole, and some no doubt thought he was some sort of hole to do so.

11. KEVIN HARVICK – 309 PTS
No wins, but a couple of poles to his credit. Apparently, that does count for something.

12. CLINT BOWYER – 289 PTS
After the ‘Dega big one, “I probably sharted a little bit.” You just gotta love Clint.

13. KYLE BUSCH – 277 PTS
If the Rocket Man had not been launched late last weekend, Kyle would be sitting sixth.

14. DENNY HAMLIN – 267 PTS
Won the Talladega 309…but finished 11th over 500 miles.

15. RYAN BLANEY – 240 PTS
Avoided the big one last week, but only because Stenhouse took him out eight laps earlier.

16. TREVOR BAYNE – 223 PTS
Eight laps after Blaney, Bayne was retired and still lost four points to his rival.

17. KASEY KAHNE – 214 PTS
A Top Five last week, and just nine points out of the Chase. Time to click them heels.

18. MATT KENSETH – 205 PTS
The world continues to change, as he closes his museum in Cambridge, Wisconsin next month.

19. ERIK JONES – 200 PTS
Why is this soon to be 21-year-old a race car driver? You can blame Mom.

20. ARIC ALMIROLA – 187 PTS
You can’t acquit if the car don’t fit.

21. DANIEL SUAREZ – 187 PTS
I thought you needed to average 20 points per race to get on to this list. Thanks, Aric!

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **
Displaying 2 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Noel Lanier says:

    Having covered the sport for the past 20yrs. you are nailing it Ron. I really wonder what NASCAR is going to do to handle what seems to be a sinking ship.

Leave a comment





Free Shipping on Orders Over $25 at Store.NASCAR.com


Copyright © SpeedwayMedia.com. All rights reserved. - Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties.