Watching the Too Tough To Tame 200 at Darlington Raceway a smile came on my face.
First off, one of the most competitive series in the world was at the greatest racetrack ever made.
Secondly, despite a tough economy and the race being a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, the crowd was surprisingly good!
Wow, I thought, that’s a nice crowd for a truck race.
After watching some truck races this season it’s a pleasant surprise.
No disrespect to the people of Nashville but their crowds for their two truck series races were awful.
I wondered why?
There are plenty of reasons.
First it’s the people of the south east. No matter what NASCAR will try and do and what they try and tell people, the hot bed for the sport has been and always will be the south east.
Second, there is no such thing as a “boring race” at Darlington raceway. People pass each other all the time, they beat and bang and hit the wall and it’s a track where men are men. It’s the way racing ought to be.
It reminds fans of their old Saturday Night short track race, where guys get hot tempered and are not fined for it.
It reminds fans of the exact reason why they fell in love with the sport in the first place. It’s fun. Darlington is one of the most fun races on the schedule, yet because they don’t have 100,000 stands it only has one date.
As the schedule for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was announced I just shook my head when certain tracks got dates and others didn’t. In five years NASCAR will have the same problem.
The stands at some of those tracks will be full, at first. Then the stands will slowly get emptier and emptier as the boring style of cookie cutter racing puts to sleep another group of fans.
Brian France will then sit there and wonder what is wrong?
There are way too many cookie cutters and not enough Darlingtons. It’s obvious if you looked up from your bank account records and paid attention to the attendance at Darlington on Saturday.
The day NASCAR realizes it’s not about how many people watch your sport, it’s how about how many people get hooked to your sport, is the day Darlington will have two dates again.
Until that day however, ratings and attendance will continue falter and NASCAR as a sport will hurt because of it.