On Monday, NASCAR announced significant format changes to its national touring series. As with all format changes by NASCAR, the announcement was met with anger and resistance from many fans. This type of response seems to be the norm with every time NASCAR makes a change in an effort to improve the sport and keep it moving forward.
Oddly enough, the times between these changes are filled with the same level of angst from the same fanbase complaining that NASCAR needs to do something to improve the events. It is the ultimate paradox for the sanctioning body.
The changes to the format will incentivize drivers to race hard throughout the event because it pays valuable points to be in the top-ten at the end of each stage. The cautions that will be thrown at the end of stages will provide breaks in the action that will create strategy situations for crew chiefs, close-up the field, and allow networks miss less action because they can schedule more commercials at these breaks.
One can clearly see by the nature of these changes, NASCAR has been listening to the fans. These are the exact issues that have been the target of complaints. Yet, many fans are not happy with these changes. Many say NASCAR is abandoning its core, long-time fanbase.
While it may be true these changes are not what the fans themselves would have chosen, it will create an environment that will produce more exciting and competitive racing. Which is exactly what they have been asking for.
Additionally, NASCAR must begin to market to a new demographic and that is exactly what this does. If it continued to ignore the younger demographic, the sport would be non-existent in twenty years. It is this type of out of the box thinking that NASCAR needs.
The addition of Monster Energy and changes such as the new format announced this week are a significant step toward attracting a new fanbase who want constant excitement and multiple “game seven moments” throughout the entire race.
We need to give NASCAR a break and see the results of this effort before we bash them for even trying. This has the potential to be one of the most exciting seasons in NASCAR history. If it turns out to be a failure, then we can all get together and say – I told you so. But, until then, just enjoy the season.
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