Sunday, February 14, 2016


NASCAR has died. A once thriving sport where not an empty seat could be found at any race track, has finally bled out and expired. It should not have been a terminal condition, but neglect and poor decisions caused this once exciting, respectable American sport to hurl itself into a death spiral.

It is interesting and indicative of NASCAR's corporate departure from reality that their response to declining ticket sales/declining fan interest was not to bring back real racing, but to tear thousands of seats out of many of its race tracks. This move proved to be an ill-fated attempt to con fans into believing that race track stands at venues such as Daytona, Talladega, and Texas, were actually full. 
The correct response would have been a return to real racing, the kind of competition that made NASCAR so good from the late '70's through the late '90's. NOT the scripted, phony, contrived 'pack racing' mentality that they force on the few fans that still watch.
What should have been recognized as symptoms that threatened the life of the sport, were falsely promoted as wonder drugs. Fatal blows caused by conditions such as 'the car of tomorrow', and 'green-white-checkers', were major causes of the death of a once proud and vibrant sport. The funeral has not yet been scheduled, however, it it unwise to allow a corpse to lay around for too long. 
Sadly, it could have been avoided. Unfortunately, death occurred due to a lack of vision and understanding by Brian France - a man who squandered a nearly perfect business model invented by his grandfather, Big Bill France, and refined into a juggernaut by Bill France, Jr. (Brian's late father.)
The death certificate was signed on Saturday, February 13, shortly after the horrific crash-fest that was 'The Sprint Unlimited' at Daytona International Speedway. The few fans in attendance, and the six or seven watching on television, walked away with heads lowered, mourning the loss of what once was an exciting, relevant sport and form of entertainment.
"The races used to be so much fun to watch, because they let the drivers and the crews decide who would win - skill and luck, not Brian's 'reverse vision," said one former fan.
RIP NASCAR. We will miss those long past Sundays filled with exciting racing action.
Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie', 'The Avery Appointment', 'Between the Fuzzy Parts'.

He also writes about baseball for Climbing Tal's Hill, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.

He lives in Central Texas with his wife and family.

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