I don’t hate NASCAR. I just hate some things about it. Allow me to make a list:
- “Boogity, boogity, boogity”
- That NASCAR claims it invented safety (SAFER Barriers, safety teams, Band-Aids)
- Its owners heavy-handed attempt to control all tracks in America
- Its owners more subtle attempts to marginalize IndyCar racing
- That NASCAR is broadcast on multiple networks
- That ESPN owns broadcast rights and acts like it’s reporting on an event when in reality it’s promoting its product
- That hillbilly jackanapes now look down their noses at IndyCar because of the popularity of their series (my apologies to hillbilly jackanapes everywhere)
- THAT NASCAR IS MORE POPULAR THAN INDYCAR, AND YES, I KNOW THAT SOUNDS LIKE SOUR GRAPES AND JEALOUSY BECAUSE IT IS!
Whew. I’m glad I got that out of my system. My jealousy overflowed this past weekend as I watched NASCAR testing broadcast on Speed. And it was fully sponsored. TESTING! *Excuse me a moment while I take my medicine… Back now…Blood pressure under control.* TESTING! ON TV! WITH SPONSORSHIP! How did this happen? When did America jump the shark? Is the current administration in DC responsible? Is it the economy? Does it have something to do with the residual effect of concussions from football? I NEED ANSWERS!
Now, I do understand a few things. I know the networks heavily promote NASCAR. IndyCar is lucky to be mentioned unless there’s tragedy or comedy. Purported news organizations like ESPN are just shills for their own products, and I hate the inherent dishonesty of that. There should be a disclaimer. I understand that IndyCar is locked into the Versus/NBC Sports contract, but what’s the future of that? Will NBC cross-promote the series? Will IndyCar become a network star or a cast-off?
What does NASCAR have that IndyCar doesn’t? We have strong teams, drivers who can run multiple circuits, a new car, compelling story lines, and momentum. What do THEY have? They have fans who provide ratings. And ratings that attract sponsors. And sponsors who provide money. And money that supports the teams. And teams that go racing. And racing that attracts fans. And we start the circle again.
We all know what NASCAR really has. They have the eyeballs that watch TV. That’s it. The racing is no better than IndyCar. NASCAR was just another racing series until ESPN decided to make them a big deal. And they did. IndyCar’s best hope is to get what NASCAR has: a network sugar daddy. Our long-term survival as a series is uncertain, and NBC Sports/Versus is our hope and our future. We only hope that they need us as much as we need them.
If all else fails, we can go the NASCAR route and tell lies and half-truths about our competition with a snide superiority. Audacter calumniare; semper aliquid haeret. Slander boldly; something always sticks. Oh, did you hear that the France family is going to sell NASCAR after the Daytona 500 because of financial issues?