Tuesday May 12 | NASCAR and the Economy

May 11, 2009 at 9:29 am | Posted in Coming Up | 9 Comments

The economy has had an effect on many industries with ties to our region, from banking to real estate, and NASCAR is no different. Many NASCAR teams based in Charlotte and across the country are facing lay-offs, sponsor trouble, and declining admissions. With NASCAR setting up shop in Charlotte for the next couple of weeks, we’ll talk with some experts on the sport about how its faring and also about how the money troubles affect safety, testing and competition.
Humpy Wheeler – Former GM, Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Chairman, The Wheeler Company
Nate Ryan – Motorsports Writer for USA Today
Steve Byrnes – Host of Trackside and NASCAR Live on Speed TV

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  1. Until the cars become paragons of clean and green machines,
    there will be declining returns in exposing one’s lungs
    to what has been among the larger pollution-creating machines
    yet devised by man.

    Humpy, Leilani Munter, and others are among the thought leaders
    in this direction, and they should continue to do so,
    because this is how to win a huge new audience,
    while solving big problems. Green Masters of the Automobile.

    Anything new to report from the green world?

  2. I live a few miles away from Lowes Motor Speedway. Whenever Race Week is in town, I head out of town. The Nascar fans and their confederate flags scare me! I have taken a tour of the speedway and have previously enjoyed watching races on TV, but would not consider attending an actual race. I recently saw the documentary Right America and let’s just say that it reinforced what I thought about Nascar fans. How do you plan on attracting fans from all demographics when your image isn’t very welcoming??

    • Tia, what scares you exactly? (television?)

      What do you think about Nascar fans? (which RAj reinforced)

  3. Damn Yankees, Damn MBA’s

    Being in the furniture industry for over 20 years, it is not surprising that the same thing is happening to NASCAR as did to the furniture industry when we were purchased by the MBAs up north.

    They never realize what is truly appealing about the product, and do thing like “focus groups” to maximize profits, not excitement.

  4. Despite the assertion that big four car teams are the way to go, the adventure of the “little guy” with a budget in the hundreds of thousands was presented as the crowd-pleaser. As in the larger economy, these small fish can never win in a cut and dried, pre-arranged system.

    Innovation was doubted. NASCAR is not into research and development. Noise is important to the spectacle and synthetic oil is hard to clean up. The consensus seems to be that electrics or hybrids would be the death of stock racing. Stock? What does that mean? Brand sponsorships are reduced or jeopardized and the former domestic makers are dying. So “stock” becomes “formula” or “kit”, and how does the commuter in a Honda or Mazda identify with that?

    Theater was cited as an answer. A “villan” is needed! We’re off-track like country music, already “done it all” and the result is American Idol with a twang, designed in focus groups. If the present audience seeks the “mythic” the formula is championship wrestling, which is totally fake in its competition and depends upon steroid and HGH use. So is that the way to go? The way to go to capture 8 year olds? Sounds crass and manipulative to me, dependent on ignorance more than imagination.

    NASCAR is delusional because that is the present condition in the greater society. We are being lied to about possibilities as our incomes fall and corporations further commoditize our lives. NASCAR resembles Duke Energy which insists upon a continued income from coal burning, no matter how awkward or destructive the results might be. (NASCAR can’t even joke about nuclear powered cars as Duke can about generation plants.) The NASCAR establishment, or the oil company establishment, or the fashion establishment, or any industry will continue down the easy path until stopped by a drop in consumer spending. GM and Chrysler, and even Bank of America are suffering from fewer solvent customers, and that is staring NASCAR right in the face. The majority of NASCAR fans were working people who have been hit hard by this recession, to be depression for them, and do not have the bucks to spend. Races with sexcapades, drug use and alcohol for the better off in sky boxes seems pointless, especially when one considers that the commercial class expects everything to be complimentary, in celebration of their greedy success. No solution is in site except a massive downsize and continued decline of the anachronism we call NASCAR. It’s pretty boring watched on digital TV.

    People say when you condemn something you should offer alternatives. Well, if they need noise on electrics we used to have Vrr-rooms on our bikes or cardboard and clothes pins on the spokes. Kids don’t invent toys or ride bikes as much now. My suggestion is that if NASCAR techs are so talented and skilled, why not utilize that asset? If anything should be “research and development” oriented it should be racing! I think it’s too late to go back to “cars off the lot.” The government will not bail out NASCAR nor should it. If NASCAR cannot get up to date and make itself an asset to the economy and the culture it should go away. Brainwashing little kids in passe’ ideas that don’t make sense will only hurt them and not help NASCAR. Without radical change the future is bleak, for the whole economy and society as well as NASCAR. Someone is gonna have to be first: Someone is gonna have to take chances and buck the old ways. Talking to men who are parasitic to a diminishing pseudo-sport was very revealing about the shortcomings of corporate capitalism and the supposed expanding gullibility of working Americans. Humpy, people ain’t as delusional as you think.

    • Jack … good grief, take a deep breath and relax. “Brainwashing children…” – WHAT are you talking about!!?? 🙂 Funny post btw.

  5. Wendy-Tim-Erin-Mike C.: Don’t forget to charge the Spirit Square Studio phone system! Don’t be backward like NASCAR.

    P.S. I don’t doubt tia is justified in her repulsion above. I just hated to say it. The same throwbacks could be rallying without NASCAR for a far more sinister purpose. Maybe “teaparties” on the infield…
    advocating the cutoff of their own safety nets and entitlements.
    Maybe Senator Burr, or Patrick McHenry or Sue Myrick should drive in a race, let Kay Hagen give them a brush or bump, never happen…
    When will Obama drive the pacecar and wave the checkered flag? Never you say? Forget… Hell!!!!!!

    • haha .. keep it comin’ Jack! 🙂

  6. My childhood home was less than a mile from what is now Lowe’s speedway. During my high school years I rebuilt an engine for the farmer who then lived on the site.

    I have been back to visit relatives many times in the years since, sometimes during race events, however I have never attended a race. I doubt I will ever attend a race. I don’t even watch them on TV.

    I stumbled on this site while looking for something else. In my opinion, Jack Martin’s comments are exceptionally germane. He obviously hasn’t drank the local “kool aid”.

    Unlike tia, I’m not the least bit intimidated by the racing crowd. I’m just not interested in watching a bunch of red necks chase each other in circles at high speed.

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