I'm a member of a Yahoo group that is primarily for Dale Jr fans and it's all women fans. There are also Steve Park, Elliot Sadler, Tony Stewart, even Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon fans there. But for the most part we're a mainly Dale Jr. group.
It's a decent size group but the few that post and chat the most have been there for several years and over the years a friendship has formed between us. We've got our own fantasy racing league going (where side note...I'm leading in the points for the first time in the entire five years we've been doing fantasy racing!)
We all joined this group because of our love of the sport and a driver. We've seen one of our 'sisters' through the loss of her mother, we've seen one of our sister's give birth to a son, one lost her dad just a couple of months ago.
So what does all that have to do with NASCAR and fans? Well it actually was the insipriation for this article.
Earlier in the week a question was sent to the group about this season's racing. Someone who had asked if anyone else was less interested in racing this season. She had been a season ticket holder to Richmond and ended up selling her tickets. Her family decided to go to Disney World for vacation instead. She wondered if anyone else wasn't feeling the love this season.
She asked is it because Dale Jr isn't doing so hot this year? Remember we all joined this group because we are fans of his. Is it the COT car? Is it the economy? Is it that *insert your own favorite driver here* isn't doing so well? Is life just getting in the way again like it sometimes does?
The general consensus of the group was that we just weren't really into it this year. If the race was even on their TV it was on for background noise and it had very little to do with a driver doing well or not doing well. They just aren't very interested in NASCAR this year.
I myself haven't watched a lot of races this year. I got a promotion at work and now I'm working every other Sunday (that cuts into my race watching time) But there was a time in the not so distant past where I was unavailable for ANYTHING from about noon until 6 or so on a Sunday afternoon because of the race.
Now when I'm home I'm doing something else the race might be on but I'm playing catch up on things or I'm getting in a nap. Sometimes I'm screaming about how I will be sending a map of pit road to Dale Jr! There were a lot of answers similar to mine. So that got me thinking is it just that with us life is getting in the way of our NASCAR habit or are others feeling the same way?
It's not that I'm not a fan of racing anymore because I am. I can't help but be a fan of racing. My dad spent years on a local race team working first as a driver only to discover he's a much better mechanic than a driver. So racing is in my blood!
I'm going out to my local dirt track next weekend to watch races I would have gone out this weekend but it was raining all weekend and my parents have been sick so I didn't want to drag them out to the track with me—not that it's really dragging they do come with me very willingly.
I'm contemplating take a day or two off calling my dad hoping on our motorcycles and riding down to Kansas City to see the ground breaking ceremony of Victory Gang Junction Camp 2.
Anytime my dad can talk both motorcycles and racing he's in heaven. Provided my mom's appointment with her surgeon goes well this week and she doesn't need a valve replacement my dad and I are going to North Carolina this summer for our annual father/daughter camping adventure. I've had to revise the list of shops we are going to go see at least 10 times! So the love for racing is still there for me.
So is it something that NASCAR is doing to make fans loose interest or is it something else? Is it just us? I've listened to discussions about this on Sirius NASCAR radio and it struck me as very interesting. I know that the economy is tough and tracks are doing what they can go get fans into the seats and with some of the great deals out there if I lived closer to some of my favorite tracks I'd be there in a New York second!