NASCAR hopes to spice things up

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - SPORTS -

DAY­TONA BEACH, FLA. >> NASCAR has a new spon­sor, a new for­mat and wel­comes back Dale Earn­hardt Jr., all pro­vid­ing op­ti­mism for a series ea­ger to halt a steady de­cline in at­ten­dance, ratings and spon­sor­ship. Money is down across the board and ev­ery­one is do­ing more with less to try to save a buck.

The on-track prod­uct for the stock car series of­fi­cially re­ports for work to­day at Day­tona In­ter­na­tional Speed­way, which hosts the Feb. 26 sea­son-open­ing “Great Amer­i­can Race.” It will kick off a sea­son of hold-your-breath, we-re­ally-hope-this-works ef­forts by all in­volved. This sea­son be­gins with Mon­ster En­ergy roar­ing into its de­but year as ti­tle spon­sor amid promised mar­ket­ing to mil­len­ni­als and the op­por­tu­nity to lure new eye­balls to a sport with an ag­ing au­di­ence. Re­mem­ber how NASCAR just ran in cir­cles for 500 miles nearly ev­ery Sun­day for hours on end? This year it’s about “en­hanced com­pe­ti­tion” in seg­ments bro­ken up over three pe­ri­ods. Think of it like in­nings in base­ball or quar­ters in foot­ball or basketball. More ac­cu­rately, the quick first two seg­ments are now the ap­pe­tizer to the longer main event. In the mean­time, you get to go grab a beer as the tele­vi­sion net­works prom­ise to use the breaks be­tween seg­ments to dump all the com­mer­cials.

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