NASCAR hopes to spice things up
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.