The Cost of Watching Paint Dry
Submitted by Lady S
July 14, 2008

I know I don’t have to tell anyone reading this that gas prices continue to be very high.   I probably also don’t have to mention that the cost of groceries has also gone up.   Yet, how many of us saw an increase in our pay commensurate with the increased cost of these items?  I know I didn’t.   I bet most of you reading this are just thankful you probably still have a job.   With many businesses closing down, or stopping production for a few months, I believe we are all hunkering down until the fog has passed.  I sure hope that fog passes soon.

Every year, the Race Track Ladies attend the Fall Richmond race.  We love that little track and find the racing to be pretty good.   The tailgating is even better.  But this year, we won’t be going.  We, like many other fans, have determined that the cost to go was a bit much … that is, if we still wanted to attend the NASCAR premiere event next February, the Daytona 500.  So, as a family, we are really thinking about what races we can afford to attend and what races we can’t. 

You see, when it comes down to it, I am not sure that NASCAR understands the strain the every day NASCAR fan is dealing with.  I suppose they see it in lack of merchandise sales and track owners see it in the less than robust ticket sales.   But do they understand that when I have to decide about whether or not I go to a race, I first must determine that I can still put food on the table and a roof over my head … then I determine if seeing a race in person will be an exciting experience that I couldn’t live without.   Now, there’s the kicker. 

We are about half-way through the season.  And half-way through an entire year of racing with the Car of Today.  While at times, the new car seemed to be something to shake things up a bit in our racing … it has failed in most areas.  For some reason, on the 1.5 mile tracks, these cars get so strung out and all they do is go around in circles.  It is like watching paint dry.  Painful.  Think about it … how many times during the Life-Lock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway did the leader run out to a 3,4 even 5 second lead over everyone else?   When you look through the stats from, pick a race.  The same result happens.   There is 1 driver who leads a ton of laps and 4 other drivers that manage to lead a bundle of laps.  And I am sure you can guess who those drivers are … they are the same every single weekend.   Wasn’t the Car of Today supposed to give the ‘little guy’ a chance to compete with the big names?   Well, it hasn’t.   And so, we are handed the Kool-Aid and asked to drink it and watch about 5 drivers actually compete on any given Sunday.  

Again, I have to think to myself … do I want to spend hundreds of dollars going to a race just to see the same top 5 cars compete for a win?  Or do I want to see all 43 cars … contending as strong as the other guy … gutting it out and running side by side and in different grooves?  Knowing that I will not be able to see the latter but more of the former this season, I am keeping my money at home. 

But one last thought before I finish.   An article came out not too long ago talking about the increased costs associated with attending NASCAR events.  Carl Edwards was asked about the lack of people in the stands and the rising price of groceries and gas … his response “I don’t know how we fix it”.   Well, NASCAR, like most businesses, you need to figure out how you fix it and fix it soon.   As fans choose more and more to stay at home, soon other things will become more interesting to do on a Sunday afternoon.  And then you’ll be dealing with a whole other problem. 




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