I know a lot of you sports fans are going to be broken up about this, but after 15 years of gaining popularity, NASCAR's numbers are finally starting to sag.
Tracks don't release figures, but estimates from NASCAR reports show crowds have decreased in a third of the races this season. Fewer than half the Cup races were sellouts, and that includes two at the 92,000-seat grandstand of California Speedway east of Los Angeles, NASCAR's largest market… TV audiences sagged for 30 of the first 34 races this year. For 16 of those races the decline was at least 10%.
Some theories for the dropoff include the retirement of popular drivers and the newness of the ten-race Chase for the Nextel Cup wearing off (this is its third season). I have some counter-theories:
- Fuel prices too high to support motor sports.
- Americans getting smarter.
- Not enough crashes!
- America running out of white people who like country music.
With groundbreaking ideas like these, I really should have been a sociologist.