850 horsepower, Naturally Aspirated V8s, 200 laps. NASCAR is the heart and soul of American motorsport. It has produced some of the most famous drivers in the world. Dale Earnheardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson are just to name a few. But unfortunately, NASCAR is a dying sport.
Since its peak in 2005, NASCAR has lost over 50% of its live as well as online viewership. In fact the average viewership in 2019 per race was 2.92 million. To put that into perspective, Logan Paul averages 3.4 million views per video, in just one day.
Before we dig deep into why NASCAR is dying, we need to understand what the motorsport actually is.
NASCAR actually has a very weird origin story. Oval racing actually got founded due to some criminals who used to sell an illegal whiskey called “moonshine” in south and central USA. In order to flee the police “the moonshine racers” used to upgrade their cars and outrun the cops. Not long after these moonshine racers used to gather on dirt tracks and pit their cars against each and surprise surprise most of their weapons of choice were big ol’ muscle cars.
Overtime this oval racing became an integral part of USA’s culture and NASCAR was founded. In fact it was such a big phenomenon in the States that, in order to be a true American, you need to adore Bald Eagles, Fast Food and NASCAR. And obviously gu.....
NASCAR’s viewership peaked in 2005 and in the next 13 years lost over 5 million viewers. Logan Paul only lost 10s of thousands of subscribers after his Japan Suicide forest controversy. The reason why I am pitting NASCAR against a mainstream YouTuber like Logan Paul is because in the early 2000’s NASCAR was also mainstream like Logan Paul but now has shrunk down into something more of a cult following.
The main reason why NASCAR fell out after 2005 was because of safety regulations. In 2005, the stock cars were so dangerous that crashes were basically a question of life and death and that made NASCAR insanely exciting but at the cost of human lives. The new cars have so many safety regulation that is just a bunch dudes going in circles around the track. Overtaking is also very hard and time consuming in NASCAR. There are not many ways to overtake an opponent. The famous slingshot effect is the most famous where one car catches the slipstreams of the one in front and in a turn, comes out and overtakes it.
Also the cars themselves are developed by NASCAR and they have such strict regulations that more or less all the cars are the exact same. F1 has also inhabited such a policy but they still give each manufacturer enough space to sprinkle their own magic. Due this there aren’t a lot of manufacturers taking part in NASCAR. The current manufacturers taking part in NASCAR are a total of 3, Toyota, Chevy and Ford. Dodge was also a contender but left a while ago.
But there is a brink of hope over the horizon. NASCAR has now started testing their NASCAR Next Gen stock car which is aimed to make the motorsport much more exciting. A lightweight carbon fibre body, new centre lock wheels to make pit stops faster and a new sequential transmission. Even though some of these new additions may sound sacrilegious too many hardcore NASCAR fans, this is what they need in order to attract more viewers and have more exciting races.
But I Still think they have a lot to work in terms of regulations and policies in order to make the sport much more exciting. They need to highlight the differences between vehicles and manufacturers. Basically instead of Toyota or Ford developing their own stock cars, NASCAR develops a stock car and all of the manufacturers adhere to their rules. I think they need to show a little bit of more open mindedness in order to get companies as well as drivers more competitive for the races.
All in all, we hope NASCAR doesn't die at all and we see more bonkers crazy V8s going in circles for 300 laps.