Who knows why the NASCAR bubble burst? The morning after the Amp Energy Juice 500 was as muddled as the race. It required a long drive home to get the old thoughts in order.
This race featured 87 lead changes. It ended in a side-by-side finish, though, oddly, not at the finish line. The last-place driver in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Clint Bowyer, became the only driver so far to win two of its races. Of course, the reason Bowyer is buried so deeply is the absence of 150 points due to a NASCAR penalty.
See what I mean by muddled?
But what fired my ruminations was the question of declining interest in NASCAR. Many opinions have been offered, most by folks who, in some way, have a specific interest in the view they offer. Those who are having trouble economically blame the economy. Those who love Dale Earnhardt Jr. blame his struggles. Those who loathe Jimmie Johnson blame his dominance.
It can’t be contended that the sport hasn’t reacted. Ticket prices have been slashed. Rules have been changed to promote excitement. Nothing seems to work. The NASCAR estimate of the Talladega Superspeedway crowd was 110,000. In 2003, it was 170,000. Those who point out how convenient it is to watch on TV fail to account for why TV ratings are declining as rapidly as attendance.
I’ve pondered and addressed all these issues and offered a few of my own, but the truth is, I don’t know, either. And I don’t think NASCAR does.
One word occurred to me while driving the interstate: “bubble.”
In the stock market, there was a “dotcom bubble.” I’ve heard of mortgage bubbles, real-estate bubbles and Indy 500 qualifier who are “on the bubble.” The world is one big bubble bath.
The idea is that something grows too rapidly. The perception of prosperity creates something of a feeding frenzy. Everyone gets on board, so much so that growth is artificially enhanced in a way that can’t be maintained.
And the bubble bursts.
All that “Fastest Growing Sport” rhetoric, which NASCAR so enthusiastically circulated, may have burst. “Burst” may be too harsh a word. In the stock market, there is often a “fallback position.” Maybe that’s where NASCAR is right now. It’s still big, but not as big. Gaston Gazette
[Editor's Note: The NASCAR bubble burst because of 1) 1950's technology cars in the 21st century, 2) Down right rip-off ticket prices, 3) Races that are twice as long as they should be - people are too busy today to watch 4 hour races, 4) Managed racing to artificially make finishes closer, 5) Darrell Waltrip's downright childish "Boogity, boogity, boogity, let's go racing boys! phrase. My 4-year old thinks it is funny, but if you are 5 years old on up you think NASCAR is a complete joke and quickly change the channel, 6) The loss of many sponsors who gave away thousands of free tickets for every race.]