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October 02, 2012


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Brian Duddy

A 2.2 rating? Yow. Guess that's what happens when Junior gets trapped a lap down...


... but he wasn't able to beat a fan in a NASCAR video-game challenge. ... “This is the first thing I thought about when I saw this giant TV was ...


Another indicator of the general decline in "fan" interest in auto racing? A cultural trend driven by the shortened attention spans created by the instant gratifications of social media, as opposed to a loss of interest in an overexposed (NASCAR anyways) sport.

Chris Lukens

no, it’s


Almost all motorsports are in decline in popularity and attendance, but I don't buy into the shortened attention span argument. I think this cultural trend is just that - driven by fundamental cultural change. Here is my pet theory. The cultural change I would identify in this context is that people simply don't work on their own cars anymore. For good reason, you don't need to. They are now essentially sealed appliances - sealed wheel bearings, synthetic oil with 15k mile change intervals, 40k mile brake pads, 50k mile tires, etc. A good car to kids these days is one with a MP3 plug and good speakers, not tight handling and a smooth gearbox (manual, of course). If you are physically removed from something you become psychically removed from it as well. When a race car of old would suddenly spew oil smoke, many if not most fans in the stands would have some first-hand knowledge of what engine part could fail that would cause oil smoke. Today? Fugedaboutit! Fans today see the action of racing, which certainly is the main feature of the final performance, but, to take the analogy further, they have no clue as to what went into the rehersals. In particular, the machinery. Indeed, the drivers of today likewise have little if any literal hands-on experience with the internals of their race cars. The days of greasy hands and Offy engines are long gone, replaced by twittering drivers and sealed engines rented by the race or season from international corporations. Even the uninitiated can recognize sterility when they see it, and walk on by. Mind you, by the grace of God in the good old US of A there are still some forms of motorsport that have such blood, sweat, and tears passion. Two in particular - sprint cars and flat track motorcycles. Walk throught the paddock of a WoO or AMA flat track event and your faith in the traditional ways of our ancestors will be restored!


I can buy into your theory bradman, especially when you couple it with shorter attention spans.

I can still see a grimy faced A.J. Foyt wrenching on his car at Indy attempting to personally extract a few more MPH out of it.

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