In any industry, one of the main priorities is always to give something entertaining to the fans and NASCAR is no exception to it.
One of the topics that have been surfacing in recent days is whether NASCAR is too focused on the entertainment aspect as such that it has drawn comparisons to WWE. While the term “sports entertainment” is largely associated with WWE, Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO and president Marcus Smith’s use of the term recently has added fuel to such comparison.
“This is a sports entertainment business, and we served up a really entertaining weekend of racing here,” Smith said. “I had so many people remark to me about how exciting just watching practice on Saturday was, so I think that’s a big win. We’ve got a lot of positive momentum as a sport, and everybody I’m talking to is really enjoying that,” Smith said.
In light of the comparisons, NASCAR drivers were asked about the entertainment factor in NASCAR. Kyle Busch made it clear that he feels more of an entertainer than a driver on tracks like the Atlanta Motor Speedway, where pack racing leads to a lot of crashes.
However, Alex Bowman is of the opinion that while entertainment is one of the major factors in NASCAR racing, it is not the end result that drivers seek.
“It’s not WWE, for sure. Nothing here is fake at all in any way, shape, or form. I think, at the end of the day, we’re here to entertain people. We’re here to put on a show. Having good racing is part of that. So whatever package they throw at us or rule change they make to try to improve the event, that’s not fixing anything.”
Christopher Bell resonated with similar feelings that while the drivers are entertainers but that doesn’t mean the entertainment comes in a predicted environment.
“We’re definitely entertainers. I can promise you from a person inside the sport, it’s not fixed by any means. The driver, the team that goes out there and brings the fastest car and drives the best race is going to win the race. It’s not fixed by any means.”
Corey LaJoie gave a very good assessment of what is considered entertainment and how it differs between people.
“Everybody’s got one,” he said. “The definition of ‘good racing’ is subjective. What I think is good racing is different than what you might think is good racing. Some people like sprint car racing. Some people like Daytona. Some people like pigs racing at the fair. It’s all racing but what is considered good, what is considered not good. That’s all subjective and you’re not going to change anybody’s opinion on that.”
Not every driver like all the race tracks and the way of racing in the NASCAR industry. But in the end, it is the objective of NASCAR to put out a good race for the fans, who have differing tastes.