Like every other sport, NASCAR is in a constant process of change, sometimes out of necessity and sometimes to attract new audiences.
Evolution is very important in every sport. Sometimes, going by the same rules and regulations will not do with the modern audience and different formats have to be introduced to stay relevant in the changing industry.
Two such changes in NASCAR are playoffs and stage racing. NASCAR adopted the playoffs in 2004 to make the sport more exciting and also to attract new audiences and better TV viewership. Also, another precursor was the fact that Matt Kenseth won the championship in 2003, the last year before playoffs, by winning just one race throughout the season. In contrast, Ryan Newman who won eight races that year finished sixth in the drivers’ championship.
“Back in 1998 that would be the win, boys.” – Kyle Busch left disappointed after seeing Daytona 500 win vanishes
Since then NASCAR has introduced the playoffs system and made some changes along the way to reach today’s playoffs system where 16 drivers make the playoffs and fight for the championship title.
Another recent change from NASCAR is stage racing, implemented back in 2017, so as to make the race more exciting with stage points, thereby adding a new dynamic to the competition.
While for modern viewers, such rules may look like they have been forever in NASCAR, not everyone would be happy with such modern changes, especially the older NASCAR fans who would rather prefer the days prior to playoffs.
One such person to wish for a better bridge between the new and the old fans is 1988 Cup Champion Bill Elliott. The NASCAR legend is of the opinion that the modern system can hurt NASCAR in terms of losing hardcore fans.
Bill Elliott said NASCAR needs to find a balance between new and grassroots fans.
Said some of his old fan group does not understand stage racing, playoffs etc.
“It’s harder to get those hardcore fans back.” #NASCAR75
— Darian Gilliam (@BlackFlagMatter) February 19, 2023
As a big industry, it is very hard for NASCAR to please all the groups of fans. While the playoffs system gets criticized sometimes, it’s hard to see NASCAR giving it up anytime soon.
2 thoughts on “Is modern NASCAR racing too complicated for grassroots fans? Bill Elliott says NASCAR needs to find a balance”
I agree with Bill.
NASCAR needs to change it’s name! Stock car’s haven’t been stock car’s in too long of a time. The next thing from NASCAR will be half time entertainment and battery powered motors. Y’all will notice I said motors, NOT engines!!!