Monday morning I wrote my first letter to you. The goal was to help you recognize that one of the track's we used to love is simply becoming 'just another oval'. Instead of being some of the most popular events on the schedule, both the spring and fall race have became just another stop on the tour. My first letter called out a couple of things that didn't make us fans happy, I wanted to write a follow up. I want you to understand that we dislike the 'new' Bristol not because of the 'new' racing, but because it seems as though we are losing our sport.
Obviously NASCAR isn't leaving anytime soon, but all fans hear about is how the stands are empty, TV ratings are down, and that the younger generation just doesn't care. Honestly, that's a bit scary to think that your favorite sport is starting to fizzle out. See what you may not understand is that Bristol was about the atmosphere just as much as it was about the racing. Yes, beating and & banging was fun, but the atmosphere around the race track was on a whole different level. That atmosphere is GONE.
Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt
I remember sitting at home watching the spring and fall races with so much excitement. Bristol was just a different animal, a place built with intensity. When coming to Bristol in the past you expected a war between names like Waltrip, Wallace, Earnhardt, and Gordon. Now, you sit back and watch guys like Busch, Edwards, Harvick, and Keselowski try to 'survive' for 500-laps. After hearing from many fans who read my first post, it seems that Bristol just isn't Bristol anymore. The small town doesn't buzz like it use too, and much of that is due to many of the changes the sport has had over the last few years.
Don't get me wrong, many of the innovations have been great for our sport. Safety is always worth looking into and I personally love how the cars look now, but race fans have started feeling the commercialism of NASCAR. We understand that money makes the world go round, especially for a high profile sports series, but nowadays it sometimes seems like the money comes before the fans. There are times where I honestly believe NASCAR cares more about the revenue they make, than a kid like me who is willing to break my back for the sport. See Bristol was just another notch on the belt of things fans didn't agree with. Having their favorite short track completely changed because NASCAR needed 'better racing', has ended up having no benefit on ratings, ticket sales, or fan growth.
Photo Credit: Monte Dutton
Overall, fans want you to understand that when you ground up the track a few years ago, we were excited at first, but then realized that the decision to change a track that was broken, had backfired. When Bristol lost it's rough and tough personality, us fans felt like we had lost yet another great piece of NASCAR history. We don't hate Bristol, we just hate that it isn't what it use to be. I understand that in time NASCAR has to make changes to keep up, but time and time again it seems that this sport has become more about money and ratings than the fans and the racing.
Sincerely, NASCAR Fans
Well, thank you for reading! I honestly wish I could thank every single one of you! The first letter to Bristol had over 30,000 reads, which is 24,000 more than my previous best!! Thank you so much for the support! Remember to follow me on Twitter at @nascar_opinion and Instagram at NASCAR OPINION! Thanks again, and have a great day!
(PICS NOT MINE, USED FROM VARIOUS SITES) (Credits: David Oppenheimer, Rainier Ehrhardt, Monte Dutton)