Is Auto Club Speedway Changing? [Facts!]

Is Auto Club Speedway Changing? Although the venue has been serving the community for more than 70 years, it appears that the tides may be shifting.

Over the years, NASCAR and the Speedway have established a reputation for being some of the most competitive and family-friendly motorsport series in America. Families frequent the track and enjoy the racing, which is reflected by the large number of families who attend the various events (such as the Pepsi 400 and the Coke Zero 400).

However, with the changing face of motorsport, more and more families are discovering other forms of motorsport, leaving the Speedway at the bottom of the pile.

The Changing Face Of Motorsport

Although NASCAR continues to boom, the competition has shifted away from building cars that can handle the track to designing racing vehicles that can maneuver at speedway-like venues. The days of drafting behind a lead car are gone, as is the case at many other venues. Teams now have to race against the clock and make split-second decisions to outsmart their opponents.

This racing is more akin to a chess match than it is to traditional NASCAR stock car racing. In fact, many drivers now refer to themselves as “coaches” as they work with their teammates to analyze strategy and maneuver around the track.

The Rise Of The Gen-Z Phenomenon

One of the biggest changes at the Speedway is the explosion of interest among the Gen-Z demographic. Thanks to sports platforms such as YouTube and social media, younger generations have become familiar with motorsport, especially at a young age. And what’s interesting is that these kids are not only interested in racing, they’re participating in it too!

In the last five years, the number of participants in the Young Gun Sprint Series has jumped from 60 to 200 in just a few years, with many of these drivers being Gen-Z. This increased interest among the millennial audience has led to more people attending the event and following it on social media. Although this is great for the community and the Speedway, it can also lead to a diluted fan experience.

On the other side of the coin, the number of people participating in motorsport has increased by 23% in the last five years. This growth has been fueled by the increased availability of platforms such as YouTube that allow anyone with an audience to become a content creator. This democratization of content has led to greater inclusivity and more opportunities for people of color, women, and the LGBTQ community.

Other Changes

Other changes that have taken place at the Speedway include the introduction of fantasy camps for children, more female sports broadcasters, and expanded food options.

One of the most interesting and innovative changes that the Speedway has implemented over the years is the introduction of fantasy camps for children. Thanks to a partnership with USA Wrestling and the North Carolina Wrestling Foundation, children can now participate in wrestling fantasy camps. This is a fantastic way to introduce younger generations to the exciting world of motorsport and the chance to wear a mask and get “persuasive” is certainly not a bad idea for young kids!

The number of female sports broadcasters rose by 69% in the last five years, perhaps indicating that more women are pursuing careers in sports broadcasting. The gender divide is certainly not unique to NASCAR. The number of women who watch and/or follow motorsport also increased by 23% in the last five years, according to a Nielsen survey. Hopefully, the increased visibility of females in motorsport will lead to more representation in broadcasting and advertising.

Finally, NASCAR has always been a food-friendly series, but the options have increased significantly in the last five years, with the introduction of chef-curated menus at some venues. These options range from classic barbeques to gourmet Italian and French food, as well as creative creations such as chocolate-covered bacon and fried ice cream!

Where Do We Go From Here?

With so many changes and innovations, it’s no wonder the community around the Speedway is in a state of flux. Although there are many positives to come out of this transformation, it will be interesting to see how the Speedway reacts to these changes.

One of the most important things that the Speedway can do is to remain relevant in a world where motorsport and traditional racing are on the decline. The sport needs the tracks, especially the large ones, to remain relevant so that fans have somewhere to go and an event to attend. This is especially important in light of the Covid restrictions that have limited the number of people who can attend live events, as well as created an entire new world of digital racing where the competition is virtually impossible to detect.

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