Is Daytona Speedway Cutting Ties With Nascar? [Expert Review!]

After a turbulent few years for Nascar, the sanctioning body has decided to cut its ties with one of its key partners. The split began when Nascar refused to budge on its position that its drivers and teams must remain drug-free. As a result, the sport cancelled its annual All-Star Race to protest the ban on performance-enhancing drugs. Nascar then threatened to pull out of the upcoming season altogether if the drug policy wasn’t changed. In response, cigarette maker Big Tobacco swooped in and bought a controlling stake in a Nascar-branded cigarette brand. Some people think that the corporate tie-ins with sports franchises are a bad omen for the future of motorsport. Is the relationship between Nascar and Daytona doomed to fail?

A Changing Relationship

Although the relationship with Big Tobacco was just one of many contentious issues between the two organizations, it ended up being the final nail in the coffin. Over the course of 2018, Nascar and Daytona worked through their differences and forged ahead with plans to remain close partners. The two sides even announced a brand new multi-year deal that would keep the Daytona International Speedway as an official Nascar venue through the 2029 season. Despite all those close ties, though, there were still signs that the relationship had hit its breaking point. For example, prior to the new contract being signed, Daytona issued a statement saying that it was open to exploring other partnerships with “industry leaders” who were interested in supporting the speedway’s vision of becoming a world-class sports and entertainment venue.

The Impact On The Fans

The fans felt the impact of this shifting relationship on more than one front. First, the 2018 season saw an increase in ticket prices as a result of higher demand and a limited supply. Second, some fans have been left bitter that their favorite team or driver was kicked out of Nascar in the first place. That’s because Nascar’s position on drugs put many at risk of having their contracts terminated. For example, Matt DiBenedetto’s contract was terminated by Nascar after he was arrested for a DUI in 2018. Finally, the new tobacco control laws in place since 2018 have made it more challenging for fans to enter events like the Daytona 500 dressed as their favorite NASCAR driver or team. While in the past it was acceptable to dress up as your favorite driver or team during the Coca-Cola 600 at the end of the season, any other form of conspicuous consumption is now banned.

Why Did Nascar Cancel Its All-Star Race?

In 2019, Nascar held its traditional all-star weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three-day event featured various attractions, including a motorcycle exhibition, a fashion show, a concert, and the traditional Nascar race. This year’s event was a test for the new management team at Nascar, and it featured a redesigned logo, new sponsorships, and several entertaining moments. Sadly, all was not well in NASCAR land. As in years past, fans were divided on how they felt about the current direction of the sport. Some were ecstatic about the new changes and looked forward to the future of the sport. Others were vocal about their disapproval and criticized the new direction. Some even chanted, “Nascar, we’re still waiting” during one of the concerts. Although the new management team has worked hard to mend fences with fans, it seems that there are still some that wish to see Nascar fail.

An Opportunity For The Future Of Motorsports

The unfortunate truth is that Nascar is in a bit of a pickle. The sport is losing fans and sponsors, and there’s no clear successor in sight. Even if the organization wanted to continue with the same team of drivers and with the same strategy of expanding internationally, going through a major overhaul is inevitable. The question is, what will happen to the organization then? Will it continue to exist in some form? Will it merge with another motorsport body? Will it change its name and try to find a new identity? Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that Nascar will need to look for a new partner if it wants to continue as an organized sport.

One thing is for certain: given its current state, Nascar doesn’t have the financial backing to continue as an independent organization. This means that either a for-profit corporation or a not-for-profit foundation will need to step in and save the day. While it’s sad to see one of the most historic sports organizations in the country in its current condition, it may just be the sports industry’s equivalent of breaking up with a bad relationship in hopes of finding someone better. For now, at least, there’s still some good left in the partnership between Nascar and Daytona. For a while, at least, we can still watch the drivers compete and enjoy the ambiance at one of the most famous sports venues in the country.

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