Last year, we all wondered if Nascar was going to be okay. After a 50-year hiatus, the sport was revived as part of the new TV package NASCAR Now. But since then, a lot has changed. The cars have gotten faster, the engines more powerful, and the tracks more demanding. Will the popular sport be able to continue on its current trajectory or will 2019 be the year Nascar goes back in time?
The Biggest Changes And Why They Matter
When Nascar returned last year, it was greeted with a halo of optimism. For decades, the sport had been on the brink of extinction, with only sporadic races being run every year. Then last year, with the advent of the internet, social media, and streaming services, Nascar finally found a way to keep the faith. In 2019, the sport will return bigger and better than ever before. Here are the biggest changes and why they matter.
Racing On Historic Tracks
For the first time in nearly 50 years, Nascar will hold multiple races at once. The season will start early and continue well into the summer, featuring 12 races in total. This is in an effort to draw more people to the sport and keep them interested. Unfortunately, some of these races will take place on tracks that are either historic or famous for one reason or another, namely the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Daytona International Speedway. The former has held the Indianapolis 500, the most prestigious automobile race in the world, since 1911. The latter is home to the Daytona 500, one of the Superbowls of racing. With all the media attention and star power in both of these cities, it’s an opportunity not to be missed for a racer to run there. But as popular as the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 are, they are not the only historic tracks that Nascar will be using this year. There are plenty of other tracks that have seen action over the years and many of them are in need of renovation in order to remain relevant today. By racing there, drivers will be able to showcase their talents and show the world what they can do on a track that has history.
Rerouting And Closer Scheduling
It’s no secret that road trips are less popular today. People want to stay close to home, so Nascar is taking this into consideration and rerouting some of its races. The first race that will take place outside of its traditional mid-summertime slot will be the season opener at Daytona. Instead of beginning in March, the season will start in January and end in November.
Similarly, the Coca-Cola 600, the most prestigious and longest-running race of the year, will be making a comeback. The 600, which will be run at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was first held in 1971 and has since become one of the iconic races of the year, comparable in prestige to the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. But in order to make the trip more appealing, Nascar is moving the date of the race forward by one month. This year will be the 43rd edition of the Coca-Cola 600. But perhaps the biggest rerouting is that of the Brickyard 400. Traditionally a late summer race, this year’s installment of the annual Interstates Cup series will be pushed back to late July. This is in an effort to have the race coincide with the FIFA World Cup, the most popular sporting event of the year, and to make it a standalone weekend, giving fans more opportunities to attend. While these are all solid races to add to the already star-studded schedule, the changes speak to the sport’s desire to remain fresh and to keep fans interested. These are all big games with high stakes, and Nascar wants to ensure that the fans are still in the arena, wanting more.
More Engines, Less Noise
From the very beginning, the biggest news story surrounding the rebirth of Nascar was the introduction of noise-reduction technology to the cars. Not only does this make it easier for spectators to follow the action, but it also helps the drivers communicate with each other, remain focused, and work together as a team. There are numerous reports that the cars these days are as much as 40% quieter than those that were fielded 50 years ago. This is a great thing for those attending the races, as it will reduce the strain on their ears and allow them to focus on the game without concern for getting lost in noise. While a lot of this technology is being implemented in an effort to reduce costs, it’s also being used as an additional safety feature, as drivers are now able to hear each other better and be more aware of their surroundings, particularly when racing on unfamiliar or historic tracks. It would be a shame to lose such a unique aspect of the sport simply to save a few bucks.
More Cameras, More Views
Another big change that will make an impact this year is the implementation of cameras in every car. The goal is to provide fans with more angles to follow the action, not to mention the opportunities for broadcasters to show them in greater detail. But as much as the cameras will add to the intrigue and excitement of the races, it will also change the dynamic of how fans experience them. In years past, it was uncommon to see cameras in the grandstands, as they were considered an intrusion. But today, nearly every track has adopted the cameras, so fans can enjoy the action from anywhere in the stands, whether they are behind the fence or on the other side of the globe. Additionally, many tracks have increased their number of cameras, providing fans with even more angles from which to follow the action. While this has been a great thing for the fans, it has limited the number of people who can actually follow the action. For many years, sportsbooks would only place bets on the outcome of the race, as it was considered too hard to get a clear picture of what was going on due to the amount of speed and cars involved. But today, with the use of cameras, it’s much easier to see how a race could end in a big upset. Instead of just backing the favorite, fans can now get odds on the entire season, not just the upcoming race. This has made the betting public more interested in the sport and increased the attractiveness of a wager to those who have never given it a thought. The implementation of cameras has truly modernized the way fans experience the races and added a whole other element, creating a greater sense of anticipation and excitement for those who are following along at home. It’s hard to understate just how important this is for keeping fans interested in the long-haul. If nothing else works, bring back the old-school tradition of racing and being in the stands. It’s great when a sport gives its fans what they want, even if it means going back to basics. But today, if Nascar can keep its fans interested by implementing these changes, it will be a great step forward for the sport and for those who love it.