I didn't like NASCAR much growing up. Oh, I was a huge race fan, all right but of the outlaw short tracks with their lightning-action 10-lap heats and 30-lap features on half-mile tracks. Wham, bam, in 10 to 15 minutes,flag to flag, you had a winner.Each race was a sprint, not a marathon. The beginning and the end came back-to-back. No middle stages for reasons not at all clear to me,except just to be able to say they'd run a long way.
Emotional issues may follow motor problems in kids , I grew up and learned you could get paid for writing about those long races, but not the electrifying short races.NASCAR was an acquired taste.Daytona and Talladega were thrilling because the cars stayed bunched in the draft, shuffling kaleidoscopically on the banking. And Cup races on the handful of short tracks were fine.But on the intermediate-size tracks, where cars tend to get strung out well I must admit to yawning from time to time.Appreciation of the art of pit strategy goes only so far.Meanwhile, the outlaw tracks withered and died under NASCAR's marketing onslaught, and the weeds and pine saplings grew up through the cracks in the abandoned asphalt all across America.Over the decades I came to accept all that.
But now 40 years on,I think I've come full circle. I'd like to see the lightning action back. What's more, there is reason to suspect that the American public, with its ever-dwindling attention span, is right here with me now.Most of all the younger demographics,so coveted by advertisers, seem to want everything to be That's why TV highlight shows are so popular. You get only the best parts of any event.All this occurred to me the other day in conversation with H.A. Humpy Wheeler, long considered the master promoter in NASCAR, first as president of Charlotte Motor Speedway and then as president of the Speedway Motorsports Inc. track-owning conglomerate.
Just because he is four years retired from SMI, and is now more focused on promoting a proposed Formula One race in New Jersey, doesn't mean that Wheeler ever stops thinking about how to improve the shows in stock car racing.