NASCAR’s Having A Really Bad Week


It was a tough week for the people who run the sport of NASCAR. The week continued to get worse and worse and for the people running NASCAR you have to wonder if they feel more beaten than Manny Pacquiao after this weekend’s fight.

It started on Wednesday when longtime Danica Patrick sponsor announced they were leaving the sport and Patrick’s No. 10 following the 2015 season. The news came as a surprise to a lot of people because Patrick is such a popular figure in the NASCAR world. The team will have to search for sponsorship on the car and was alarming for the sport as it doesn’t look good when your most popular and most marketable driver cannot please sponsorship enough to have them keep pouring money into the sport of NASCAR. It’s never a good sign when a company says they want to spend their money elsewhere.

Then came the news that Phil Parsons Racing may be merging with Premium Motorsports, meaning that the once large field for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series may get a little smaller. Not only that, but a week earlier it was reported by’s Chris Knight that Tommy Baldwin Racing and BK Racing were looking to merge their operation. It’s a scary thought because both Tommy Baldwin Racing and Phil Parsons Racing have been mainstays over the past few seasons in NASCAR and most importantly they make races on a consistent basis. If the teams are making races and not making money how does that look for the sport? NASCAR took some purse money away from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2015 and you have to wonder if that has anything to do with these rumors.

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The Saturday came and if those two things weren’t bad enough the weekend at Talladega Superspeedway wasn’t very good either. The NASCAR Xfinity Series race was marred by major controversy. In the Xfinity Series races at the restrictor plate tracks can tandem race because of the way the bumpers on the cars line up on the cars.  NASCAR has tried to police the tandem drafting over the past few seasons although teams have continued to push the limits. That was no different Saturday at the end of Winn-Dixie 300 when several drivers and teams pushed the limits in the closing laps leaving the NASCAR world dumbfounded on to what the actual limits are and whether or not there are limits at all.

Then on Sunday the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway ended with one of the most boring finishes at a plate track in recent memory. After a late race caution teams and drivers figured it was better to get single file rather than try and run the bottom. The result ended in one of the most lackluster finishes in Talladega history. Plus a caution on the final lap in which Carl Edwards was turned sideways on the track with the back end of the field coming at him head on. That left some drivers questioning what was more important, driver safety or a green flag finish for the fans.

It was an interesting weekend considering that Talladega Superspeedway is usually one of NASCAR’s most exciting events. With the restricted engines it levels the playing field for and gives teams who don’t normally run up in the front of the field a chance to run good. With that the hype of the race is usually high and people usually always look forward to watching Talladega. With the shenanigans this weekend it took the racing talk away from Talladega and made people focus on anything but the racing at Talladega Superspeedway and the ratings proved that.

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Sunday’s ratings for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway came out on Monday and they were alarming. The ratings were down 14% from the 2014 running of the event and it was the lowest rated race at Talladega since 1998. The weird part about the ratings were that NASCAR wasn’t competing against major sporting event on Sunday afternoon. The race was also ran on FOX which was even more surprising for the low rating consider FOX is common in almost every household in the United States. Add that with the fact that NASCAR’s most popular driver was leading for most of the race and ended up going to victory lane the ratings were extremely alarming. What would the ratings have been if Earnhardt wrecked on lap 30? Considering most of NASCAR’s money comes from the television contract they just signed with Fox Sports and NBC Sports, a rating this low isn’t a good sign at all.

Add that in with the fact that 17 of the next 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events will be aired on either FoxSports 1 or NBC Sports Network you have to wonder how far the ratings will fall, especially during the Chase for the Sprint Cup when NASCAR has to compete against the most popular sport in the country, the NFL. FS1 and NBCSN are not commonly found in many homes around the country and usually cost a lot more than the standard cable package around the country. It’s a fact not many people get NBC Sports Network or Fox Sports 1 and the ratings are going to be significantly lower for those events. This weekend at Talladega could be the beginning of a long line of decline in ratings.

It was not a good weekend for NASCAR as a whole, no matter what they say, the week was one NASCAR would like to forget.

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