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NASCAR is struggling to adapt to a changing sports climate

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By Jordan Bianchi

NASCAR is a sport at a crossroads, still trying to find a solution to falling ratings and declining attendance.

In what may have been a NASCAR first, Hendrick Motorsports recently made a hullabaloo on social media regarding the firesuits its four drivers will wear next season. Paint schemes, sure, that’s a common thing where the look of the cars are ever-changing and fans want to see how their favorite drivers’ car will appear. But firesuits?

This year firesuits offered a snapshot into the uncertainty that permeates over the sport. In the upper right corner, near the shoulder, there was an unmistakable void where the patch is supposed to go, representing the premier series sponsor. No one knew with any certainty which entity would fill the role of entitlement sponsor.

That the process for a new sponsor extended two years after Sprint’s announced departure — well beyond anyone’s expectations — meant teams had to begin 2017 preparations without knowledge of who would become NASCAR’s most important partner. Meaning, such details like series sponsor patches on uniforms and cars would need to be left blank and photoshopped in later.

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