Nascar is hemorrhaging fans and sponsors, while its leading executive has stepped down amongst DWI and possession charges. But the drivers and teams can't focus on everything that's changing in the world outside of race day—they still need to do what they've always needed to do: go out and win.
Unfortunately for the vast number of drivers and teams out there, their fortunes are paired with the fortunes of Nascar as an entire organization. And that organization is failing on multiple fronts. It's almost like Nascar has forgotten that the customer is always right. In this case, they need to start listening to complaints from their fans about what's gone so wrong with their races, the culture, and the race coverage.
Instead, though, Nascar just seems to be straight-up ignoring these 17 fan complaints.
17 Not Stock Cars
Nascar stands for National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing and has been around in various forms for over seven decades. But over those years, the cars have strayed further and further from being actually stock, or how they left the factory. One way to get fans more interested in Nascar would be to have the cars be truly stock—this might even be great publicity for the auto manufacturers, as well.
16 Cup Drivers In Lower Races
Today, the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series is the height of the sport, and these are the races most fans tune in to watch. But for the diehard fans out there who are also steadily losing interest, one complaint is that top drives from the Cup Series are still allowed to race in lower classes. This is akin to having varsity players schooling JV teams—it's just boring.
15 The Yellow Line
One reason that Nascar has lost many fans over the last few years is their insistence on changing the sport's rules, all in the name of improving racing. But most of the time, the rule changes don't make any sense—and plenty of rules are already in place that fans believe aren't enforced properly. Case in point is the yellow-line rule, which is applied irregularly across the field.
14 The Swearing Rule
Nascar drivers put their lives on the line every time they get into a race car and the risks only elevate on race day. As a way of increasing fan engagement, Nascar has tapped viewers into what drivers and teams say to each other—but part of the setup includes the rule that drivers can't swear. Fans would love to hear the drivers let the emotions fly, though.
13 Overtime Drama
Many of the rules that govern Nascar races have been designed to increase the drama while leveling the playing field. But fans can quickly get sick of the overtime rules that seem like they could extend a race for hours and hours. The idea is to make it so that a caution doesn't ruin a race's ending, but maybe instead, Nascar could throw fewer cautions.
12 On The Clock
Nascar races are judged based on who finishes a set number of laps first—though there are also points awarded for certain stages (another rule that makes no sense). But fans don't like not knowing how long a race might go on. Perhaps one way that Nascar could get more fans to stay tuned would be to have a set time and award the win to which driver does the most laps in that period—like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, for example.
11 Driver's Briefing
A silly, outdated rule that draws plenty of fan criticism is the mandatory driver's briefing that every driver must attend before every race. But fans at home learn the rules from the announcers (as bad as they may be) and fans at the track can't see what goes on at the driver's meeting. It would be much more interesting to follow the drivers around during their pre-race rituals right next to their fire-breathing dragons.
10 Contact Or Not
One major complaint that Nascar fans—or ex-Nascar fans, anyway—have about the sport surrounds allegations of favoritism by the organization. This favoritism comes out in many ways, mostly through irregular applications of the rules. A highly common occurrence on the racetrack like contact between cars may be deemed a foul in one case but not in another.
Nascar clearly added stage racing as an attempt to keep fans glued to the TV, though plenty of viewers also complain that this is an attempt to keep the sport's bankable stars in the runnings. After all, if a big name can win a stage or two, then fall out of a race with a mechanical, then they can still have an okay day. But it used to be that winning was everything, and fans clearly miss that extra sense of importance.
8 Lower Power
Nascar, as an organization, needs to worry about driver safety—very few fans would argue that they want to see their favorite drivers risking their lives more than is absolutely necessary. But rules like restrictor plates to help keep power down lead to confusion when they're paired with improved aerodynamic allowances. Are the cars supposed to go faster or slower?
7 Blocking Or Not
Much like the application of whether contact between cars has broken the rules, the use of rules against blocking seems to be rather flexible. Many fans complain that the biggest names get a bit more leeway, while others just believe that blocking, in all its forms, is just a part of keeping the guy behind you from passing and should be perfectly legal.
6 Tag Me In
Nascar used to be all about which drivers could pilot their cars to the finish line first. Now, points accrue based on all kinds of new regulations, while sometimes, drivers don't even need to be in a race to get points. Many fans believe that using substitute drivers turns the standings into a farce, and their point makes a lot of sense.
5 Waivers Are Random
In the NBA, certain star players seem to get special treatment from the refs, going to the foul line more than others and not getting fouls called on them as much on the defensive end of the court. But this favoritism doesn't really help the game, and a similar trend exists in Nascar. It seems like only the biggest names receive waiver clearances from the organization, all to help them stay in the contest longer and draw in more fans.
4 Playoff Racing
All of the rules and regulations that Nascar fans complain about lead up to the playoffs, where Nascar clearly wants their biggest stars to shine. But maybe a little bit of leveling to the playing field might actually help keep some drama alive, and therefore bring in more fans who never know whether their favorite drivers or some new name might win on any given day.
3 Sound Quality
Nascar races have seen their audiences dwindle, both in the stands and on televisions at homes across the country. One of the major complains that has led to fans giving up on watching their favorite races is that the sound quality on TV is absolutely terrible. Nascar needs to tone down the engine roar so that fans can hear the announcers explain all the complex new rules that have changed the sport.
Speaking of announcers, Nascar desperately needs to work with their networks to find some better announcers who can more accurately explain everything that's going on. (Though first, the fans need to be able to actually hear the announcers over the roar of the engines.) Every sport has good commentators and bad commentators, but for Nascar, the latter heavily outweigh the former.
One of the most classic complaints about Nascar is that it's just a few hours of watching guys turn left hundreds of times. Though there are Nascar racetracks that aren't strictly oval in shape, they still lack the intensity and recognition of racing through cities, like in Formula 1 and IndyCar. It would be a huge change, though fans would probably eat it up.
Sources: Nascar, Wikipedia, and USA Today.