NASCAR faces stiff competition this weekend and needs to step it up to appeal to the fans who might flip over to the Olympics. The Great American Race couldn’t hold a candle to its Olympic counterpart. (The first four days of the Olympics garnered over 28 million folks each night while only 13.3 million fans tuned in for great racing and potholes).
This Sunday, the Olympics will feature Ski Cross, Biathlon, Ice Dancing, Canada vs USA Hockey and Women’s Curling. Here are a few simple changes NASCAR can make to entice those viewers to switch over:
1. Sequin Uniforms
What do people love about figure skating? The costumes. Bring sequin costumes into NASCAR and watch the ratings soar. Every driver doesn’t need to go "Dolly Parton" with their fire suit. They can take their cues from country legend Porter Wagner who rocked a very masculine sequin-style for years. Think about it, "Smoke" would look pretty good bedazzled on the back of Stewart’s uniform.
2. Custom-Painted Helmets
Why hasn’t this happened yet? Slovakia’s Peter Budaj rocks racing idol Valentino Rossi on one side of his mask and a buff Ned Flanders holding the shield of Slovakia (courtesy of Swedish artist Dave Gunnarsson). The best NASCAR can do is painted flames. I want to see Ryan Newman’s ‘Rocketman’ helmet, Juan Pablo’s airbrushed RC planes and Kyle Busch’s kitten/unicorn helmet.
3. NASCAR’s Own Hat Trick Gesture
From Octopus to rats to hats, hockey fans love to throw things on the ice to celebrate their favorite plays and players. NASCAR has its own version of fan participation – the beer can shower reserved for Jeff Gordon at Talladega. A meeting of the minds must occur where Talladega fans sanction the use of this celebration to other tracks to celebrate/jeer other drivers.
4. Mid-Race Jousting
Rather than try to duplicate the perfection that is the Biathlon (admit it: ladies who ski and then shoot guns are cool to watch), NASCAR should harken back to another medieval tradition… joust. Every hundred miles, the drivers grab lances and joust it out for position. The field is reordered and the racing continues.
5. Cris Collinsworth’s Inane Observations
It’s unclear who wants to listen to Cris Collinsworth, but NBC loves dragging him out to add inane observations. During every Race Break, Chris Myers can throw to Collinsworth to state the obvious, wearing a sweater and seated near a fireplace. It will be just like you’re watching the Olympics.