Normally, summer is supposed to be full of great images and lasting memories. But as teams get ready for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400, a series of stories have emerged this week that have rained on Nascar’s so far sunny season.
Nascar Now Got Cancelled:
When ESPN lost broadcast rights to Nascar, many fans assumed the worst for racing coverage on ESPN. The wait didn’t even last through the end of the current Sprint Cup season. An ESPN spokesman rebuked reports the network would mail in its race coverage. Ask the NHL how that’s worked. Maybe it will be different, but in a sport where the economy is still shaky, any lost exposure is a bad day, especially when you see this next snippet.
Home Depot Leaving Nascar:
The same Home Depot that Tony Stewart drove to two titles. The same Home Depot Matt Kenseth almost drove to a title last year. The same Home Depot that has been with Joe Gibbs Racing for 15 years. The same Home Depot that competes with Lowe’s. Granted, Gibbs has sponsorship options. But add this to the UPS departure, and it’s a tough pill to swallow.
The World Cup Juggernaut:
A recent report says only 87,530 people in Charlotte watched Sunday’s race at Sonoma. Twice as many in the same market watch the U.S. World Cup game. Large sporting events happen, but Charlotte is Nascar nirvana. To see those numbers in that city just feels jarring.
Kentucky Speedway Tickets:
Kentucky Speedway spent years doing everything under the sun to host a Sprint Cup Race. It got its wish three years ago. The week before the race, plenty of good seats are still available; you can even get them at Costco stores in Ohio. Sure, the place seats 117,000 people. But after all that work to get a Sprint Cup race, for it not to be close to a sell-out seems strange.
The odd thing is the 2014 Sprint Cup season has been really exciting, with great action on the track and juicy stories off the track. Let’s home sweet racing overshadows sour business Saturday night.