Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's racin' season

Any lack of clarity about NASCAR's marketing approach this season was quickly cleared up during the pre-race show on FOX prior to today's Daytona 500. The opening video segment was all about "back to the roots," the announcers talked up the racing changes this season (e.g., allowing bump drafting), and the pre-race entertainment was country star Tim McGraw.

NASCAR is concerned that their racing has become a bit vanilla. And, they're hopeful that the changes make it easier for other marquee drivers (can you say Dale Earnhardt Jr.) to compete more effectively with four-time Cup winner Jimmie Johnson.

One other needed wrinkle is that races will now start at one of three consistent times--1:00, 3:00 or 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Over the past three or so years, race start times have varied from week-to-week.

The changes will help but the biggest attraction for NASCAR right now is driving on the junior circuit--Nationwide Series driver Danica Patrick. The sooner that Patrick gets behind the wheel of a Cup car, the better for NASCAR viewership and expanded consumer interest.

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