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Bristol Speedway is among the most well-known tracks in America, and an all-time favorite of NASCAR fans. In fact, the track sold out 55 straight times beginning in 1982. But that streak came to an end in March, and the NASCAR news only gets more depressing from there. According to Time, NASCAR has seen its television audiences drop by a knee-wobbling 25 percent since 2005, and last year alone, attendance was down 10 percent.

So has NASCAR turned off its core audience – or has the economy put the hurt on the official sport of the south? Apparently the answer is a little of both, as Time reports that the struggling economy may be only part of the problem. A big issue could be that NASCAR isn't the dangerous, crash-tastic, post-race fist fighting affair that it once was. NASCAR has encouraged its drivers to get a bit more confrontational in 2010 to help win back some fans, but even that idea seemed to backfire after Carl Edwards intentionally crashed into Brad Keselowski back in March to settle a score. Drivers are also less likely to engage in reckless behavior due to the fact that many drivers are sponsored by wholesome, family-oriented brands like Tide and Cheerios.

To get NASCAR back into the hearts and minds of the American people, both the sport and its leader, Brian France (above), are looking to make changes. Among the changes, the left turn circuit is looking into are tweaking the way drivers earn points, shortening the length of races and even changing the formation of cars during cautions to encourage more passing. Whether you love NASCAR or you hate it, the Time article is a very interesting read. NASCAR is even looking for fans to chime in with ways to improve the sport, so feel free to head into the comments to come up with ways to make the sport more interesting. And try to come up with something more clever than "mix in an occasional right turn."

[Source: Time | Image: Jason Smith/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      My guess is that the body count isn't as high as it used to be. Drivers walk away from blazing crashes due to the increased use of safety systems. Maybe if ambulances were carting casualties from the wreckage every other lap people would tune in again. More explosions, not just fender benders!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Too much Jimmie Johnson... When one guy dominates not just the championship race, but individual races, what's the point of watching?

      Having said that, last weekend's Talladega race was actually pretty fun to watch. It's been a weird season so far, and if it continues, I wouldn't be surprised to see the fans coming back.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Get rid of so many NASCAR shows on SPEED. Get rid of the Larry Mc "pull them belts up........" and the Waltrip "boogity...." thing. Race real cars like the WRC, Australian V8's and the BTCC. More road courses. Shorten some of the races.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like to watch racing, but I really only watch WRC and Formula 1. Even WRC is getting a little boring with only two major players backed by manufactures. They need to get 5, 6 players in the game. Mitsu, Audi, Subie get off your arse.

      Nascar suxs because it hasn't been stock car racing in many moons. I would love to see a racing series with factory cars with nothing but roll cages and fuel cells. It would promote serious competition with STOCK cars and technology with FACTORY cars. Not this Nascar crap where the only difference between the cars is skin and decals. They are all the same car and they have nothing in common with the car their skin and decals imply. Who are they trying to kid? Race on Sunday and buy on Monday might have real meaning again if someone could come up with a racing series with stock cars again. Maybe even do different classes on the same track.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Subie won't be back until the rules allow Subaru boxer engines and symmetrical AWD.

        I assume Audi is out for similar reasons tied to WRC not giving them a venue to showcase Quattro.

        Blame WRC from being spec racing, not the OEMs for passing on fielding irrelevant tech.
      • 4 Years Ago
      returning to stockcar roots might help. more classes in more races at each event.When stockcars became racecars, I stayed home.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lets have Wrestlers Drive the cars. Then when someone gets mad at another you can have a Death Match between Them right there at the track. The winner would get his opponents Car to finish the race with. Of course it's a "Death Match" so they would always have New drivers. This could seriously effect the viability Of this racing but could be really good for the Wrestling.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What goes up must come down. Lets all hope the SPEED goes back to being about all things that go fast and not just NASCAR. I miss watching the Lost Drive-In on saturday nights. Also I want my Rally Cars back.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Rally, Paris to Dakar, Air Racing, classic cars, great ships, etc, etc.

        Speed dumped a lot of great shows to have, Day before NASCAR, Pre NASCAR, During NASCAR, after NASCAR, Post NASCAR, Day after NASCAR.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Damn straight!
        To many Nascar shows dilute the brand and also Speed. At times I feel they should just call Speed Channel, Nascar Channel.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Make NASCAR better? Hmmm.... pretty easy i think. Make the cars actual cousins of the road going cars that they represent. More road courses. Do away with "the chase" and take restricter plates off. Enough of this spec nonsense. Let the manufacturers have SOME part in the design of the car. It will encourage actual competition on the actual brands themselves. Isn't that what motorsport is all about anyway?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yay! If that were to happen, my life would be complete. That sounds sooooooo damn sweet.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Couldn't agree more.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How about not calling out the safety car every time there's even a LITTLE crash? That's one reason why I don't watch NASCAR, because it's not so much about skill as it is about safety cars and being in the right place at the right time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Maybe because France is in charge of NASCAR?"

      The sad part is I'm sure there are fans who get pissed off if they heard that sentence.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They need to stop turning left. Have something as complicated as the Nurburgring and more CRASHES!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      More road courses and cars that are you know, actually cars, with real bodies, not plastics that say camry and fusion.
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