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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