Motor sports needed a day like Sunday
Posted May 29, 2011
Updated May 30, 2011
It was everything you could ask for in a race – twice.
And motor sports needed it. Or, umm… them.
The “powers that be” for NASCAR and Indy racing have to be smiling after two exciting finishes captivated fans Sunday.
Rookie JR Hildebrand’s last-lap mistake cost him an Indy 500, but it gave a race that has faded in its luster a much-needed publicity boost.
Hours later Dale Earnhardt, Jr., NASCAR’s most popular driver by far, ran out of gas in the final turn at the Coca-Cola 600, losing a chance at his first victory in 105 races.
Both were heartbreaking defeats, albeit for drivers at much different points in their careers. But moments like these draw fans in by the droves. These are “water cooler” moments, things people come up to you and ask: “Did you see that?”
People often complain of races being "boring," and at times they can be uneventful. The irony is that those are normally the races that are run cleanly. But, those are also the people sports hope to reach. Non-fans equate to untapped markets, and you can't grow without tapping into new markets.
That's why compelling dramas like those we saw on the tracks Sunday are so important. For us, it's an enjoyable spectacle - but for NASCAR and Indy racing it's good for business.
Motor sports giants NASCAR and Indy racing aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but they needed a boost as much as any business does these days.
They got their boosts, even at the expense of Earnhardt, Jr. and Hildebrand.