Ken Medlin

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.

Exciting finish at Coca-Cola 600 Exciting finish at Coca-Cola 600

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.


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  • Packman24 May 30, 2011

    Jr.'s just not like his dad. He won't win in another 105 races either. HE SUCKS

  • VT1994Hokie May 30, 2011

    I hate it for Dale Jr. It has to hurt him, and his crew. Hard to believe he hasn't won in this length of time.

  • rayrayjay17 May 31, 2011

    poor Junya!!!!!!!!! Nascar tried its best to give him a win!! poor guy!!!!



  • rayrayjay17 May 31, 2011


  • CBB: Texas A&M at LSU

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CIAA: Winston Salem State @ Fayetteville State

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on METV 50.2

  • Nascar Sprint Cup Series: Sprint Unlimited

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on FOX50

  • Nascar Sprint Cup Series: Daytona 500 Qualifying

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • CBB: UNC vs. Pittsburgh

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: NC State vs. Wake Forest

    Tomorrow at 12:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • CBB: Kansas at Oklahoma

    Tomorrow at 2:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

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ATP Scoreboard
Thursday, Feb. 11
Memphis Open (ATP)
Second Round
(8) D. Dzumhur3 4    
R. Berankis6 6    
(3) D. Young6 77    
M. Granollers1 62    
(7) J. Millman2 68    
B. Becker6 710    
(2) S. Johnson65 67    
T. Fritz77 79    
World Tennis Tournament (ATP)
Second Round
J. Chardy5 2    
N. Mahut7 6    
(8) V. Troicki77 6    
H. Chung65 2    
(6) R. Bautista A4 6 6   
J. Vesely6 2 4   
M. Baghdatis3 2    
M. Klizan6 6    
(3) G. Simon5 6 64   
A. Zverev7 3 77   
Argentina Open (ATP)
Second Round
(8) P. Cuevas6 6    
S. Giraldo4 2    
(2) D. Ferrer6 6    
R. Olivo2 2    
P. Lorenzi4 6 6   
D. Schwartzma6 3 1   
(1) R. Nadal6 6    
J. Monaco4 4    
WTA Scoreboard
Thursday, Feb. 11
St. Petersburg Ladies (WTA)
Second Round
E. Vesnina6 3 2   
K. Kozlova2 6 6   
(9) M. Niculescu6 1 3   
T. Babos4 6 6   
D. Kasatkina6 6    
L. Siegemund3 4    
(1) B. Bencic77 6    
A. Beck63 3    
(3) C. Wozniacki4 5    
D. Cibulkova6 7    
(5) A. Pavlyuchen6 7    
C. Witthoeft1 5    
Taiwan Open (WTA)
Second Round
(2) M. Doi6 6    
M. Linette2 3    
(1) V. Williams6 6    
U. Radwanska4 2    
(6) S. Hsieh6 4 6   
M. Minella4 6 2   
(2) M. Doi     
(7) K. Nara     
(3) Y. Putintseva6 0    
S. Voegele3 0