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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, 5:26 p.m.

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

  • Hokies94 May 30, 5:32 p.m.

    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, 11:56 a.m.

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

    NASCAR REALLY SUCKS!!!

    AS FAR AS HARDICK IS CONCERNED!! HE MAKES ME SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! VOMIT SICK!!!

  • rayrayjay17 May 31, 11:58 a.m.

    I WANT TO BE WATCHING WHEN SOMEONE PUTS HARDICK "THROUGH" THE WALL--NOT JUST IN IT!!

  • ACC: North Carolina vs. Miami

    Today at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

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