NASCAR optimistic about the future, Clash returns to the runway in 2023

by Bob Bocras
NASCAR FOX Sports writer

successful Experience at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum And a relatively successful debut for the next generation car NASCAR Optimistic about the rest of 2022 and beyond.

NASCAR entered 2022 with hope but with plenty of unknowns, starting with a Clash show on a makeshift track constructed inside the iconic Los Angeles Stadium. The car, with parts and parts now mainly provided by vendors rather than manufactured by teams, needed several significant modifications (windshield air ducts, increased horsepower on many tracks) before drivers accepted it as race-ready.

But 16 point races and two season fairs, NASCAR executives can smile. With the FOX/FS1 portion of the cup season completed (FOX/FS1 had its first 18 events and NBC/USA the last 20), viewership was up 6% from last season, with an average of 3.696 million viewers watched throughout the race.

While the NASCAR tracks are no longer owned by public companies and therefore do not release audited financial results, “eye testing” and traffic on race days indicated higher attendances at several tracks compared to the two years prior to COVID-19.

NASCAR’s Ben Kennedy discusses the future of sports

NASCAR's Ben Kennedy discusses the future of sports

NASCAR Senior Vice President Ben Kennedy discusses the future of the sport and announces that Clash will return to the LA Memorial Coliseum in 2023.

Of course, there are still some issues: wheels are coming off cars at an alarming rate, NASCAR’s race safety and control operations are called into question (as it usually does), and NASCAR continues to struggle with its place when it comes to social issues.

“[The] A next-generation car,…I would never have dreamed it would go the way it does,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said June 9 at a press conference celebrating NASCAR’s diversity efforts in San Francisco. The race was simply extraordinary.

“It’s been a journey. Our ratings have gone up. Our presence has gone up. We have a whole new group of racing enthusiasts coming to the racetrack, watching on TV, getting involved in digital and social channels. It’s a hit.”

NASCAR thinks it’s attracting new fans thanks to more than just the new car. She has new owners, including basketball superstar Michael Jordan and world-famous musician Pitbull.

Jordan’s team also has Bubba Wallace, the only full-time black driver in the trophy series, is behind the wheel. While Wallace’s call for social justice has been attracting some of NASCAR’s fan base, he has played a pivotal role in creating a welcoming environment in the sport.

Also of note is his win earlier this month at Sonoma, Daniel Suarez He became the first Mexican driver to win a trophy race.

Quick Thoughts: A historic day for Daniel Suarez and NASCAR

Quick Thoughts: A historic day for Daniel Suarez and NASCAR

Bob Bocras broke a historic Cup Series win for Daniel Suarez at the Sonoma Racecourse.

In addition to the overall increase in ratings, NASCAR has seen growth among black and Hispanic demographics in each of the past four years and expects its fan base to be at its highest since at least 2015, according to Brian Herbst, NASCAR’s senior vice president of broadcasting.

“We were in 2020 compared to 2019, we’re up again in 2021, and we’re up again in 2022,” Herbst told FOX Sports in an interview last week.

And NASCAR continues to go to new places. The LA Coliseum and Gateway (near St. Louis) were new to the Cup schedule this year, and the Cup series in its second year goes to the Nashville Superspeedway, the Circuit of the Americas in Austin and Road America in Wisconsin.

In addition, this year marked the second time Cup drivers competed on dirt laid atop Bristol’s concrete roof. This time around, though, it came as a prime-time event on Easter Sunday, a controversial move for the weekend’s race but which has gained increasing TV ratings.

NASCAR will likely finish its 2023 schedule in August. But it has already announced that Clash will return to the LA Coliseum on February 5, with the Daytona 500 two weeks later on February 19 and the championship race about to return to Phoenix on November 5.

Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s senior vice president, who handles the scheduling, said in an interview at NASCAR RaceDay ahead of the Sonoma race. “And what that looks like, whether it’s a road track or a street track or a short track, I’m not entirely sure.

“But, hopefully, in the next month or two, we can share a little bit more. And then we continue to evolve in the year 24 and beyond. We’re really starting to think about five to ten years, where do we want the timeline to be? And then how do we build a roadmap? To arrive there? “

NASCAR looked at Chicago and the Midlands for potential temporary street circuits. New Orleans was also mentioned as a possibility.

NASCAR President Steve Phelps on the 2023 schedule

NASCAR President Steve Phelps on the 2023 schedule

At a press event in San Francisco, NASCAR President Steve Phelps said the plan is to stay bold with the 2023 schedule, which he hopes will be released in August.

The only big question is whether a street circuit will replace a road track.

“We’ve reached a point where we might have some saturation on the track side of things,” Phelps told FOX Sports after a press conference in San Francisco. “We will continue to listen to the fans and see what the fans are interested in.

“They told us they wanted more on-road and short-track courses. The short-track was tough. We were able to do the road-track part really well. It’s a good combination for us now.”

Phelps has also addressed several topics that have appeared in NASCAR over the past month:

– It took about seven minutes to arrive Chris BucherCharlotte’s car flipped back on its wheels, which was co-owned by Team Buescher Brad Kiselowski The thought was too long. Buescher said he understood it was the first time the NASCAR safety team had had to bring a next-generation car back on four wheels and thought it did a good job, although he wished it had been faster.

“What happened with Boecher’s case, this [safety response] Phelps said the group did exactly what they were trained to do. He added: “There are other measures we could have taken if Chris had been injured that we would have done differently.

“We understand it’s inconvenient for a driver to turn upside down. We understand it’s not ideal, but it’s the safest way for us to get a driver out, and the group did it flawlessly.”

NASCAR has chosen not to enter the program Denny HamlinRoss Chastain Hostility and yet no compensation is treated as restraint.

“We talked about self-control,” Phelps said. “Drivers do self-policing. … as long as this car is not used as a weapon, we will review it, and if we think it has crossed the line, we will. [more]. “

NASCAR recently released a Pride Month tweet saying, “We acknowledge that recent actions have not been in line with NASCAR’s mission to be a welcoming sport for all.”

Phelps did not go into detail but reiterated the message.

“Overall, we as a sport have not been welcoming and inclusive to the LBGTQ community – and we want to be,” he said. “…This is another important group that we want to reach.

“We want our sport to be as welcoming and inclusive as possible. That’s what our current fans – basically, not all of them – want. [do is] Sharing their sport with others, whether it’s someone’s sexual orientation or the color of their skin or whatever, is immaterial. It’s the love of racing that they want to celebrate with each other.”

Steve Phelps talks about diversity in NASCAR

Steve Phelps talks about diversity in NASCAR

Part of the NASCAR press event in San Francisco was promoting diversity and inclusion policies.

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think out loud

This past weekend was the only weekend in the regular season schedule for the NASCAR Cup Series. Traditionally, NASCAR had a weekend, and that increased to three years, when NBC didn’t want a conflict with the Olympics.

Few will feel sorry for the teams and drivers; They were engaged in professional sports. Big teams have scheduled extra weekends for mechanics and engineers in order to prevent burnout. However, due to the shortage of next-generation car parts, those in the shops work so many hours to keep up that they often have to take parts and auto parts that have been raced recently and get them in cars for a race in the next week or two.

Based on what we know about next year’s schedule, in terms of the announced dates for the Daytona 500 game and the end of the season in Phoenix, it looks like there will only be one weekend in 2023. That’s tough for the competitors and their families.

It can be frustrating for those who work in sports not to have more breaks. The key will be for teams to monitor their people and adapt, especially teams they know will be in the post-season and need full energy in the 10-race qualifying round.

social lights

Today’s stats

Daniel Suarez was the second driver in the Trophy to win his first trophy at the Sonoma race track. the other? Juan Pablo Montoya in 2007.

they said that

“We keep screwing up every week.” – Kevin Harvick After a slow stop at Sonoma proved costly

Bob Pokras has spent decades covering motorsports, including the last 30 games of the Daytona 500. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 after working for ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @Popocras. Looking for more NASCAR content? Subscribe to the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass!


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