Will NASCAR be Fan Friendlier in 2013?

By Kent Whitaker


Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR fans!! Are you tired of standing in long lines for tickets? Are you tired of waiting incredibly long periods of time for tracks to dry after a rain storm? Has the thought of lower ticket prices made you smile? It appears that the entire industry of motorsports has realized that fans are tight on cash and expect more for their dollar. The industry has taken notice and efforts are underway across the board to make sure your race day experience is better.

Here’s one speedway that’s fighting long lines! Dover International Speedway, also known as the Monster Mile, has announced that the process of buying a ticket will be faster and greener. Starting with the 2013 season the speedway becomes the first to implement a paperless ticket system that stores all of the ticket info on the consumer’s credit card. The new ticketing option is called Flash Seats. The new option for buying tickets allows the customer to save all of the ticket information on their credit card when they purchase the tickets online or at the ticket office.

Once purchased all the fan has to do is walk up to the gate and swipe the card as if it were a pass. No more standing in line waiting at the window for a ticket to print! All other traditional means for buying a ticket will still be in place for Monster Mile fans. Hopefully this speeds things up and reduces waste and reduces the cost involved with paper tickets.

NASCAR is aware of the time and effort that fans make to get to an event. One slightly off the radar thing that the organization is working towards is making track drying faster. NASCAR has announced that they will try to reduce the time it takes to dry a track after a race is stopped for rain with new dryers that use compressed air instead of the jet engine dryers that are now in use.

This is also a safety issue for drivers and crews. Just take a second to remember the track dryer fire during the Daytona 500. The new dryers are set to be rolled out during the Daytona International Speedway speed week.

What about the high cost of ticket prices? After a year of declining sales many tracks have announced discounts or that they were maintaining prices from last season. Texas Motor Speedway is leading the way. Why am I mentioning Texas and not other tracks? Because Texas Motor Speedway had one of the best attended events during the 2012 season. Instead of following the normal way of doing business and capitalizing on your popularity the speedway has decided to reward fans and reduce prices on more than 15,000 seats. In addition they are not raising prices on the remaining seats.

There are plenty of more examples of how the industry is working towards making it better including efforts in many places to improve things such as parking, traffic flow and even food stands. Does this mean that word has made it to bean counters in the racing industry that fans are tired of having the feeling that they were being taken advantage of? It appears that the message is getting through. Apparently fans venting about prices, delays and more on sports talk radio for the last several years was not enough. What got everyone’s attention were the empty seats at many speedways which equals lost money on parking, tickets, shirts, hats, corn dogs and more.

Will this trend to add value to a race day continue? I hope so and I hope that hotels and motels located near tracks pick up on this theme. Will the efforts to improve competitiveness by NASCAR also help draw race fans back to the sport? We will know after Daytona when the fans light up the phone lines on sports talk radio shows and either complain about the new cars and rule or heap everything with praise. Or do both; after all that’s what being a fan is all about.


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