The Bud Off The NASCAR Rose

15nascar.1.600.jpgThe New York Times' Juliet Macar examines the decline in NASCAR ratings and attendance. It's hard to read this and not think of the PGA Tour...

No recent move by the Frances has been more significant than the introduction of the standardized Car of Tomorrow, which is supposed to enliven races by making it easier to pass. It made its debut last month at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, receiving criticism from drivers. Wheeler, of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, said the Car of Tomorrow would produce close racing, which would produce rivalries and drama that could bring the fans back. “With this car, I can see that sparks will fly once again,” he said.

Of course, the Tour would have to acknowledge first that their races need enlivening! And not by narrowing fairways, growing rough and encouraging plodding golf.

Perhaps nothing has changed more than the television contracts, and the money at stake. Nascar is in the first year of an eight-year contract with Fox, ABC/ESPN, TNT and Speed valued at about $4.5 billion, or $560 million a year. Its previous contract was worth $400 million a year.

Kyle Petty cited NBC’s decision not to renew its television contract with Nascar as a warning flag. “That’s a big, big story that someone walked away,” he said. “That’s a huge blip on the radar.”

Well, at least that hasn't happened in golf!