No Longer the NASCAR I Thought I Knew

Opinion

Empty Seats at Daytona International Speedway NASCAR iStock-474948118
Empty Seats at Daytona International Speedway. No Longer the NASCAR I Thought I Knew!

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- A recent AmmoLand News piece about NASCAR rejecting gun ads ruffled my feathers, so humor me and set right back a spell while I tell you a little story.

While I can’t find the email anymore (it was several years ago), I’ll never forget it, or the person who wrote to me. Armed American Radio was not the 225 station powerhouse it is today but rather a small, one hour program heard only in Atlanta by radio waves. Fortunately, the iPhone, released only two years earlier, and the internet were enabling folks to listen to things across the country they may not have otherwise heard. As a result, AAR had a growing fan base across the nation, bringing me back to that email I mentioned. It came from someone who felt compelled to write when he heard me say on-air that I had arrived at the studio just in time for the live show after returning from the Mother’s Day weekend race at Darlington Motor Speedway earlier that afternoon.

At that time, NASCAR was reeling from the 2008 collapse of the economy, and the writer thanked me for supporting the sport publicly during that broadcast. He also mentioned that he loved the show but couldn’t listen live as he was “always returning home from a race.”

That got me wondering, alright – who was this person? Just a fan that went to every race or was it someone who worked for NASCAR? A driver, maybe? I responded, thanked him for the kind words, and asked if he was associated with NASCAR. As it turns out he was a pit crew member, front tire changer to be exact, with the then Bobby LaBonte #96 car. We exchanged emails, he invited my family to the Atlanta track as a guest of the team, and my friendship with NASCAR flourished. It would include trips to NC and tours around the facilities of the biggest names in the sport, including Hendricks, Stewart/Hauss, and Richard Petty Motorsports, to name a few.

It was evident to me that NASCAR team members (the many I met and now hold as close friends) and AAR shared the same values including the love of God, country, fast cars, BBQ, and you guessed it, guns.

As a lifelong fan of stock car racing, that email allowed me the opportunity to live a dream that I never thought would come true. Over the years I’ve shaken hands with and entered the pre-race drivers meetings with NASCAR royalty, men such as Rick Hendricks, Coach Joe Gibbs, and Jack Roush, for example.

Mark Walters and Richard Petty
Mark Walters and Richard Petty

I’ve met drivers and their wives, taken my kids, extended family and friends to races with the teams and sat in the crew box at Talladega Motor Speedway right behind the crew chief during the race. Hell, I’ve been to Richard Petty’s home in NC for a private wedding ceremony.

I’ve loved the sport for years, and I’ve been blessed by God to see it from deep inside. If you’ve never been to a race, it’s difficult to understand the thunder and roar of a pack of 38 insanely powerful machines being driven to the edge by women and men with nerves of steel and the balls of Godzilla.

Unfortunately for NASCAR, fewer and fewer of us are enjoying a day at the track.

We’ve seen the attendance drop from its peak 10-15 years ago to include several tracks removing entire grandstand sections. I’ve watched Bristol Motor Speedway, the Colosseum of motorsports, decline from sold-out ticket sales of 110,000 to a mere 40,000 this year alone.

Thanks to that young man a decade ago, I know NASCAR. At least I thought I did.

So I tell you this for a reason. I did a little checking around, and I couldn’t confirm what I read yesterday from anyone I spoke to inside the sport, (who for obvious reasons will remain nameless). I was told by all but one that they don’t believe they would see the day that NASCAR would alienate their “entire fan base.” I reminded them that I bet they never thought they would see the day nearly 50% of Americans would consider voting for a Socialist. They shook their heads in agreement.

Take this from Beyond The Flag by Michael Eubanks four months ago: “Whether race fans want to admit it or not, auto racing has always been and likely will always be a niche sport, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Plenty of other big-league racing series such as Indy Car attract smaller crowds and survive just fine.”

NASCAR might not be as popular as it once was, and it may even shrink more over the coming years, but as long as there is even just a small group of dedicated fans who passionately love the sport, it will live on for many years to come.

Here’s my advice to the people that run NASCAR. If you do choose to alienate that shrinking base of “dedicated fans who passionately love the sport” (read: gun owners), we will leave you with overhead blimp shots that make today’s crowds look huge. Go ahead, NASCAR, try to fill the stands with a bunch of David Hogg, Moms Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety, urban, progressive, skinny jean wearing, soy sipping, man-bun wearing, antifa loving, gun-hating socialists.

I won't be around to see how that turns out for you.

Mark Walters


About Mark WaltersMark Walters

Mark Walters is the host of two nationally syndicated radio broadcasts, Armed American Radio and Armed American Radio's Daily Defense with Mark Walters. He is the Second Amendment Foundations 2015 Gun Rights Defender of the Year award recipient and co-author of two books, Lessons from Armed America with Kathy Jackson (Whitefeather Press) and Lessons from UnArmed America with Rob Pincus (Whitefeather Press)

  • 27
    Leave a Reply

    Please Login to comment
    18 Comment threads
    9 Thread replies
    1 Followers
     
    Most reacted comment
    Hottest comment thread
    24 Comment authors
    spankerEj harbetJim jr.Gomezaddams51tomcat Recent comment authors
      Subscribe  
    Notify of
    Ej harbet
    Member
    Ej harbet

    Love aar to keep me informed in the political fight.god keep and protect alan gottlieb and mark walters.
    But never was much into racing anything but sail boats.

    Jim jr.
    Member
    Jim jr.

    I won’t be watching nascar on sunday’s and i won’t be going to dover for the sept. race.
    Even tho i live in De. I GUESS I WILL JUST HAVE TO GO TO THE RANGE !

    Gomezaddams51
    Member
    Gomezaddams51

    I quit following NASCAR when they stopped running actual stock cars and went to custom race cars that had nothing in common with any STOCK car. It used to be cool to think you could go down to the dealers and buy the same car that was on the track. Now the only thing you can buy is a fiberglass shell that kind of resembles something they call a Ford or Chevy. And what is this Toyota crap? Unfortunately my wife likes to watch so I either grit my teeth and watch it with her or go in my computer… Read more »

    tomcat
    Member
    tomcat

    Mark, good article. I had been a fan for many years but it is growing old on me. There again, too many regulations and not enough racing for the long stretch. The “boys” taking over the sport has had a very negative impact on it and that is what happens when the younger members of a family take over, in a lot of cases. They are trying to be “politically correct”.

    mlhtd51
    Member
    mlhtd51

    Lost Interest When Toyota {Japanese Rice Grinders} Were Introduced and Dodge Quit Sponsoring Cars. Did Not Re-New Season Tickets to Kansas Speedway. I Don’t Like the New Point System.

    Country Boy
    Member
    Country Boy

    This is what I figured was going to happen after NASCAR banned Confederate Battle Flags at their races. I predict it won’t be long there will soon be a LBGTQH sponsored NASCAR race car.

    NASCAR what the hell are you thinking ?

    .

    Bill
    Member
    Bill

    You really have to wonder if there is anyone, running anything anymore who has any balls these days. It’s like the people (gun owners/loyalists/patriots) who are loyal to these various causes/sports/markets etc aren’t good enough for them and they seem to have come to the conclusion that at the end of all of this we will be the losers in all of this. No? Then why do they abandon us and bend to the will of the enemey?

    Oldvet
    Member
    Oldvet

    So I believe it was Texas where the winner received 2 six guns as a trophy . What happens now , a case of depends ? I won’t be watching to see !

    ras52
    Member
    ras52

    Oldvet, 10 4 on that.

    MICHAEL J
    Member
    MICHAEL J

    Well there’s another one politically correct organization we can cross off the list.

    Will Flatt
    Member

    Once again we see “GET WOKE, GO BROKE” play out in realtime.

    I won’t be watching any more races. Ever.

    ras52
    Member
    ras52

    Will Flatt, 10 4 on that.

    Eric R
    Member
    Eric R

    Pure greed led to the implosion of NASCAR. They dumbed down the sport to the lowest common denominator and bowed to the almighty gods (money) of media, opening cookie cutter tracks in “non-traditional” cities while taking races from the heartland of the sport, proving they were willing to shed their redneck roots for that left coast attention and money. Well that chicken has come back to roost. No longer the darling of the media, empty seats tell the story. Now NASCAR is going to ride the anti-gun wave to try and salvage their audience. Well bucko, that post Days of… Read more »

    Terry
    Member
    Terry

    Excellent read and summary. Unfortunately for NASCAR present upper echelon I suspect with their feelings on guns they will never read the article.

    Therefore they are probably doomed to your summation

    Bill
    Member
    Bill

    Amen!

    24and7
    Member
    24and7

    When Neil Bonnett and Dale Earnhardt were killed, racing died along with it.. Long gone are the days of Cale Yarborough, Bill Elliot, Bobby Allison, and Richard Petty… Now only the richest teams win…The rules are set up to keep the superstars winning races… They need to take about 10 to 15 cars out of each race ( especially if they can’t even stay in the lead lap).. What are they going to do next? Green energy cars? ..Hybrid cars?.. They just keep pushing to the left…They’re forgetting the people that made them… Now that they are turning their backs… Read more »

    sailorgs
    Member
    sailorgs

    Hah, dude, Audi has been using hybrid diesels in its Le Mans cars since 2013, the R18 specifically (and winning, year after year). Toyota just smoked the compeition with its hybrid in the WEC this year. Its more efficient = less pits for fuel. Doesn’t have anything to do with politics, but you can keep telling yourself it does if it helps you sleep at night.

    spanker
    Member
    spanker

    This article is quite possibly the most non-sensical, dumbest piece of writing I have ever read. What is the point to your article? After reading it three times, I can’t find it. NASCAR is alienating fans how??? In what manner are they targeting skinny jean wearing, soy sipping, man-bun wearing men? So what if they are? Do you recommend NASCAR posting some manifesto banning skinny jeans? I thought only democrats espoused crucifixion for not thinking and acting in lock-step with their agenda. Your stereotyping is EXACTLY the problem with NASCAR. Is your point if you don’t love guns, don’t come???… Read more »

    Terry
    Member
    Terry

    “This article is quite possibly the most non-sensical, dumbest piece of writing I have ever read.”
    No – your comment is. NASCAR just banned firearm related advertising in any way, shape or form from their events. If you don’t get the point of the article you must be dumber than a box of rocks.

    spanker
    Member
    spanker

    To my dear friend Terry, my mechanical engineering degree belies your assertion I’m as dumb as a rock. For your benefit I will try again to make my point if you can handle independent thought and hold off your insults for a moment. As a Vietnam-era Air Force veteran and gun owner/CCW carry for 45 years, don’t come at me with your sanctimonious bullshit about what I should believe and my apparent lack of understanding. There is a document called the 1st amendment, which allows citizens, businesses and enterprises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. According to you and… Read more »

    nrringlee
    Member
    nrringlee

    Mussolini told us that the definition of fascism is the bonding of corporate and government power. He you see a clear example. You shall be made to care. You shall be made to bow down low to whatever your corporate and government masters tell you to worship.

    Thinker1
    Member
    Thinker1

    NASCAR is very boring since they stopped using stock cars. I tape some races and fast forward to see the wrecks. If they are now anti-gun, then they can forget about me.

    Rock
    Member
    Rock

    To change a brand, just slap new different manufacturer stickers on the ALL THE SAME, NASCAR “future car”… They are all the same and they ALL SUCK… Like ANY other sport that everyone/everything is FORCED to be EQUAL so nobody whines (as liberals mandate), it SUCKS and is boring as hell. Nascar died in the early 70’s.
    The same thing is happening with the NHRA…
    The politically correct liberal mind has ruined an AMERICAN ICON…..

    willyd
    Member
    willyd

    Rock; So true about the P C crowd, being in NASCAR, now the boys, if they don’t do what NASCAR says they get heavy fines or personnel get ejected from that race, they have moved from the cookie cutter tracks, to the cookie cutter cars, and are moving into the P C agenda of don’t say anything to offend anyone!!!!!!

    Superman
    Member
    Superman

    Yawn. Watching a NASCAR race is as boring as watching bowling or golf. Good riddance.

    Rock
    Member
    Rock

    Zackley… Since the early 70’s it has become my sleep aid… ZZZZZzzzzzz

    JIAZ
    Member
    JIAZ

    I only watch bowling when it’s Dude, Walter, and Donny.