Thursday, January 11, 2007

NASCAR and the Computer Age

Lately, there is much gnashing of teeth and beating of chest over how NASCAR has changed, and how it is no longer treating its fans well. The internet is filled with opinions that ranged from “NASCAR is doing it right” to “NASCAR has lost me forever!” with all shades of opinion in between.

One conversation on Sirius Speedway brought it to light. A caller was saying that when Mark Martin was winning in the Busch series a few years ago, no one complained. Moody and Bagley responded there was indeed complaining, but Bagley pointed out that when it was happening, there was no internet to blast out the opinions. In fact, they pointed out that Sirius has 12 hours of new programming each day, and then we have MySpace, Blogs, Message Board, and every newspaper has an internet presence.

It makes one wonder... Was NASCAR prepared for the computer age?

One could speculate that today’s NASCAR fan is more knowledgeable and informed than most previous generations. We currently use the computer to read the news, track the results and statistics, watch live scoring, and to check in on the life and times of our favorite drivers. In fact, many fans can now set up virtual cars and race in virtual racing leagues. NASCAR fans can now join online communities that devote time and energy to the lives and doings and racing of drivers, team owners and even select members of the teams. The latest news is available via a variety of news sites, drivers' websites, fan sites and blogs.

I often speculate that NASCAR uses the internet to float trial balloons of new ideas. There are many articles that start with 'sources at NASCAR say that....' with whatever the new idea will be. Then the 'net comes alive with a variety of opinions. I can almost visualize the room of computers with folks manning the search engines to find the latest opinions and rush their reports to Brian France and Mike Helton.

There is a downside to the information availability. There is nothing private in the internet age. Quite often what appears to be good information can be researched and examined until flaws are found. The apparant charity efforts of a group of fans (see One Lugnut Short and Random Musings)has brought out the research capabilities of two former fans of a Southern Gentleman driver. While it may seem there is an attack of the charity efforts, in reality it is exposing some holes in the thinking of the group. My understanding is that the group is now taking steps to register with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Good for them, and good for the researchers.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Rest in Peace, Bobby Hamilton!

My condolences to the Hamilton family.

Bobby will be sorely missed.