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Performance & Hotrod Business May '14

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Big changes at the high- est levels are designed to drive interest throughout the sport. 28 n Performance & Hotrod Business n May 2014 Better racing on the track is always a good way to get more people paying atten- tion to NASCAR. (Photo courtesy Borla Exhaust) N ASCAR's recent big changes to its prime product show how any busi- ness needs to stay active to stay alive. Not that NASCAR is going away anytime soon, but its recent tweaks show how changes are often the result of other changes. The key is good market research and timely as well as innovative actions. The drop in NASCAR's popularity is well documented. But what many don't know is that it is the tip of the iceberg. Since the peak in the early 2000s, that was coincidently the time of Dale Earnhardt's death, the popularity of NASCAR has declined. In three critical areas, the handwriting was on the wall. The most obvious, putting fans in the stands, was evident on TV broadcasts showing large numbers of empty seats at many Sprint Cup and Nationwide races on an all-too-regular basis. The next area, though not as easy to see as an empty seat, was TV viewing numbers. This area was also down. The last area to gauge the life of NASCAR was in the actual number of cars competing at all levels. It, too, was down. Many think the fan popularity, which had shown steady growth since the begin- ning of its "Modern Era" in the early 1970s with the advent of corporate spon- sorship a la Winston, dropped off after the Battles Back By John Carollo PERFORMANCE PHBMAY.indd 28 4/2/14 11:38 AM

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