NASCAR Should Show off Its Tech if It Wants to Attract New Fans

Motorsport is undergoing something of a renaissance and if NASCAR wants to capitalize on that it needs to open up to the world.

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A photo of the number 9 Nascar racer driven by Chase Elliott.
There’s a lot to love about NASCAR, but not a lot of people know that.
Photo: Sean Gardner (Getty Images)

It’s quite a time to be a motorsport fan right now. Formula 1 is booming in popularity like never before, IndyCar is attracting a host of talented drivers to the series, and Formula E is plowing ahead with its fastest electric racer ever. It genuinely feels like motorsport is going through something of a renaissance.

This is bringing new fans to motorsport in droves. But with so many series fighting for the attention of so many new fans, what can championships do to draw people into the fold?

In a series like Formula 1, there’s a never-ending rabbit hole of content fans can dive into as they immerse themselves in a new season. The endless online coverage gives fans access to every facet of the sport, and shows like Drive to Survive offer a glimpse behind the curtain that isn’t found in other series.

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A photo of Nascar driver Chase Elliott sitting on the window of his car.
Chase Elliott on the lookout for new fans.
Photo: Jared C. Tilton (Getty Images)

Now, as we approach the series opener of the NASCAR Cup Series in Daytona, 2020 champion Chase Elliott thinks his sport should be following Formula 1’s example if it wants to increase the number of eyes it reaches over a race weekend.

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“As far as what NASCAR can do to capitalize on the momentum that’s going on, it’s about telling more of the story of what goes on behind the scenes,” says Elliott.

“There is a lot of technology that goes on in NASCAR, you might not think it. But, there is a lot of the same processes and things that people learned on Drive to Survive that we use too.”

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This means giving fans more access to the teams, crews and drivers to let personalities shine and show off the incredible tech that goes into running a NASCAR race.

A photo of four Nascar racers driving round an oval track.
More people want to know how this works.
Photo: Sean Gardner (Getty Images)
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Elliott says fans should be able to “dive into” the “aerodynamics and physics” that make a next-gen NASCAR run. And I agree that doing so could only be a good thing for a sport that can feel alien to people outside the confines of America.

“You’ve got to have more than that surface level interaction,” he explains.

“I think the more that you can tell that story, the more there is to learn. And the more there is to learn, then if somebody is interested in that they’re going to take it upon themselves to go and figure that out. We’d love to tell them more of that story.”

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A photo of Nascar driver Chase Elliott in his racing overalls.
Chase Elliott manifesting his next race win.
Photo: Jared C. Tilton (Getty Images)

Obviously once NASCAR has won all its new fans by opening up, there remains one other big factor that affects its place on the global stage: every race takes place in North America.

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But while Elliott might have hopes that a race overseas could “potentially happen down the road,” the sport’s eyes remain firmly fixed on its American fanbase. For now.