Woody: Too Much Of A Good Thing?
By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
Back on my grandfather’s farm there was this crazy old goat (no, I don’t mean my grandpa) who broke into the feed bin one night and literally ate himself sick.
I won’t go into the graphic details but let’s just say if you’ve ever seen a sick goat the vision sticks with you.
My grandpa said the goat had become “foundered” by gorging itself with too many goodies.
The parable of the sick goat came to mind the other day when I read Felix Sabates’ theory about what’s wrong with NASCAR. He thinks fans have become foundered on racing.
“Too many of everything,” Felix opined, referring to everything from the large number of races to the countless hours of racing shows on TV.
He may have a point.
When I began following racing back in the Jurassic Era, each race was special, an event into itself. We didn’t get to watch races on TV because none were televised. That meant you had to travel to a track and watch the action live – a special, big-deal treat.
Aside from that, if you wanted to follow racing you’d sit out on the back porch and try to pick up a distant broadcast through the crackling radio static.
Now all 36 Sprint Cup races are televised, along with the Bud Shootout and the Sprint All-Star race. So are all 34 Nationwide races. So are all 24 Camping World Truck races. So is most every practice session and qualifying lap.
Then there are the incessant pre-race shows, the post-race interviews, the post post-race wrap-ups from the booth. Atop it all comes the slew of racing shows that are on some channel almost every night of the week.
It used to be hard to find a race; now it’s hard to get away from one.
I realize that there’s a simple solution if someone thinks there’s too much of something on TV, be it NASCAR or Jerry Springer: don’t watch it.
But TV is a persistent temptress and like most fans I watch most of the races. Then, like most fans, I gripe about how predictable racing has become. Of COURSE it’s predictable when we watch endless laps of racing week after week. There’s only so many ways that a car can drive around a track.
Like most problems facing the sport, over-saturation is not easy to fix.
Sabates suggested cutting some races from the schedule, thereby making the remaining ones more exclusive and special. But most tracks are already having a hard time and it would be brutal to take away one of their races.
Same goes for taking some races off TV. Reducing telecasts would mean reducing revenue that trickles down to already financially-strapped teams.
I suppose it comes down to this: if fans are becoming as foundered on racing as Sabates says, it’s up to each individual to decide when he or she has had enough. If they keep gorging themselves they’re liable to end up as sick as my grandpa’s goat. Trust me, nobody wants that.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments