There is a clear theme by the racing teams. They want to win. No doubt, the definition of success. But like all sports, its people making a living, perhaps most a dream of doing something they love. The 2016 Media Tour took place at NASCAR Hall of Fame, in Charlotte, NC, January 19-21, 2016. A means for building excitement to the upcoming season, and prelude to new Hall of Fame inductees.
During the off-season, drivers and crews may change teams, retire, receive new contracts, or not; necessitating new relationships and understandings. Conceptually, the team goals come first; the assumed prerequisite to triumph. Nonetheless, individual confidence and proper equipment are critical elements. So is staying healthy. Yet, everyone knows, employment, sponsorships, fan support, grows exponentially with victories.
The racing teams recognize existence is very much linked to continued popularity of the sport, and expanding fan base. Because in part it helps attract and retain needed sponsorships. Coincidentally, technology likewise a key constant in the equation, covering speed, performance, communication, safety. In these aspects of innovation, teams do share and cooperate, for a betterment of their industry. And just like other sports, some end up in the consumer marketplace.
For owners, a solid sponsorship base assures funding for competing in ‘The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.’ The equivalent to process deciding Superbowl, NBA, NCAA Champions. And as noted by one owner, sponsorships involve a challenging balance between contractual partnerships vs. ownership autonomy. Additionally embedded with pressure to continually secure checkered flags.
Thus, the media tour is about a learning and marketing of NASCAR’s direction; meeting those who shaped the racing we know today; and will tomorrow. This gives opportunity to observe participants, feeling their energy, concerns, enthusiasm, caution. The experience perhaps reflect assessment by teams of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, inclusive of viewing the industry as a whole.
The proof is partly revealed by new drivers, sponsorships, car modifications, rule changes, pricing packages for fans. Such decisions solidify certain fundamentals of racing will always be true. Yet, also, a reminder the industry does not operate in a vacuum, and must stay vigilant to changes in society.
Speaking of racing history, NASCAR’s 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees are: O. Bruton Smith, Terry Labonte, Jerry Cook, Bobby Isaac, and Curtis Turner. Their collective involvement easily exceeds 180 years. The four drivers, Labonte, Cook, Isaac, and Turner, were all named, in 1998, among NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. For Smith, he has spent his adult life in racing promotion and race track ownership, spanning close to 70 years and whose wealth is more than a billion dollars. The ceremony took place on January 22, 2016.
Not to be forgotten are the fans. And slated was a Fan Appreciation Day that included free admission to the Hall of Fame. However, that was somewhat altered by mother nature’s snow storms. But like all sports, you find a way to adopt and overcome. And so they did. Accordingly, the 2016 NASCAR season is now beginning. The objective is simple, just win.
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