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Daytona 500 – Breaking Away from the Clutter on NASCAR’s Big Day

AJ Maestas's picture

Now that “The Great American Race” is complete and NASCAR season is underway, it’s interesting to observe how the league is continuing to be proactive about remaining popular throughout the year, even with its marquee event at the beginning of the season. These efforts, of course, are crucial not only to NASCAR, but also to the numerous sponsors who bank on getting exposure from now through November.

In terms of reaching fans on site, NASCAR has seen its attendance drop in recent years, but the average race still brings nearly 100,000 people to the track. To make that experience both better and more financially feasible, new offerings of race packages have become a hot commodity, creating a personal experience for fans, who also then have the opportunity to interact with activation from sponsors.

NASCAR also maintains and promotes a number of A-list stars: Dale Earnhart, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart are stalwarts, and of course Danica Patrick just made history as the first woman to win pole position for the Daytona 500, let alone any Sprint Cup race. Each of these drivers – and all Sprint Cup drivers and crew chiefs, for that matter – are excellently trained at crediting their sponsors in interviews and keeping their sponsor-covered gear on whenever the cameras are rolling.

In order to attract more viewers and generate additional exposure on race days, new broadcast features will be included in this year’s NASCAR season. More cameras inside of the car will be installed and side-by-side camera panels will allow viewers not only to see the g-force drivers are subject to, but to “feel” them too. The actual car companies should also get a boost with the introduction of the new Gen-6 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car.

NASCAR’s goal with the new Gen-6 program is to re-establish a brand identity among the automotive manufacturers, including Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. The car was relieved of 160 lbs., making it lighter and subject to more downforce. As two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip said in an interview with Fox Business, “the drivers will be able to race each other harder” in pack racing, providing more excitement for the fans.

NASCAR also reached fans even before the season’s first race with its 10-day, nine-city tour that spanned nearly 3,300 miles and showcased the Gen-6 car to the public in early February. The series created excitement for the 2013 season and allowed attendees to personally interact with the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, the No. 15 Five-Hour Energy Toyota and the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet.

It remains to be seen how much these efforts improve attendance, TV ratings and ultimately impression numbers for NASCAR sponsors. But it will certainly be interesting to follow.

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