Stephen Cox blogs about the survival of the Super Cup Stock Car Series.
By all means, please go to the Super Cup Stock Car Series race at CNB Bank Raceway on May 2nd in Clearfield, PA. It will be a truly great short track event and it won't cost you a dime. They'll even let you bring in your own food and drinks. It is a racing enthusiast's dream
in every possible sense.
But the bigger picture is more serious. Why are Super Cup and CNB Raceway inclined to do this? Because oval tracks big and small are closing at a record pace all across America. Virginia's Old Dominion Speedway, a short track landmark since 1948, recently closed. This time next year, the once mighty Texas World Speedway will be a housing development. California's Irwindale Speedway is slated to become a shopping mall. Texas Thunder Speedway, Green Valley Speedway and Baer Field Speedway are among many other recent casualties.
Fans in the stands are aging. The demographic gap in the grandstands is amazing and discernible to even the most casual observer. Young people are not routinely going to auto races on weekends any more.
Why not? Because kids aren't interested in automobiles, at least nowhere near the extent we were back in the 1970s and 1980s. Our generation looked at automobiles as an expression of freedom. We drag raced on back roads at night. We slid our cars around on dirt roads all summer. We spent our weeknights cruising the strip and we spent our weekends at racetracks. That's how I grew up. That was my life. And I was not the exception.
Let's face it. The 70-year love affair between American youth and the automobile is being legislated into oblivion. It's just not worth the hassle, expense and risk anymore, especially when cell phones and computer tablets offer entertainment for a fraction of the cost but with no regulation.
There is a direct and indisputable line that connects rampant legislation and over-regulation of the automobile with the widespread dearth of interest in motorsports among young people. Kids who don't care about cars will never care about racing them, let alone watching anyone else race them. Racing survives on interest in the automobile, and right now that interest is waning.
Now go to a racetrack this weekend and look for young fans. You'll be able to count them on one hand. And now you know why.
Stephen Cox is a racer and co-host of TV coverage of Mecum Auctions (NBCSN), sponsored by: http://boschett-timepieces.com/ http://www.mcgunegillengines.com/