NASCAR Needs to Rev Up
Sport cuts costs to keep fans at the races
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2009 4:18 PM CST
Martin Truex Jr, front, spins as David Ragan, center, and Scott Riggs, back, try to drive past during the NASCAR Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying auto races in Daytona Beach, Fla., Friday, Feb. 13, 2009.   (AP Photo/Jim Topper)
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(Newser) – The US auto industry is teetering on the brink of destruction—and NASCAR isn't too far behind it. The Daytona 500, NASCAR’s Super Bowl, takes place Sunday, but business is stalling, leaving the costly sport looking for a lift, Sean Gregory and Steve Goldberg write in Time. “We need to get back a little beating and banging, a little nudging,” one racetrack exec says. “We need some of the numbers rubbed off the door.”

The sport’s recent growth drove up expenses, which execs are now trimming. Key sponsors are slashing jobs and lavish endorsements. Ticket prices are plummeting, and insiders say the fan-friendly sport needs to get even chummier with spectators to bring the buzz back. Says one: “Just because we did it a certain way for 5 years, doesn't mean we have to keep it up. Let’s turn it upside down.”