Sample research paper on effects of NASCAR on popular culture

NASCAR - History

National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing or ‘NASCAR’ was founded in 1948 to promote and organize racing on tracks. Different racetracks existed at that time across the Southeast. Every racetrack had its own rules and regulations. As such the racing sports was, in fact, misdirected, through steadfast vision of William France, the much required direction as well as professionalism as a sport was delivered, considered purely as a hobby.

Upon the retirement of William France, his sons Bill Jr. and Jim proceeded to assume the control of company. It was Bill Jr. whose vision set the highest standards by which all types of motorsports are adequately measured. Nowadays, millions of NASCAR fans come to watch racing events throughout the United States. NASCAR racing is claimed to be the most severe heart pounding, innovative and exciting type of motorsports entertainment across the nation.

After Second World War, the requests made for new and modern cars in the United States witnessed a substantial rise, specifically due to the return of soldiers. The automobile industry basically producing weapons for five years of war applied their designs swiftly to the new cars. Resultantly, a new lot of robust and powerful cars arrived at the market which was especially enjoyed by the young generation at that time. (NASCAR.COM)

The American West was particularly impassioned and emotional for the ‘sports’ cars, whereas the South east made the choice of stock cars. Many of them were altered to perform the illegal traffic of alcohol and used them in races. The obsession for car racing was instantly captured by the promoters who made it their ‘official’ sport, creating different organizations, everyone of them with its own rules. This phenomenon unfortunately prevented car racing from reaching the heights of national level. Moreover, there was no specific guarantee of payment for the pilots.

Bill France, on December 14, 1947, decided to meet with thirty five chosen leaders of different associations in place for the purpose of drawing the specific lines of what was to become the national automobile sport of America. The group worked together for four days to formulate the rules and regulations, including the choice of name as NASCAR. The Association was officially established on February 21, 1948. (Johnson, 2007)

Rise in the Popularity of Sport

The car racing sport was gaining extreme popularity in 1947, captivating, charming and attracting huge crowds of spectators. Many drivers started taking more interest because of the augmented fan popularity. However, cohesiveness did not exist as almost all rules differed significantly from one racetrack to another. Several tracks were constructed to exhibit one huge show at the event of country fair, or other similar event, for capitalizing on the increasing volume of huge fans. However, other tacks were constructed for the purpose of handling cars ignoring crowds. Only few tracks were capable of accommodating both cars and fans, but did not adhere to such rules which govern the entire neighboring tracks. (Ambrose, 2007)

Only few people had faith in the newly formed NASCAR at a meeting of group comprising leaders of associations and organized by Bill France Sr., the focus of meeting was matters concerning the stock car racing future. Despite the lack of faith by many people, France firmly believed that formation of a body was the need of the day. Two months later, the inaugural race, duly sanctioned by NASCAR, was held. The venue was the Beach Course of Daytona. The first Nextel Cup or NASCAR Grand National event was held at the fairgrounds of North Carolina. A huge crowd watched this historic race won by Jim Roper of Kansas.

The new series proved to be an instant success and witnessed a swift rise in popularity. Plans were made to attract huge crowds, faster races and increase drivers. The first decade following the establishment of NASCAR is an example of tremendous heights of popularity and growth. Drivers were adored as heroes and skeptics became fans of race. The superspeedways were opened in 1960, just outside Georgia, Atlanta and North Carolina. ABC televised a race in 1961 from Daytona. In the later years, Bill France Sr. passed the torch to his sons, and corporate sponsorship commenced to arise as NASCAR ultimately became the leader in international motorsports attendance. By the year 1989, each race held on the schedule of NASCAR was broadcast.

Since the establishment of NASCAR, there were significant new additions to include Busch Grand National and NASCAR Craftsman Truck series. (Johnson, 2008) With the extreme rise in popularity, NASCAR fans have demanded extra opportunities for the purpose of enjoying their beloved and favorite sport. NASCAR acknowledged their demands and decided to build NASCAR Café, integrating racing with dining for an exclusive experience especially for NASCAR fans. The organization also constructed NASCAR Thunder. It is, in fact, a chain of souvenir and apparel stores backed by an official license. Presently, after sixty years, the popularity of sport is on a continuous rise and a large number of fans especially travel across the nation to watch their beloved driver pursue the checkered flag- a NASCAR Championship. (Johnson, 2007)

Impact of NASCAR on Culture

NASCAR is said to be an American version of the famous Formula 1 and the second highest rated TV sport. At any time during a Daytona 500 or NASCAR Nextel race, there are almost one hundred and eighty thousand people filling the stadium to its capacity for the purpose of watching the event. More than eighty million people watch the race on TV. It means that the higher standards set by the game, huge crowds at the stadium and millions of fans at home are influenced by the culture of game incorporating the impact in their personal lives. The cultural change brought by NASCAR is immense and noteworthy. It could be noticed in almost every sphere of life including; soft drink, food, communication, beer and even auto companies. Almost all companies are associated and affiliated with NASCAR. The answer is simple- NASCAR is now American culture. (Hall, 2006)

The huge influence of the sport can be witnessed in the routine daily life. At almost every car on the street, on the highway, on the road and in parking lots, according to a study, out of every fifteen cars, there are at least three cars having NASCAR advertisement in one way or another. It could be just the word NASCAR or any particular number of their favorite car driver. Moreover, the NASCAR design or logo can be found at baseball hats, warm-up outfit, pants, t-shirts, jackets, bar items, flags, automotive products, bathroom and holiday items, jewelry and much more. Driver and team specified items with the driver or car number, driver or crew name or the owner of car could also be found in any item related to personal and individual life. NASCAR has become an integral part of people’s personalities and lifestyle- fundamental ingredients of a culture. The rise of popularity and the impact of culture are not restricted to men only. The sport is equally popular in women also and the number is continuously on rise every year. Innovation in the auto industry has made car racing a memorable and better experience. (Magnapop, 2008)

Television Channels and Increase in Relationships

The increasing popularity of NASCAR as a fastest developing sport in United States can be credited to the contact of organization with TNT, Fox, ESPN, ESPN 2 and Speed. Huge fans, not able to watch the sport in stadium enjoy it at home. Although, the impact of watching the sport at home is not comparable with actual sport at the track but due to the technological advancements made in the television provides experience and feeling of being at track. The popular redneck sport, in fact, has expanded directly into the sphere of while collar. (Magnapop, 2008)

Contributing significantly to the fame of NASCAR are the worthy relationships among the race teams, sponsors and fans. People adore the sport, driver and car. They love everything associated with the race. They attempt to exhibit their associations and loyalty in different ways, for instance buying souvenir trailers of their favorite drivers. Fans thrive on different free stuffs passed out by the organizations, particularly the one which is sponsored by their favorite driver.

Currently the economy is in a slump, but the loyalty and support is positively exploited by NASCAR through searching different ways in which the fans could be reached. In order to help the deserving fans, different promotional programs are launched by the organization such as issuing special tickets to support a person in paying rent or mortgage for the rest of the year or payment of gas cards ranging from ten to five hundred dollars.

The Car Culture

The car culture expresses in exclusive way as dragstrips and ‘funny cars’ originated in the region of South California. The popularity of ‘low riders’ is found in Latinos, while monster trucks are famous in the Midwest. The Indy style racing is held at different locations such as Florida, Michigan and Indianapolis. NASCAR has similar impact on American culture as is the case with baseball, or it could be a replacement. Everyone is able to recognize a ‘stock’ car because they possess one.

The phenomenon of NASCAR becoming a part of culture is due to its enjoying high popularity entirely unprecedented in the motor sports history. The television viewership share is continuously increasing as compared with every last year. The sport is successful in generating huge interest throughout the decade of 1990. Moreover, in additions of many Fortune 500 firms, it has attracted attention of retailers such as The Home Depot, Kmart and Lowe’s vehicle sponsors. The orange No.20 car is regularly featured by Home Depot in television commercials which show Tony Stewart, the driver, circling a track and on the back is lumber. (Sports, 2005)

The latest enormous surge in popularity is primarily attributable to NASCAR contract with Fox sports. Different races are being broadcasted on Fox. Resultantly, fans are now in a position to develop consistent and steady patterns of viewership in the similar manner millions of Americans are habituated of watching football on the afternoons of Sunday. As the races are broadcast by just one network, there has been more promotion of races in advance. The announcers chat regularly about upcoming races and the places at which different events will take place. A pre-race coverage as well as increased coverage regarding race results is regularly made on cable shows and network sports news.

The racing season is comparatively longer than other sports such as baseball, football and basketball; therefore, it offers greater exposure along with the capability to cross-promote at the level of retail. Although, NASCAR continue to face some criticism due to the occasionally death of its drivers and the name of championship is related to the brand of Winston cigarette, but it is successful in managing and maintaining a family-oriented image as compared with different professional sports leagues. (Ambrose, 2007)

A lot of other types of criticism have also been faced by NASCAR over the last few years. However, the nature and volume of criticism can also be attributed to the popularity of NASCAR. There are technical reasons for the criticism as well as the environmental impact created by NASCAR. One reason for criticizing is the oval shape in the racing circuits of NASCAR. The difficulty of such race courses have severely been criticized by the driving enthusiasts when a comparison is made with the most difficult turning and twisting race of Formula 1. NASCAR, however, has denied such allegations and defended by asserting that specific race series also exist in which different road courses are also included, but they form a small percentage of race.

The Increase in Fan Base

The continuous growth in the popularity of NASCR and the addition in its fan base have an overall impact on the operations providing extra value to its shareholders. Not only the increase in fan base generates free-cash-flow but provide shareholders with much higher returns. It is a wide belief that NASCAR has, in fact, been the top growing sport in the final decade of the twentieth century. A significant increase in the new fan base of NASCAR is the growth of women admirers. In United States, there is a robust gender-based stereotype. Although a segment of people believe that racing is a sport specifically related to men, but the fact is that women could make better and efficient drivers, on an average, than men. The game is now equally popular in men as well as women or the number of fans is equal in both genders.

Although the current economic turndown in the United States has compelled different firms to scrutinize their overall spending and exercise a strict check on the cash flows. The ever-increasing popularity of NASCAR and the increase in the fan base not only generate extra cash flows but provide certain positive outcomes for the firm such as enhancement of brand image and increase in brand awareness. (Ambrose, 2007)

A number of events suggest that the continuous new fan base, increase of sports popularity in women as well as using advanced and sophisticated technology in T.V have a direct and positive impact on brand loyalty of NASCAR. The number of television viewers is more in NASCAR as compared with other sports with the exception of football. Summarily, it could be said that NASCAR is popular due to ‘fans’ popularity, ‘cars’ familiarity and ‘sophisticated advanced technology’ in T.V

References

Ambrose, Kristi (2007) History About the Start of NASCAR. Retrieved October 27, 2008 from

http://ezinearticles.com/?History-About-the-Start-of-Nascar&id=1583786

Ambrose, Kristi (2007) NASCAR Brand Management and Sponsorship. Retrieved October 27, 2008

from http://ezinearticles.com/?Nascar-Brand-Management-and-Sponsorship&id=1583769

Johnson, B (2007) NASCAR: The Rise of A Racing Empire. Ezine Articles. Retrieved October 27,

2008 from http://ezinearticles.com/?NASCAR:-The-Rise-Of-A-Racing-Empire&id=80915

Hall, Chad. (2006) Leader’s Insight: NASCAR and the Emerging Culture. Leadership Journal

Magnapop. (2008) NASCAR 2009. ADTECH. Retrieved October 27, 2008 from

http://www.wonderwallweb.com/article-400-NASCAR-2009.html

NASCAR.COM . Retrieved October 27, 2008 from www.nascar.com/ -

Sports. (2005) One Bright Shining Star. Americana Popular culture. Com Retrieved October 27,

2008 from http://www.americanpopularculture.com/archive/sports/nascar.htm


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