Putting the Fans First -- by John R. Andres/SMM Editor-in-Chief 
Sunday, January 24, 2010, 02:42 AM
Posted by Administrator
The winds of change have finally reached the place they should have a long time ago. For years, this writer has been hoping that the low pressure weather patterns would have relented and allowed clear skies and clear minds to prevail but now that they have finally arrived, who’s going to complain?

NASCAR announced this week at the Sprint Cup Series Media Tour in Charlotte that they have embarked upon a new way of looking and doing things, one that takes into account the suggestions the fans have been screaming for - better competition, racing rule changes, greater driver accessibility, and a willingness on behalf of the powers that be to listen to the people who spend their hard earned dollars to walk through the turnstiles across the country each and every weekend.

It would be easy to speculate why NASCAR has decided to make these changes now but what matters most is that the individuals who make this sport what it is finally have a voice that is being listened to.

I remember having a conversation with a track official two years ago, asking why NASCAR couldn’t adopt a mindset like the NHRA (see SMM editorial “A Weekend of Observations” in the “Antron Brown Sweeps the West” article), an organization that learned long ago the importance of spectator input and involvement. He looked at me like I had alligators coming out of my ears, citing security concerns and this and that. I tried to make my point with him in spite of the rebuffs but it was clear that my idea was heresy at the very least.

It will be interesting to see if this new found openness is a one-time shot or a trend. NASCAR and its fans have a rare opportunity to work collectively to improve the welfare and the grass roots relevance of stock car racing. It will be up to them to determine whether it will once again become a sport by and for the people.

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