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Can NASCAR Steer Itself Back Into Popularity?

Photo by Steve Helber

Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) and Juan Pablo Montoya (42) drive through turn four on a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va.

Audio

As the NASCAR season climaxes, America's prime motor sport continues to see its popularity in decline. For several years now, revenues and sponsorship have plummeted, leaving an audience that increasingly resembles the stereotype NASCAR so desperately thought it could grow beyond: older white Dixie working class.

Both ESPN and the Turner Broadcasting Co., longtime NASCAR networks, took a look at the down graphs and the down-scale demographics and didn't even bother to bid on the new TV contract.

Economics, of course, are part of the problem. Not as many folks can gas up the big old RV and head off to a long weekend at a track a ways away.

But there may be a couple other more fundamental problems NASCAR should face up to.

Click on the audio link above to hear Deford's take on this issue.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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