Don’t call me Nostradamus.
I don’t claim to be able to predict the future—but it seems like a perfect time, on the eve of the Daytona 500, to give my 2018 NASCAR predictions. Since I don’t understand downforce, aero push, or shock rebound, I am going to keep these predictions focused on the business of NASCAR and stay away from the on-track competition.
Like all sports with an aging fan base, it’s more important than ever to recruit new fans—including that highly-elusive Millennial. NASCAR has struggled with recruiting this demo and I don’t see that struggle changing in 2018. Athletes like Ryan Blaney and Daryl Wallace are key to connecting with this targeted fan base; they grew up within the vlogger generation and understand how to connect in an authentic way. If I was part of Wallace’s management team I would convince him to create a daily vlog that captures the ups and downs that are sure to come during his rookie season operating at the pinnacle of Motorsports in the US. In the next 12 months, a NASCAR athlete is going to figure out how to tell their story on YouTube and make enough money through influencer marketing sponsorships that any team funding gaps will be filled through this new way of providing value to their sponsors.
PSST – If you are an athlete that thinks like I do, give me a call as I want to be part of the journey…
NASCAR has been aggressively working towards becoming more diverse and has made significant strides in making the sport more representative of our country’s population. There is still a lot of work to be done in this area, but a gap that is once again present is focused on the need for a woman driver to succeed at the highest level. I was never a Danica Patrick fan because she didn’t perform on the track or possess a personality that connected with fans and brands off the track. Now that Danica has decided to retire, we are trying to fill the void that she left. If a woman athlete comes along with enough talent and charisma, she is sure to be the new posterchild for NASCAR. Knowing that this is a gap that must be filled, I have been keeping an eye on Haley Degan (daughter of Metal Malisia superstar Brian Degan). She is a Monster Energy athlete that is currently running in the K&N West series for Bill McAnally. Bill is a family friend and the Rick Hendrick of west coast stock-car racing. He is sure to put her in equipment capable of winning every week and surround her with quality people that can take her to the top.
Selfishly, I am highly interested in the $200-million facelift that ISM Raceway (formerly Phoenix International Raceway) is undergoing. As a kid, PIR was a home away from home for me; I wound join my dad there three times a year and watch NASCAR stars like Kenny Schrader, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Rusty Wallace battle it out. I have recently adopted significant responsibilities as the ISM project manager responsible for ensuring that our sponsorship of ISM Raceway was a wise decision. We will be using the raceway to host key customers, beta test cutting-edge technology, and introduce new partners to the sport of NASCAR. As you might imagine, this project has special significance to me as it feels like it was just yesterday that my pop and I were driving down highway 17 headed to the Copper World Classic.
I don’t know about you, but I am a cord cutter who hasn’t had traditional television service for over three years. This trend is becoming more common and I am anxious to see how NASCAR is going to service fans like myself that won’t ever sit and watch another three-hour-long race again in their lives. I believe that 2018 is the year that NASCAR will address this growing demand and create 30-minute countdowns that are made for the YouTube generation. I would love to watch a series that wasn’t just clips of the broadcast, but a product made for social interaction with highlights from the race that will educate and entertain our newer fan base.
I am bullish on the sport of NASCAR and excited to see what 2018 has in store. If you are like myself and excited to talk about the positive things going on, please reach out via Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or your favorite social media channel, as I love hearing from this community and celebrating the sport that has given me so much.
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