Before we get started, there are a few exciting NASCAR topics lined up for Patch. The next few weeks will be busy for this column! We'll be interviewing three NASCAR correspondents.
Next week, we'll be chatting with John Kernan. You may remember him from RMP2night on ESPN2 (back in the day). He's still following the sport, so we'll get his take on all things NASCAR related.
The following week: we'll get ESPN's host of NASCAR NOW Mike Massaro to weigh in on the sport itself. He'll talk about being a NASCAR fan in the Northeast, and the NASCAR TV ratings.
In late April, we'll have an audio chat with the men responsible for NASCAR's highest rated podcast – Rowdy.com. What's it like to work for Rowdy? Since they're "regular fans" we'll find out who the best drivers really are. Whose the nicest? Whose the worst to interview? They'll tell us!
If you have any questions at all, please leave me a comment or drop me an email. I'll be glad to ask the questions!
In the meantime, I'm off to spend my day working at a country radio station. It got me thinking about the "redneck persona" that is associated with NASCAR. Is it really worthy of a redneck image? Are we all really hill billies?
Let's start by looking at some numbers.
NASCAR's fan base is estimated to consume about 75 million people.
- 20 percent of the fan base lives in the Northeast.
- 24 percent of the fan base lives in the Midwest.
- 19 percent of the fan base lives in the West.
As for their education:
- 88 percent of fans have a high school degree.
- 38 percent of fans have a college degree.
And for the idea that we're all broke? Tickets to a NASCAR race are far too expensive to be a poor fan!
- 42 percent of NASCAR fans earned more than $50,000 in 2003. That was 8 points higher than the average income.
And NASCAR fans are not just men!
- 39 percent of the fan base is made up of women.
Trust me. NASCAR is not about being a redneck. Yes, it has its southern roots. Yes, it has a honky tonk family feel. But the people who make up this sport are a diverse bunch. They're dedicated fans, and they're willing to spend a lot of money on their sport. The average fan spends 9 hours watching and learning about the sport in a week. That's a lot of time to dedicate to a hobby.
The NASCAR community blows my mind. They really are one of a kind. I encourage you to check it out, if you haven't. This is the season to join the sport! I mentioned last week that the fan base could grow with the NFL lockout, and why not? Give it a chance. The competition is at at all time high. After all, there are 43 competitiors on the track every weekend!
Heck, while you're at it, check out country music. I guess I shouldn't push my luck, but I will say that I despised country music until I got this job. Now it's my favorite genre. The performers are the most gracious bunch.
MY RACING PREDICTION THIS WEEKEND:
The Sprint cup Series in Texas! The race is under the lights, and it's bound to be exciting. Everything is bigger in Texas, after all. The first 18 Cup races at this track produced 15 different winners.
I have to vote for Denny Hamlin this week. Last year he managed to tame Texas, as he won BOTH races! You cannot bet against that. He needs to get his season in order, anyway.
I wouldn't bet against Kurt Busch either.
Stay tuned for the victory lane pictures tonight. They always have the winner wear a cowboy hat and hold fake guns – talk about a stereotype!
Catch the action at tonight at 7 pm on FOX.
In the meantime, let me know what your thoughts are – let me know if you have any questions for our upcoming guests.