It's the longest season of any professional sport.
Yet when the last tire is changed and the last fuel stop is made at Homestead, fans can't seem to get enough. We actually continue to tune in to the awards banquet, even if it is painful to watch. So why do most media outlets cease coverage in the off season? And more importantly; where can the NASCAR fan go, year round for a NASCAR fix in the dead of winter?
ON PIT ROW--of course.
Many readers of "Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie" know that this blog is an extension of our radio show that is syndicated in the Midwest and heard on www.racetalkradio.com on Thursday evenings. We made a commitment in the off season of 2006-2007 to keep the show on throughout the off season. We felt the race fan was hungrier for racing talk in the off season than they are during the heart of the season.
We have never been lost for topics to discuss during NASCAR's dormant period. Just take a look at the legal wrangling that North and South Carolina is engaged in with Bruton Smith and his threat to move Lowes Motor Speedway. Charlotte area politicians are tripping over themselves to offer Smith tax incentives in return for a promise to keep the speedway open and to add improvements. Also included are infrastructure improvements around the racetrack to be funded by an increase in the local sales tax.
For three weekends a year race fan imports will help pay for these improvements as they spend money in and around Charlotte. But that leaves forty-nine more weeks where the residents of Cabarrus County in North Carolina will be paying for these improvements and guarantees.
Smith agreed Wednesday to invest $100 million to $200 million in renovations and upgrades at the 47-year-old speedway. In return for the billionaire not building another speedway elsewhere in the Charlotte region, officials with Concord, Cabarrus County and the state of North Carolina agreed to provide about $80 million in incentives.
Most of that would come through road improvements, with a half-cent increase in the county sales tax as one possible source of money for the projects.
There is plenty more to come. As many in the NASCAR race shops know--there is no such thing as an off season. At least not for the ON PIT ROW crew.