How About ‘Wednesday Night Thunder’ For Trucks, NNS?

Charlotte, NC (September 24, 2012) – It’s time for some creative scheduling.

While nearly 100,000 fans showed up for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Sunday, less than half of that number combined filed into Kentucky Speedway Friday and Saturday to watch the NASCAR Camping World Truck and Nationwide divisions do battle.

What happened?

To be sure, Sunday’s New Hampshire crowd was impressive. A beautiful fall New England day, the lure of a NASCAR Chase for the Championship event, and the fact the New England Patriots played a Sunday night game all contributed to the attendance number of 98,000-plus.

The story was significantly different at Kentucky.

Friday’s Truck Series race rolled off before a crowd estimated at 20,000. There may have been that many there, but that’s if you counted everyone within a three-mile radius of the track including those continually whizzing by on Interstate 71.

Saturday’s Nationwide race was only slightly better as 23,000 reportedly were on hand to view the event. To say you could have just about any seat in the 106,000 seat Kentucky Speedway facility for either event is an understatement.

So where was everybody?

The answer for Truck Series attendance quandary is easy – more than 200 Kentucky high schools competed in prep football contests around the state Friday evening.

Talk about the kiss of death. Nobody is going to pack of the cooler and head to the track when they’ve got a member of their family competing in high school sporting event at the same time.

And we’re not just talking football here as the Kentucky fall prep sports season also includes boy’s and girl’s soccer and cross country as well as girl’s volleyball.

Frankly, we’re surprised the Truck Series race was able to draw as many fans as it did given it was up against that kind of competition.

Saturday’s NNS event adjacency wasn’t much better. The nearby Cincinnati Reds were at home Saturday afternoon with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch. They didn’t disappoint clinching their division with a 6-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in front of a sellout crowd of more than 41,000 fans.

Meanwhile, six of the eight public universities and colleges located in Kentucky – including Kentucky and Louisville – were on the gridiron Saturday.

With that kind of competition for attention, Kentucky Speedway never had a chance of drawing big crowds this weekend.

Realistically, you could change the names of the teams and the location of the track and make the same kind of comparisons every Friday and Saturday during the fall – the same days most likely to see a Truck Series or Nationwide race on tap.

Perhaps it’s time to think out of the box a little with the schedule and start looking at more Truck and NNS events during the week. Remember how well attended the Indianapolis Raceway Park (now O’Reilly) ‘Thursday Night Thunder’ events used to be?

Why not give that a try?

Maybe switching some races to Wednesday or Thursday would draw more fans. Heck, why not give racing it’s own version ‘Monday Night Football’ with a Wednesday Truck/NNS midweek doubleheader?

We don’t know if ‘Wednesday Night Thunder’ would work, but clearly, scheduling up against prep, university and professional sporting events on Fridays and Saturdays isn’t drawing fans to NASCAR Truck and Nationwide division events.

At the very least, it’s something different, and that could be just the ‘ticket’ for fans looking to add attending NASCAR racing to their busy schedules.

Share Button