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It comes as no surprise to NASCAR fans that the race day experience has undergone a dramatic shift in recent years.

In the early 2000s, NASCAR didn’t have to worry about the fan experience. Attendance and viewership were at an all-time high and life was good. The electric atmosphere of massive crowds at the track ensured every event was exciting, from the parking lot to the midway.

Around 2005, attendance at races peaked and has been on a decline ever since—and NASCAR is trying to address the falling numbers. If you ask one fan what’s wrong with race day, you’ll get 10 different answers.

There’s no denying though that the sport has undergone massive changes during this period. Several popular drivers have retired, the cars have undergone huge changes, and the rules have changed so often that even die-hard fans can’t keep them straight.

The powers that be are trying to figure out how to improve the NASCAR fan experience and bring them back to the track.

Create Family-Friendly Tailgating

Race day tailgating is legendary for the adult fan, but it’s rarely appropriate for younger fans and families. Tailgating before any big sporting event is an American institution that’s beloved by fans.

Making it accessible and attractive to all fans, young and old, can increase fan engagement and boost the experience. When families come to a race, a tradition is created, and new fans are made.

Attract Fans to Pre-Race Events

Fans can find vendors, facilities, and events inside the gates on race day. Before the gates open, though, fans are on their own for entertainment.

Tailgating is great, but giving the fans something else to do aside from drinking in the parking lot will go a long way towards improving the experience. Spreading out vendors and activities in the parking lot will increase foot traffic and help the fans engage with the overall experience.

Make Wi-Fi Available at the Track

The Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting everything, and younger fans want to experience race day in a different way. A strong social media presence and fan engagement online will help increase interest in the sport.

Racing scanners and headsets are still a hit for all fans, but there’s nothing wrong with bringing in some variety. Younger fans also want real-time information and stats that take them on a deep dive into the race day experience.

Bring Tailgating Inside

The open concourses that the bigger tracks are building are a great example for others to follow. They allow fans to congregate, interact, and watch the event in a communal atmosphere, without being confined to their designated seats.

Communal sharing of the race and event are what made NASCAR so popular in the past, and getting back to that will help attendance.

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