As is usually the case, some NASCAR drivers are prone to express their opinion on issues affecting the sport while others prefer not get publicly involved in something that could stir controversy and debate.
Even fewer seem to spend a lot of time contemplating ideas on how to attract new fans or engage current ones.
Ty Dillon, the 27-year-old grandson of NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Childress, doesn’t yet have the on-track credentials of a Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch or Brad Keselowski.
What he does have is something just as valuable – the willingness to take the time to think through ideas on how to engage people his age and showcase the sport in which he calls home.
On Friday at Pocono Raceway, Dillon rattled off a series of ideas, some of which may be impossible or impractical to implement, but all of which should be considered.
- “As technology grows, we’ve got to do things different. Sitting still in the stands is just not the way that the world is going to keep going. I think the fact that we’re taking out stands isn’t as bad of a thing as if we can find new ways to bring fans to the track. I think we can take out stands and add entertainment decks and change the outlook. I think tracks are doing a good job of adding more motorhome parking for fans. That’s the high-end kind of the side, but we need for the college kids to sit by the track, listen to a concert, and watch the race. We need multiple dimensions of entertainment at our sport.”
- “As a young person myself, you go to concerts and parties and people want to move around. They want to see different angles and it’s the way that the mind is kind of growing with the younger ages. You’ve got to be able to entertain them at multiple levels so if they can move around to different parts of the track and it’s more of an open atmosphere. If I were to rebuild a track, I’d build a short track or a mile-size track with no grandstands, but find a way where the track is viewable from all standing sections, and then find ways to make money in that way.”
- “Our sport doesn’t need to go to the same tracks the same weekends, I think, every weekend every year. I think we’ve got to give new opportunities. I know it’s a promotion thing, but I think we’ve just got to keep finding new ways and not be afraid to make some mistakes or take risks in developing our sport and growing it.”
- “I think another thing that would be cool for the future of our sport is if we could live stream from inside of every single car. If we had an in-car camera in every single car and each driver could live-stream that view from their social account, I think that would be big. It creates that interaction. Now we get back to our phones and we go through and see and we can answer questions that they might have seen and we could replay it and go back through it with them.”
When searching for solutions in business, the most common motto is “There are no bad ideas, just bad decisions.”
The same could easily be said for motorsports.
Without a doubt, there are many obstacles in place that may make Dillon’s ideas unworkable, but that has always been the case in NASCAR. Yet the sport continues to find ways to make strides in working through those difficulties.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule seemed for the longest time nearly carved in stone, yet it will finally undergo some substantial changes in 2020 – changes that were no small undertaking to get done.
The point is, every idea cannot be implemented, but every idea should get a fair hearing.
And drivers like Dillon should be heard and feel free to offer solutions regardless of whether they have achieved a boatload of on-track success.
Good ideas are everywhere and not simply the province of series champions.