NASCAR Learns from ‘Tomorrow’ for Car Rollout

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(from Sports Business Journal, November 5, 2012) In 2007 NASCAR introduced what they called the “Car of Tomorrow,” a new line of cars for the sport.  Not one driver, team, or fan liked the car and most rebelled.  Now NASCAR plans on introducing another line of new cars at the beginning of next year.  Because of the struggles they incurred in 2007, NASCAR is doing its best through marketing and advertising the new line.  The effort to introduce the new line has been going through testing over the last month and the media will be able to see the car tested for the first time this week.

Though only about a third of the fans know that there will be a new car next year,  but NASCAR is planning on changing that.  They will feature the new line of Chevy, Ford, and Toyota cars by putting them in the season ending parade in Las Vegas and in different advertisements on Fox, ESPN and Turner.  Fox, which will broadcast the first race of 2013, is looking at new in-car camera positions, exploring ways to provide new audio of the cars, designing a new graphics package, and reviewing the way it frames multiple cars in a pack to highlight the speed of the car and the different body shapes of the new cars.

Fan awareness isn’t the only thing that NASCAR has to prepare for when it rolls out the new cars.  NASCAR has to make sure that both the drivers and teams are on board as well.  Drivers became frustrated with the handling of the old “Car of Tomorrow” and fans didn’t like the design.   The negativity that surrounded the Car of Tomorrow in 2007 prompted NASCAR to do more outreach to teams, drivers and fans. In recent years, it has begun holding quarterly meetings with drivers and team executives along with a fan council that surveys regularly to see what fans would like to see change in the sport.  These meeting and surveys are what drove NASCAR to change its cars for 2013.  Unlike in 2007, this new line of cars will not be rebelled against, NASCAR made sure of that.