NASCAR was back at it on Sunday at Pocono’s dreaded second date. Triangle shaped race track in Pennslyvania isn’t a fan favorite, a driver favorite, hell the Pocono as a town might not even like it. Traditionally Pocono hasn’t produced good racing and Sunday was really no different if you look at the loop data numbers.
Outside of the fog shortened 2016 race the July 2019 race produced the lowest passing numbers since 2014. On top of that it produced the lowest number of leaders and lead changes as well. Not great, folks.
NASCAR’s 2019 package was aimed at making boring races like this and 1.5-mile races more interesting. Numbers-wise that hasn’t happened and everyone kind of expected it with this package at this track.
But Do The Numbers Matter?
Admittedly we didn’t watch the full race yesterday while we at Mid-Ohio for the IndyCar race. However, we did catch the extended highlights and saw peoples reaction on Twitter after the loop data was posted last night.
A number of fans said the numbers didn’t matter because they watched a good race. From the highlights, it looked entertaining by Pocono standards. But again, that’s because every race at Pocono is generally nap-inducing. The biggest difference between the June Pocono race and the July Pocono race is the broadcast partner. The numbers were nearly the same.
NBC took over the broadcast at Chicagoland and the quality of product we’re seeing from the broadcast is a thousand times better than FOX. NBC is showing more racing in the pack, their booth is more entertaining and interesting, they aren’t scared to mix things up either. FOX has a formula and refuses to stray from it even as fans have begged them to.
Because of this fans have been forgoing mediocre on-track activity and praising how great the racing has been since NBC took over. There is a clear cut change in what people have said are good races versus bad races and it basically comes when the TV partner change happened.
At the end of the day, numbers don’t matter if you were entertained. NASCAR is in the entertainment business as all sports are, even though the numbers were abysmal fans still liked it and that’s what NASCAR wants. It would be nice to see more passing or just less Pocono. Like none.
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