Over the years, NASCAR has become one of the biggest sports leagues in the United States. It has risen to prominence as a staple in the industry but has appeared to have hit a plateau with its popularity. With that in mind, Hall of Fame driver Jeff Gordon believes he knows what is missing from the sport.
Jeff Gordon remains one of NASCAR’s biggest names
Jeff Gordon constructed one of the most successful careers in NASCAR history.
Gordon’s dominance on the track saw him become one of the most popular drivers. His impressive work behind the wheel made him a crowd favorite that helped lift NASCAR into greater recognition across the country.
Gordon is a household name that has cemented his legacy in the sport’s history. However, Gordon still believes that NASCAR is missing one element that can take it to the next level of popularity.
Jeff Gordon is convinced he knows what NASCAR desperately needs
Jeff Gordon’s two-plus decade career in NASCAR as a driver and now on the media side has given him a tremendous perspective of the sport.
Gordon’s step into his new career after his Hall of Fame racing days has provided him a refined point of view. During an interview with Fox Business in February 2019, he voiced that it will have to come through rivalries if NASCAR wants to continue to grow.
“We’ve got some amazing talent that’s out there right now, but we need more rivalries,” Gordon said. “It’s important to engage the fans in that way.”
Gordon knows that through his first-hand experience with his often intense rivalry with Dale Earnhardt Sr. Although it may have been more one-sided with the verbal battle coming from Earnhardt Sr., the fierce competition was always there each time they took the track together.
That experience alone drove many fans to the sport to see two of the best drivers duke it out each weekend. There doesn’t need to be a strong feeling of hatred, but it’s the spirit of competition that fuels the back-and-forth between drivers.
It’s what gets everyone to tune in each week to see one driver get the best of another on the track. Drama fuels TV ratings, and Gordon certainly knows all about that.
NASCAR is hoping to take the next step forward
Over the last several years, it’s been no secret that NASCAR has experienced a decline in TV ratings.
As Jeff Gordon pointed out two years ago, it hasn’t been due to a lack of talent on the track as there is a strong mixture of young and proven talent. Although the last couple of years have seen notable names such as Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Tony Stewart all step into retirement, there remains plenty of reason to watch each week.
The element of conflict remains a substantial part of the sport as racing brings out intense emotion on any occasion. That was the case last weekend as Noah Gragson and Daniel Hemric at each other’s throats for what happened on pit road during an Xfinity Series race.
NASCAR will always have that type of entertainment value that can arise each week from crashes and scrap-ups. The sport can strive further by seeing intense rivalries on the track play out in any form. Meanwhile, Chase Elliott, the face of the next generation of drivers, is still growing into his on-track persona.
NASCAR knows how vital its drivers are, and it’s on them to push the sport forward.