Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Talladega Superspeedway cutting capacity to 80,000 in 2014

   Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, which once boasted some of the largest crowds to see NASCAR races, will see its seating capacity reduced to approximately 80,000 seats by next season, tracks officials confirmed on Wednesday.

    The largest change will come from the recent demolition of the Allison Grandstands, a large swath of seats located on the backstretch of the 2.66-mile speedway which had a seating capacity this season of 18,000.

    In recent seasons, many of the track’s frontstretch seats have been tarped over while the speedway still sold tickets - usually at lower price - for the backstretch.

    “The changes are simply a reflection of our current attendance trends,” track spokesman Russell Branham told The Observer. “The goal will be a better fan experience and that will be entirely on the frontstretch from now on.”

    As recently as 2007, track attendance estimates had more than 307,000 fans attending Talladega’s two Sprint Cup Series race weekends. At the time, the track’s listed capacity was 147,000 grandstand seats. This season, the track’s listed capacity was listed at 109,000.

    In the coming months, Talladega will make several additional improvements to the frontstretch, including better sightlines and upgrades to its Sprint Vision capabilities - the portable giant TVs which provide closeups and replays to fans in attendance.

    While the grandstands named after the Allison family are gone, the track will unveil a special tribute to the family and the “Alabama Gang” in the coming months.

    “The Allison family and Alabama Gang have always been a part of our Talladega family and they always will,” Branham said.

    The move by Talladega and its parent company, International Speedway Corp., is the latest by several tracks to reduce capacity while also improving the fan experience for those in attendance.

    Daytona International Speedway is currently in the midst of a two-year renovation project which will reduce capacity and vastly improve the comforts of its primary frontstretch seating area. Other tracks, such as Phoenix, have reduced capacity in recent seasons because of attendance declines.


  1. This is just the beginning... The death of NASCAR as we knew it is at hand...

  2. I'm not ready to predict the death of NASCAR but the numbers don't lie. That race attendance is significantly down is a fact. I would blame that more on fewer well-paying jobs and less income than anything else. The product has also been lacking. The cars are too similar to provide actual "racing". The same handful of entries that have more resources end up out front all the time. When half the field is a lap down before the halfway point of a race it's not good racing.

    NASCAR dead? No but, if it's even possible, something needs to be fixed.

  3. I don't disagree that NASCAR has massive problems and its popularity has not just declined, it has fallen badly. I cannot see where NASCAR outright dies out, though.

    The issue is less fan economics because going to the races has actually become more affordable - I go to Pocono and seven or so years ago it was impossible to get tickets on raceday; now it's easy, to where I can travel 300 miles to Pocono and back in one day. I go to New Hampshire and have gotten Saturday and Sunday tickets for a grand total of $70.00 - much less than for ONE ticket seven years ago.

    The competition is mediocre outside of Daytona and Talladega - when handling is more important than the draft then passing disappears; it's a fact NASCAR still seems not able to understand because it can make the racing better by simply getting the draft to be more important than handling.

    1. it is not the draft that is lacking, the gen 6 car really has to much areo. the real prob is the box NASCAR puts all the competition in. IMO, they (NASCAR) need to loosen the rule book , let em race, . Give the team parameters, like weight of car/driver, CID and rear gear limits then let the boys have at it.JMHO. if the NFL told teams how to draft the sport would take a major hit..lets see, Seatle, you guys need to draft a corner back because you are not not quite equally matched to the rest of the teams!! I am just saying..

    2. Brian - what evidence has there ever been that a looser rulebook accomplishes anything? I've been studying the sport's history for over 20 years and there is no example I can find where a looser box made for more passing.

      Comparing it to a never-existent scenario of the NFL dictating how teams draft merely undermines the argument further precisely by it being a scenario that can never happen.

      The issue is the draft on the racetrack - it's still effective at the plate tracks but it is supposed to work well also on the intermediates and the flat superovals (Pocono, Michigan, Fontana) - we saw it work with the Trucks at Kansas and Homestead this past season; the Kansas Truck race was repeatedly compared on the MRN radio call to a Talladega race. We also surprisingly saw it work with the Busch cars at Kansas this year also. We also see the draft in effect with the Modifieds at New Hampshire. The draft in the 1970s at Charlotte, Atlanta, etc. mattered.

      Wherever the draft is more important than handling that is when passing increases.