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Sports Then and Now



The Brickyard 400 Is Losing Its Mystique 9

Posted on July 29, 2011 by A.J. Foss

Attendance and TV ratings have declined in recent years for the Brickyard 400.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its annual trip to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend for the 18th running of the Brickyard 400.

While the event is still regarded as the second biggest race of the NASCAR season behind the Daytona 500, it seems that the popularity of the race among fans has reached an all-time low.

Back in May, the Associated Press reported that ticket sales for the race were down from last year’s event where only 140,000 people, almost a 50% decrease from 2007 where an estimated 270,000 fans showed up for that year’s race.

There was also a 13 percent decrease in the television ratings from the 2009 Brickyard 400 to last year’s race, which was both telecasted on ESPN.

So, what is the reason for this precipitous decline in the interest of the Brickyard 400?

Some blame the economic downturn and high gas prices, while others have suggested Indianapolis has to fight with tracks such as Chicago, Kentucky, and Kansas to get Midwestern fans to come out to the track.

But the most likely reason for NASCAR’s problem at the Brickyard is what happened in the 2008 race.

That was the first time that NASCAR raced the Car of Tomorrow at the speedway and the results proved to be disastrous. The combination of the new car and the abrasive pavement caused the rear tires to explode after several laps of racing. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

      Read more »

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