NASCAR had no choice but to evolve with the times

BY Tom Jensen • January 23, 2017

In life, you have two basic choices: Evolve or become extinct.

In January 1997, when I took over as executive editor at NASCAR Winston Cup Scene, I had two jobs: Write and put out the best weekly newspaper in the sport.

Twenty years later I still write, and now I try to publish the best NASCAR section on the web.

In addition to that, I’m active on a variety of social media programs, take photographs and videos, appear on radio and television shows and live streams, work the 24/7 news cycle, even occasionally give talks and host aspiring journalists who visit the FOX Sports studios.

The job is much bigger and more complicated than it ever was before, although truth be told it’s more exciting than ever before.

My job evolved because the world evolved. My choices were two-fold: Evolve with it or become irrelevant, if not extinct in this industry. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that I wanted to stay around, too, so I did my best to evolve.

And that’s the process NASCAR is going through: In a society that’s vastly different than it used to be, NASCAR is trying to stay relevant. NASCAR has dramatically altered its points structure for 2017 and you can read about all the specifics here: 9 things you need to know about NASCAR's bold new world.

The two biggest takeaways are that NASCAR has made the regular-season a whole lot more important than it used to be and it is injecting some much-needed excitement into the middle of races by adding bonus points for leading each of two race segments.

By making the regular season more important, it means drivers and teams are less likely to win a race in, say, March or April and then go into test mode until the NASCAR playoffs start. That’s a good thing.

It’s also a good thing that NASCAR is spicing up the middle of the races. So often I hear people talking about watching the start of the race and the finish and nothing in between. Hopefully, that will happen less often now.

Are these steps the be-all and the end-all?

Probably not.

But they are a good start and worth giving a chance.

Attention spans are shorter than they were in 1997.

Technology is light years ahead of where it was in 1997.

The world isn’t the same as it was then.

NASCAR is recognizing that and trying to get ahead of the curve.

That’s commendable in my book.



share story