Johnson made the comments during an appearance on Danica Patrick‘s “Pretty Intense Podcast.” He discussed his love of the Kansas City Chiefs, making wagers with Kid Rock, and his first season in the FOX Sports booth. Bowyer then voiced his praise for the decision to bring in new tracks and shake up the schedule.
“What can you do? I think we’re doing it,” Bowyer said during the December 23 episode. “I think that I was excited to go to new venues. When this thing was going like this in the 90s, yes, Dale Earnhardt was the baddest guy ever. Right? Everybody wanted to be Dale Earnhardt. Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin — toughest little race car driver in the world. Like, those guys were genuinely bada****. Dale Jarrett. They took this sport in the 90s to the next level.”
Bowyer continued and explained that NASCAR can only go back to the same tracks so many times before the product on the track gets a little stale. He doesn’t recommend removing certain tracks from the schedule but believes that some need to be “put away for a minute” or put on pause.
“The other thing that they did in the 90s that we are starting to do again — and where I’m going with this — is going to new venues. Being in front of a new audience. Showing your audience that you already have something new to where it’s not so repetitious that it’s the same thing over and over.”
Bowyer Believes That Races Need Multiple Points of Attraction
Switching up venues is one of the ways in which NASCAR can bring in new fans. Bowyer specifically expressed excitement about the upcoming Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum and the potential for last-lap incidents. However, he added that the venue and the action on the track are not the only factors that play a role in whether a race weekend is memorable.
“I call them ‘Wow Factors.’ In my opinion, a race has to have five,” Bowyer explained. “If you don’t have five Wow Factors in a race — whether it’s a gutsy call, whether it’s something small like that. Whether it was a wild wreck, unfortunately. As long as nobody got hurt. Whether it was a crazy finish or a fight.
“Who knows? But I feel like you have to have five. You have to check five of those Wow Factors off for that to be a success. For that event to be something that Bob goes back to the coffee shop on Monday and tells his buddies ‘you can’t miss this again next year. It was holy s*** crazy fun.”
The Wow Factors Aren’t All About Races
Entertaining the fans and packing the grandstands is the goal of each race, but the action on the track doesn’t always accomplish it. Some races just leave something to be desired.
As Bowyer explained, not all football games are “rivalry games.” The same applies to NASCAR races. Not all oval tracks or road courses lead to jaw-dropping moments and spirited discussions among the fans. Some races are just less exciting, so other factors have to come into play.
Bowyer and Patrick determined that the pre-race concerts can have a significant impact on the attendees. A strong performance by Chris Janson, Pitbull, or numerous other artists can fire up the fans and make them even more excited about the upcoming race. Though Bowyer also joked that some Busch Lights and a Winnebago can also help prep the fans for a fun weekend.