Cover Story: The future of Nascar

CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - Thousand of race fans are expected to attend the Nascar All-Star race Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Many fans are already camping out in anticipation.

Derrick Cormier traveled down from New York to watch the race in person.

"I like sitting at home watching the race but this is what it's about," said Cormier.

The speedway seats 135,000 people. Race officials expect to sell at least 100,000 tickets this year. The economic impact is estimated at 250 million dollars.
Things are looking up.

"This year things are certainly pacing better if we had to really quantify where the economy is, the economy seems to be a little bit better now than it was last year," said Scott Cooper, Spokesperon, Charlotte Motor Speedway.

It's no secret the economy has taken its toll on professional sports--Nascar is no exception.
Many fans figure it's cheaper to watch from home.

"Televisions are just great now, you look like you can just walk into the scene. But we got to get those people in the seats, that's the thing that counts," said Humpy Wheeler, President of the Wheeler Company and former president of the speedway.

Wheeler believes Nascar has been on a decline since 2004 and he says the economy isn't the only factor.

"We're in this plateau, how do we get out of it? Something's got to change, we've got  to change the way we run races or some new superstar comes along, that will always do it," said Wheeler.

Wheeler says Nascar has been sustained largely because of huge television contracts.
He thinks better promotions could give the sport a boost. Still, he's confident the sport will rebound and race tracks will eventually start to fill up.

"I think it's going to get going again, but in order to do that some changes have got to be made," said Wheeler.