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What We Want to See from NASCAR’s Potential Driver Media Incentives

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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NASCAR is apparently mulling a brand new incentive program for drivers to promote the sport. The specifics about the program or an official word on whether or not it will be implemented has not been officially said, but we can dream.

What should NASCAR do with this incentive program should it be implemented? What types of things should NASCAR reward drivers for doing?

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Incentivize Media Activities that Reach New Fans

When NASCAR talks about promoting the sport, what they really need to focus on is reaching new fans. Particularly reaching younger fans. Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, and Corey LaJoie are on podcasts, which is great. However, those podcasts primarily appeal to NASCAR fans.

Going on NASCAR radio shows is great as well. However, those are shows that are catered specifically to NASCAR fans.

NASCAR should incentivize drivers who put themselves out there in the media in unique ways. Kurt Busch, for example, went on multiple Chicago news shows around a month before the Chicago street race to promote it. That needs to be done in every market the week leading up to the race.

NASCAR should also incentivize those who put themselves out there on social media. Corey LaJoie, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Vargas are great examples of this.

NASCAR drivers need to be willing to get a little bit uncomfortable in terms of which people they go in front of to promote the sport. Give these people a reason to give this NASCAR thing a try.

Incentivize Off-Track Driver Appearances

Media definitely has the biggest reach of eyeballs, but in-person appearances have an interesting touch to them. Giving drivers the opportunity to get in front of the fans to either answer questions or sign autographs give people a chance to get a more personal feel for the drivers.

This should go far beyond the race track. Again, these types of appearances at the race track are great, but NASCAR needs to think about reaching new fans. Drivers doing autograph appearances at local stores and restaurants should be the most highly incentivized appearances.

Of course, a driver’s time should be absolutely respected. Outright requiring that every driver go off-site each weekend to do an appearance is just not right, and it could impact the work they do at the race track. Thankfully, NASCAR is doing an incentive program, so drivers can do it if they want to earn some extra cash.

Again, this is all about reaching new fans. Find ways to incentivize creative ways to reach new fanbases rather than just the status quo of NASCAR promotion.

Don’t Forget About the Current Fans or Sponsors Completely

Now, I just talked about NASCAR prioritizing events and appearances to reach new fans outside of the race track, but there is a limit to that. NASCAR would be very mistaken to put all of the incentives into the program to activities that reach new fans.

Don’t discourage the podcasts that Denny Hamlin and Corey LaJoie do, but rather, encourage them. Let them earn high incentives for things like that. If NASCAR chases after potential new fans, but they completely forget the existing fan, that is a problem.

It’s a balancing act that NASCAR has to make. It’s not an easy one, and there is probably no one right answer, however.

NASCAR also needs to make sure they they include the current sponsors in this as well. If they go over the heads of sponsors and getting their brand out there, then that takes away a large element of what sponsors want. Rather, NASCAR can partner with sponsors to incentivize these things.

If NASCAR ends up implementing this, then they need to be strategic with how they go about it. Just incentivizing drivers to do anything will not work. Incentivize those things that actually help NASCAR as a sport.

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts