NASCAR President talks grassroots racing

NASCAR President puts the Chili Bowl Nationals at the top of his list

Grassroots racetracks are struggling to keep their gates open. How can NASCAR effect that from the top?

“It’s absolutely critical,” stated Brent Dewar to Kevin Harvick on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.

“We’re putting a lot of focus on it. To try to get our organization to remember our roots and where we’ve come from. That’s where the next generation of fan comes from, the next generation of owner, the next generation of driver. Everybody follows that path.”

NASCAR grassroots racing
At the “199” NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour at Bowman Gray Stadium on August 2, 2014 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Sara D. Davis for NASCAR)

“If those series aren’t healthy, then each of the steps and the links between that. A lot of the stuff we’re working on is to not only make that racing entertaining but more affordable.”

“It’s a big task. It’s a big country with lots of independent operators.”

Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and other NASCAR drivers play a big role in bridging those gaps. It’s a big deal when they drop down and run local events. Like what Kevin Harvick did at Sonoma, Or what Kyle Larson does in sprint cars.

NASCAR President Brent Dewar
NASCAR President Brent Dewar

“What he’s doing in sprint cars is helping re-connecting and re-engaging the fans. To understand that there are those steps from your local short track all the way to the national Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.”

Kevin Harvick recalls that weekend. When it was done he had a realization, “I forgot how much fun this is. This is what it’s all about.”

One race that stuck out?

“I’ve been to a lot of places,” stated Brent Dewar.

Brent Dewar talks Chili Bowl Nationals
Chili Bowl Nationals

The NASCAR president formerly worked for Chevrolet. He had the opportunity to visit the Chili Bowl event back when Tony Stewart first joined Team Chevy. He puts that one at the top of his list.

“I think the first time I went to the Chili Bowl. I think that was interesting for me. It’s really a fairground atmosphere. ”

“I saw some things that they were working on that were interesting from a grassroots level. Eldora, coming over the hill into the cornfields, there’s this incredible track.”

“There’s a number of them that I’m glad I went to. You see that passion.”

Brent Dewar is a new Florida resident. He didn’t have a local short track in the area where he grew up, but he does now. Just down the road from his new house, sits New Smyrna Speedway.

“Going to New Smyrna [Speedway]. You know, great racing, right there in our backyard. We got this fantasic motorsports stadium in Daytona that’s not like anywhere in the world. And in a very short drive you can be in New Smyrna to watch some incredible racing, on a Friday night just at your local short track.”

“I think that connection to our roots is really important. We’re open to all ideas to try and help connect the fans.”

“The best value in sports is a NASCAR race.”

Danny Bohn (65) crosses the finish line at the “199” NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour at Bowman Gray Stadium on August 2, 2014 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Sara D. Davis for NASCAR)

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