In just the last week, NASCAR has launched “Kids Drive NASCAR”, an initiative to bring in the younger race fan. NASCAR, in collaboration with its speedways, have announced several programs to help families come to the racetrack.


The first announcement was made at the NASCAR Hall of Fame with the first ever all-kids press conference. Before attending to the media, the announcement that kids aged 12 and under starting in 2017 will have the opportunity to attend NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races for free was made via Facebook Live. 


“There really is no other experience like attending a NASCAR race in person, and that’s especially true for kids,” said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “So many children have become lifelong NASCAR fans because their parents brought them to their first race, and this new ticket offering makes it even more affordable for families to create memories that will last a lifetime.” 


This program unifies all NASCAR sanctioned tracks in their efforts to reach a younger audience. 


The second announcement in “Kids Drive NASCAR” week was the launch of an app called “Acceleration Nation”. Acceleration Nation will provide learning materials for use in schools across the country with lessons focusing on aerodynamics and energy. NASCAR partnered with Scholastics to develop the first motorsports based Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education program. The app will provide a digital experience featuring racing-related games, activities, and interactive ways to learn about NASCAR. The app is available in the App Store and Google Play.


NASCAR also announced that the chase races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway will be featured on Snapchat’s Live Story. Fans will be able to use Snapchat to show the world their NASCAR raceday experience through video and photos. The Live Story has been featured in 2016 for the Daytona 500 and the May race at Talladega Superspeedway, which set records for social media engagement for NASCAR.


“There’s no experience in sports quite like attending a NASCAR race, especially during the Chase,” said Gregory “Snapchat’s Live Story coverage provides young audiences with a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the real Chase race experience, through the lens of our fans and drivers.”


NASCAR announced a continuing partnership with Nickelodeon with the return of “NASCAR Hammer Down” hosted by Karysn and Kennedy Elledge, granddaughters of Dale Earnhardt Sr. There will be eight, 15-minute episodes ranging from driver interviews, goofy antics among drivers, and behind the scenes insight into the technology used in NASCAR. The show will air regularly on Fridays at 9:30pm (ET/PT) during Nicktoons’ NickSports TV block. NASCAR Productions produces the show.


“Kids are a huge part of our sport, and we are excited to deliver a program like NASCAR Hammer Down to a very important audience for NASCAR,” said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. “The personalities of Karsyn, Kennedy and our drivers combined with the NickSportsaudience, creates the perfect avenue for us to connect with a new generation of potential NASCAR fans.


Going off of NASCAR, Speedway Motorsports Inc. continues their efforts in working for the fans by providing select children’s tickets to be priced at $10 each to Cup Series events at its speedways beginning in 2017, with the purchase of an adult ticket.


“Coming to the races should be about fun, not finances,” said Speedway Motorsports’ president and CEO Marcus Smith. “Now, a parent can get his or her child through the gates for an entire weekend of NASCAR events – including qualifying night, a Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series race and a Cup Series race – for just $10. This is one of the best, if not THE best, family values in all professional sports.NASCAR fans have passed down their passion for motorsports from generation to generation for decades, and through this new Fans First initiative, we’ll continue that legacy by introducing young fans to the sport and engaging them for years to come.” 

International Speedway Corporation will continue to allow the individual tracks to make their own decision on youth ticket prices at Cup events.

The “Kids Drive NASCAR” initiative is just the start of the efforts by NASCAR and its tracks to attract the younger fan.

Caleb Whisler
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