Back when I was a kid dad would have the 500 on but he was never really into it. In 94-95 my favorite car was the yellow 4 Kodak car; man was it fast. Then my uncle got me into watching heavily in 96 and the man in black became my favorite driver. I can still remember the 98 500 as an 8th grader. I did it all; newspaper clippings of races, listened to them on the radio when I couldn’t watch them, etc. After that day in 2001 my driver became Dale Jr. and the poor guy never could live up to what society wanted him to be, which I was fine with- you need to be your own man. I remember my first trip on race weekend to MIS and stepping out onto that track surface in 01 as an employee. Really sure working there was my future. Living 20 miles from the speedway on restarts if the wind was right I could hear it from my front yard. I went twice a year starting in 04.
Then they came out with the chase nonsense. Non consistent start times. Start times of 2:30 pm so sit around all day and wait for it to start and not get home till 8 PM and work is the next day. Rule changes weekly to “fit entertainment ratings.” For me they alienated themselves from what started the sport and the fans that built it into what it is. The final nail in the coffin was my driver retired the same year my daughter was born so I couldn’t justify spending $$$ to go to two races a year to watch other people have fun. I’d rather be making my own fun going to tractor shows, camping, vacations etc.
So if it’s on and I’ve got nothing better to do I may watch here and there for nostalgias sake but I won’t go out of my way to spend any great deal of time watching or getting into the politics of it anymore. Life moves on I guess.