NASCAR's struggles have gotten the attention of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show on Comedy Central.
The news satire show, which has won the Emmy in its category for a Jimmie Johnson-like eight straight years, used its "You're Welcome" segment with contributor John Hodgman on Thursday night to offer suggestions to NASCAR in light of the declining interest in the sport.
Hodgman's suggestions were silly and over-the-top, of course, but it was still interesting to see NASCAR featured in that light. It's no secret many young people actually get their news from Stewart's show – and many of them aren't NASCAR fans, so they likely hadn't heard about NASCAR's recent problems.
They have now.
"A once-proud American sport is in trouble," Stewart said in introducing the segment. "What? How could people get bored watching cars drive in a circle over and over again?"
Hodgman said NASCAR drivers are all "effete millionaires" who have lost touch with the fans and the cars are "space-aged safety cages with wheels," causing viewers to seek more rough-and-tumble sports like MMA. So Hodgman suggested NASCAR should run in an octagon instead of an oval and either abandon cars altogether or participate in a death race (like I said – silly).
Even the "Have at it, boys" mentality was discussed, though Hodgman said the approach didn't go far enough and that there should be even more violence.
It wasn't one of The Daily Show's funnier segments, but seeing how a national program covers NASCAR always helps us understand how outsiders view the sport today. In this case, it wasn't positive.