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Aftermath, Bristol II: Three Questions For You To Answer

BRISTOL TN - AUGUST 21:  Cars race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21 2010 in Bristol Tennessee.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
BRISTOL TN - AUGUST 21: Cars race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21 2010 in Bristol Tennessee. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
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Bristol was a great weekend that recalled why many fans fell in love with NASCAR in the first place. There was good racing, drama and excitement.

All positives.

But some questions still remain, and I don't pretend to have all the answers. Far from it.

So in the era of fan opinion driving decisions in NASCAR, perhaps some of you can share your insight on the following three topics. Maybe your voices will be heard.

1. Were Bristol's driver introductions what you like to see out of NASCAR, or were they too much like WWE?

At this point, you know that in addition to choosing their own theme songs at Bristol, drivers were given an opportunity to introduce themselves over the track's public address system.

And you've likely heard that there were some interesting comments, from Kyle Busch responding to the boo-birds with, "Aw, y'all are SO loving!" to Brad Keselowski's now-infamous "Kyle Busch is an ass!"

AJ Allmendinger got in on the fun, saying "I just hope I'm ahead of Brad and Kyle when this all goes down tonight." Tony Stewart chimed in by telling the fans, "Unlike Allmendinger, I want to be around Kyle and Brad because I want to see a hell of a wreck."

Judging by the crowd reaction, that's what many Bristol fans wanted to hear: The drivers showed some personality, talked trash and cracked jokes.

For some, though, it may have been too much like WWE, where pro wrestlers play to the crowd for reaction. A few people said they don't believe that kind of thing belongs in NASCAR.

So tell me: Did you enjoy it, or did you not find it entertaining?

If you enjoyed it, would you like to see more tracks do that type of introduction and have the drivers speak to the crowd? Or does it only belong at Bristol?

Note: To get a better idea of what I'm talking about, check out these fan videos before the NASCAR police makes YouTube take them down. They provide much more of a feel for what happened than the clips ABC showed.

Fast forward to the 2:15 mark on this video to see Busch's introduction, then check out Keselowski's entrance at the 3:50 mark. (You can also see just Keselowski's intro in this video, though you can't get as much of a sense for the crowd reaction as in the other one).

2. Was Bristol proof that poor attendance isn't all because of the economy?

By now, you're probably tired of reading about attendance. To be honest, I'm tired of writing about it. And everyone in the garage is certainly tired of talking about it.

But that doesn't mean we should just ignore it, particularly after Bristol had one of the biggest crowds of the season – and nearly full stands in the 160,000-seat venue.

We need to ask: "What does that tell us?"

Of all the tracks, Bristol is in one of the most remote locations. It's several hours from the nearest major cities (even Pocono is much closer to population centers).

And of all the tracks, the hotel prices near Bristol are the most unreasonable. To get an affordable rate, you can't stay anywhere close to the track (many people I know stayed 90 minutes away in Asheville, including me).

Yet despite all that, people came to Bristol from all over the country. One person I met drove there from Alaska. Alaska! She said it took her nine days.

Why is that? Why were there 150,000-plus people in rural eastern Tennessee when races in the heart of huge population centers can't even get half that many fans these days?

Is it proof that people will pay to see good, exciting racing no matter what the economic conditions? Or is it a product of something else?

3. How do you fix the TV broadcasts?

After I tweeted about how exciting the race was on Saturday night, I got more than a few responses asking me what race I had just watched. Apparently Bristol didn't look quite as awesome for those watching at home as it did at the track.

It seems clear that there's a large disconnect between what people see on television and what they see at the track every week. You rarely hear fans who attended a race say that it was boring; more often than not, the people saying "Boring!" are those watching at home.

That brings up the NASCAR TV topic again. We're not knocking ESPN specifically, since this seems to be an industry-wide problem.

But what are people missing at home that they are seeing at the track? Or to put it the other way, what do fans get at the track that they aren't getting when they watch on TV?

Is it that the atmosphere can't be conveyed to someone sitting in their living room in Oklahoma? Is it the sensation of speed that's missing? Is it the obvious excess of commercials? Or is it something else?

For those who answered "commercials," what is the best solution? You can't simply say "Show less commercials" if there's not a solution for how the broadcasters can still make money.

Leave your comments below and tell me what you're thinking about these topics.