Coming to the defense of teams, players and a sport at large isn’t an instinct that Joe Gibbs abandoned when he retired from coaching in the NFL.
A recent report from the Wall Street Journal, titled “NASCAR, Once a Cultural Icon, Hits the Skid” dives into the sport’s recent struggles with attendance and viewership, and goes into detail about some of NASCAR’s issues on the corporate level. Joe Gibbs Racing’s eponymous owner says the sport is doing fine, however, and cites recent changes as evidence.
“Think about our sport. Three years ago we completely changed the Chase. Huge, big decision. We now have charters. In one year working with Brian France, NASCAR, the owners were able to put together charters. Huge deal for us,” Gibbs said this week during a press conference at Daytona International Speedway, via Motorsport.com. “We come back this year, and in a short period of time, we now have stage racing. I would say that (the report) is so far off, nothing could be farther from the truth.”
Changes aren’t the only reasons for Gibbs’ confidence in NASCAR. High-profile sponsors, too, indicate the sport still has plenty of value.
“Our sport, as far as I’m concerned, has a bright future,” Gibbs said. “I think you don’t get the biggest and best companies in America involved in our sport and going as hard as they are and re‑upping and signing unless you’ve got a sport that brings value to the table.”
Gibbs apparently was interviewed for the WSJ piece, but says his comments didn’t suit the agenda of the reporting.
“I was interviewed for that article, and there wasn’t one comment I made that was in that article, or there was no slant to anything in there,” Gibbs said. “And so think about this for a minute: What was brought up in that article is that the management team, Brian France, Lesa and everybody, it’s hard for them to make good decisions, fast decisions. I think nothing could be farther from the truth.”
Whether Gibbs wants to say NASCAR is struggling or not, it’s hard to argue this isn’t a huge year for the sport.
Thumbnail photo via Sam Sharpe/USA TODAY Sports Images