NASCAR has fallen on hard times. The conventional thinking is that a lingering recession is to blame, but there is another reason as well: As sports go, NASCAR is boring if loud and makes the slow-paced game of Major League Baseball, which is doing quite well, thank you, positively exciting.
As excuses go, the recession is a pretty lame one for NASCAR to use. The rough-and-tumble aspects of what used to be called stock car racing have long ago been bred out. The cars themselves barely resemble what mere mortals drive. Races are hum-drum predictable and unlike Formula 1 and Grand Prix racing, a single raindrop can bring a race to a halt.
Meanwhile, the recession seems to have passed MLB by. With seven weeks left in one of the most exciting seasons in memory, no fewer than nine teams already have drawn over two million fans.
The Yankees and Phillies are on pace to draw over three million, and virtually every game at Citizens Banks Park in South Philly is a sellout thanks in no small part to Roy Halladay (above, right), who has notched a perfect game (one of an unprecedented two in the majors this year) and is on course to win at least 20.
Photograph by Darron Cummings/The Associated Press