What a Hamilton Move to NASCAR Could Mean for the Sport

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He is arguably the most popular motorsports driver in the world.

Formula One’s Lewis Hamilton (above) has hinted at wanting to run a NASCAR race. Could we see him in NASCAR’s Great American Race, the Daytona 500. Image from Rye-House.

Crossover between drivers in different types of motorsports has not been very common, but Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton raised an interesting point, hinting that he might end up in NASCAR one day.

Hamilton, who has three world championships, has expressed his love for stock car racing and stated that one day he’d, “love to have a closer look at it.”

Several NASCAR drivers have crossed over into Indy car and completed “The Double,” where they run both Indycar’s Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, but beyond that, there has not been much crossover between drivers from different types of motorsports.

If Hamilton were to come to NASCAR full-time or even for a single race, it could do wonders for the business of the sport.

To consider how Hamilton coming to NASCAR might help the business of the sport, let’s take a look at it from the standpoint of viewership demographics.

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The 32-year-old, who has 55 F1 wins and is from England, could certainly help NASCAR draw in international fans. Nineteen different countries are represented on the 2017 F1 schedule, which means a large representation in countries across the world when it comes to viewership.

According to a New York Times article, “Formula One attracts more than 400 million viewers around the world. It is shown in more than 150 countries through 115 broadcasting partners, totaling 41,945 hours of coverage.”

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The article specifically looked at Italy’s demographics and found that F1 was more popular among 4 to 14 year olds than viewers ages 25 to 34 and fell off significantly in fans over 45.

The 2016 article stated that although F1 viewership had fallen since 2014, it was still the most watched form of motorsports.

According to a 2016 study, NASCAR’s demographic is actually comprised of fans outside the southeast United States, contrary to what many people believe.

Scarborough research found that 58% of NASCAR fans inside the United States live outside the southeast region of the country, although it does not state if that is only a study of fans in the United States. The sport is still largely male dominated, with 62% of its viewers being male, only a 1% decrease from the firm’s 2009 findings.

The NYT article noted, “Ultimately, Formula One remains the richest, most dazzling series with the most advanced car racing technology, performing on the best tracks with the best drivers.”

Hamilton would not be the first driver to move from one series to another. NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and John Andretti have all done “The Double,” running the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600, the day prior to Memorial Day.

John Andretti became the first NASCAR driver to complete “The Double” running the Verizon Indy Car’s Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Image from The Spokesman Review.

That type of crossover is good for motorsports, as it gets fans of NASCAR following the Indycar race to see how their driver fares, even if just for one race.

Speaking from experience, a multitude of NASCAR fans that attended the 2014 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway tuned into the Indy 500 to follow Busch’s progress, as the event was broadcast live on the speedway’s jumbotron.

If drivers venturing into different types of racing becomes more common, expect to see each type of motorsports gain a new demographic of fan in terms of which action they prefer.

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If Hamilton comes to NASCAR, many Formula One fans might follow. Although he remained non-committal on his plans, he did note that it interests him, saying “I think us drivers should be able to do more than one series,” before concluding with saying he’d like to enter the Daytona 500.

Will we see Lewis Hamilton enter NASCAR’s Great America Race, the Daytona 500 in the future? Stay tuned to find out.


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