NASCAR fans excited for race weekend in KCK despite national attendance trend

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- NASCAR fans will flock to Kansas Speedway this weekend to see their favorite drivers hit the track.

“It`s awesome. I love the town, the rumble, the races,” NASCAR fan Ryan Pierce said.

The KC Masterpiece 400 is the first of NASCAR’s two annual visits to Kansas Speedway. It kicks off with the Camping World Truck Series for a 250-mile race at 7:30 p.m. Friday and the Monster Energy Cup Series for a 400-mile race at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“I went to both races last year, the spring and fall. Big Martin Truex Jr. fan, I saw him when those monster races. This is my third time to come see the trucks and the monster so I`m pretty excited,” 11-year-old Nathaniel Young said.

Young and his family traveled from Springfield, Missouri, to see this race.

“I like coming here definitely because of the atmosphere and watching the cars go by and trying to read their numbers,” Young said.

This young fan says it's much better to watch NASCAR in person than on TV.

“It`s totally different, you get to wear your headphones, listen to the different driverschannels. You get to watch them do the burnouts live, smell the smoke,” Young explained.

But not everyone agrees. Over the past 10 years the sport has experienced a significant dip in attendance.

NASCAR doesn't release attendance figures for its races, but venues across the country have removed thousands of seats in recent years. Fans have their own theories about what could help the sport regain traction.

“I think they need to start promoting these young drivers. Nobody knows their names like they did Jeff Gordon, Dale Jr. You don`t hear about them unless you watch the race,” Pierce said.

Others say, there needs to be a bigger focus on attracting young fans.

“When I go to other events and most of them are free to kids, that helps. It gets the youth out more and involved. Maybe if they did that they`d get more fans out here,” NASCAR fan Todd Bergholf said.

Still, many are optimistic about the sports future, and excited for this weekends events.

“It`s so intense, all the time, there's always something to be watching, something you should be looking at,” Young said.