Date of Award

6-2010

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Lisa M. DeChano-Cook

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles W. Emerson

Third Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

My research studied the socio-demographics of NASCAR fans and analyzed their hometowns. The purpose of this study was to compare two speedway locations to determine the characteristics of a "typical" NASCAR fan and find out where they came from. Surveys were conducted at two locations, Darlington Speedway (Darlington, South Carolina) and Michigan International Speedway (Brooklyn, Michigan). Also, I wanted to know if there was a difference between fans that attend races at 'southern tracks' compared to 'northern tracks.' In addition to the original survey data, ESPN's polling data were used for with both locations to compare the demographics from my study.

The study shows the sport has changed within the past decade and is no longer confined to the rural South but is now popular throughout North America. Two tracks are used in this study: Darlington Speedway (Darlington) and Michigan International Speedway (MIS). Results show that Darlington had more attraction power than MIS because of the tracks history in the sport and its unique shape. Fans were willing to travel farther distances to Darlington than MIS. There are also regional variations among fan demographics that were expected between the Southeast and the Midwest. At both locations, the fans were similar in many respects and the sport increasingly attracts people from all walks of life.

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