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Attendance at Nascar Sputters

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The roar of the racetrack isn’t as alluring now to recession-weary Americans.

So says the New York Times, which reports that after years of jam-packed races, sky-high television ratings and record merchandise sales, Nascar has seen attendance at nearly every track slip this year as fans continue to cut costs.

“Other sports leagues have been hurt the past two years,” the Gray Lady notes. “But Nascar — with its heavier reliance on working-class fans, low fuel prices and the beleaguered auto industry — has suffered disproportionately.”

“Through the first 22 races this season, attendance declined at 16 races compared with a year ago. About 140,000 fans attended the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis this year, half as many as in 2007.”

Of course, it isn’t just Nascar fans adjusting their spending habits in response to this Great Recession. U.S. consumers, reacting to this lousy labor market, are trying harder to save and pay down debt: over the past 12 months, personal saving is up $641.9 billion while borrowing is down $87.6 billion.

As well, Nascar-related stocks have also taken a hit. International Speedway (ISCA) is down 7.5% year-to-date, Speedway Motorsports (TRK) is down nearly 17% and Dover Motorsports (DVD) is down 23%.

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.