Brad Keselowski on the Media: He Believes Fans Want to See Fights and Conflicts

“That’s what the people wanna see. It seems that way. Doesn’t mean it’s always right.“

by Sead Dedovic
Brad Keselowski on the Media: He Believes Fans Want to See Fights and Conflicts
© Meg Oliphant/Getty Images Sport

What attracts the attention of many NASCAR fans, especially those who aren't typical motorsport fans, are the dramatic moments, fights, and conflicts that often occur on the track. These incidents add an element of excitement to every race, sparking debates and discussions among fans. 

NASCAR boasts a large fan base, and each driver attracts huge attention. In recent times, we've witnessed a lot of conflicts that have captured the interest of fans. However, a question arises: Are such things truly necessary in NASCAR?

What's interesting is how social media has become a platform where these events are greatly boosted. Videos of fights and conflicts quickly go viral, capturing the attention of a wider audience that may not typically follow NASCAR. This creates additional media interest in the sport, potentially increasing viewership and audience engagement. However, there's a debate about how such incidents align with the sport itself and its reputation.

Brad Keselowski, a NASCAR legend, recently discussed such situations in a media interview. Keselowski highlights that the moments that true NASCAR fans and drivers would likely appreciate seeing in the media are often absent. However, as an experienced figure, he is aware that scandals, fights, and conflicts tend to attract attention. The latest in a series was the one between Stenhouse Jr. and Busch, as all popular media platforms reported such news. This is likely what people want to see, although it can be debated for days.

“Some of the moments that I think we would like to break through as a sport to no offense to you guys, non-traditional media, that grows our sport, doesn’t seem to do that but then somebody throws a punch and all of a sudden we’re on all sorts of non-traditional media. I just have a lot of empathy for NASCAR. If I was in their shoes, I don’t know how I’d handle it any different.“- Keselowski said, as quoted by On3.

In today's modern sport, there's a noticeable shift in the behavior and interests of sports fans. Fans nowadays often show more interest in controversies, scandals, and dramatic events than in the actual game or sports results. Instead of appreciating remarkable sporting achievements, many focus more on fights, conflicts between players, or something else.

This can be particularly seen in NASCAR, where sometimes more attention is given to on-track or off-track incidents than to the races and the drivers' sporting achievements. 

Keselowski has indeed noticed such a change among fans, as well as in the media, aware that such headlines and news bring them views and clicks. The media greatly benefits from sensational headlines.

“That’s what the people wanna see. It seems that way. Doesn’t mean it’s always right, in fact, often they wanna see it because it’s not right. But we are still an entertainment-based business.”- he said.

There's a trend where the younger generation is showing less interest in sports events. Instead of being actively engaged in following sports results and competitions, many young people are more focused on controversies and dramas surrounding sports events. For them, following sports news may be more about entertainment than genuine interest in the game or its outcomes.

On the other hand, older and more experienced sports enthusiasts are often less willing to get involved in dramas and controversies. Instead, they focus more on the core of the sport, such as sports skills, their favorite drivers and results. For them, sports events are more about appreciating drivers who demonstrate top performance.

Denny Hamlin on Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch's conflict

The whole story about the media and incidents was sparked by the latest in a series, as we've already mentioned, the one between Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch. The two of them, after their conflict on the track, continued their feud off the track. The situation escalated into a fight, with reactions varying. 

Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin© Sean Gardner/Getty Images Sport

Some questioned who was at fault, while others questioned why two drivers with well-known names in the NASCAR world would engage in such behavior. Denny Hamlin shared his opinion on his podcast, emphasizing that it's difficult to decide whose side to take in this conflict. Hamlin believes that Busch probably acted correctly in that situation and highlighted the fact that Stenhouse often finds himself in such situations.

“This is difficult. This is one of those difficult positions that I find myself in. Because I try not to pick sides, but I’ll call it how I see it," Hamlin said.

“Let’s go back to the on-track stuff. I see both sides, however, my driving style supports a little more of Kyle’s side, because I believe that there are times where Ricky finds himself in these situations, because he puts himself in these situations."

Brad Keselowski