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September 3, 2015

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Statistical report offers a beyond-the-stereotype look at NASCAR fans

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Sam Morris

Left to right, Kimberly Goven, Joanie Twitchell and Kris Jackson cheer on their favorite drivers at the NASCAR Camping World Las Vegas 350 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

They’re more likely than most Americans to own an all-terrain vehicle and a mobile home, or be planning to buy one in the next year.

They’re pretty likely to call a Southern city home.

And they’re slightly less likely than the general population to have a college degree.

In some ways, a statistical analysis of NASCAR fans by Scarborough Research affirms the stereotypical image of the sport’s followers as rural, Southern good ol’ boys.

But before you think the average NASCAR fan is a “Dukes of Hazzard” character come to life, Scarborough Marketing and Public Relations Manager Haley Dercher says the report offers some information that might surprise you.

For starters, they aren’t all ol’ boys, as NASCAR draws a concentration of female fans comparable to the level in several other sports — 37 percent. Forget the image of the sport’s fans being poor folk, too. They’re 3 percent more likely than the population at large to have a household income of $75,000 or more and just 2 percent less likely to be at the $100,000 level, Dercher said. In what may be a related statistic, they’re 7 percent more likely to be married — and therefore pooling resources.

What’s more, the statistics would strongly suggest they’ve got a substantial amount of disposable income.

“Is $100,000 a lot of income in New York City? No,” she said. “Is it in Charlotte (N.C.)? Probably.”

Dercher picked Charlotte for her comparison because it’s one of the top markets for NASCAR fans. Other cities with above-average concentrations of fans are Greensboro, N.C.; Roanoke, Va.; Greenville, S.C.; and Orlando, Fla.

Las Vegas? It’s not even in the top 25.

With this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race expected to attract well over 100,000 visitors to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, though, local business operators might be interested to know that NASCAR fans apparently like to toss around their disposable income, too.

Scarborough’s report shows fans are 13 percent more likely than the general population to buy a computer in the next year, 23 percent more likely to buy a DVD player and 39 percent more likely to buy a satellite radio system.

As for what they already own, they’re 80 percent more likely to have an ATV, 29 percent more likely to have a mobile home and 61 percent more likely to own a boat.

The Scarborough numbers are based on broader market surveys of about 300,000 people per year. Respondents are selected at random and are interviewed by telephone.

One NASCAR statistic that jumped out at Dercher was fans’ age breakdown. Compared to other sports, NASCAR’s fans tend to be grayer, with survey respondents ages 18 to 29 being 13 percent less likely than the general population of all ages to identify themselves as NASCAR fans.

“With that young demographic, which you’d think would be interested in speed and who are probably buying cars, you might think would they’d be into NASCAR,” she said. “But it’s their parents and grandparents who are more interested.”

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