Derrick Crutcher, 45, of Athens, Alabama, has enjoyed racing for decades (“I’d watch guys race lawn mowers, man”). But even though he lives just two hours by car from Talladega Superspeedway, he has never attended a race there.
“I’d love to go,” Crutcher said, “but I’m not going down there until I feel safe.”
Brown and Reynolds both said they would not feel comfortable going to Talladega, either.
This was NASCAR’s predicament personified: longtime, loyal fans who refused to visit one of the sport’s premier venues because they could not imagine feeling welcome there.
But could NASCAR’s steps this month signal a cultural transformation that might alter Crutcher’s stance? He paused to consider the thought.
“It could happen,” he said, finally. “It could. Someday, if we get the feeling the wind is blowing in the right direction, we’ll try. Who knows?”