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NASCAR, Talladega an amazing experience
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     I have been to the mecca of marketing and it wasn't in New York, Chicago, or Atlanta. It was this past weekend in Talladega, Alabama.
      My husband and I took our two teenagers to see their cousin John Wes Townley compete in the Saturday Nationwide NASCAR race at the famed racetrack near Birmingham. Let me just tell you, NASCAR has it down "stone cold."
      You would think that in these dicey economic times when racing teams are striving to keep sponsors that the race day experience might be toned down a little. Oh no, quite the opposite.
      The vendors - from large corporations to small independents - were there in mass with smiles on their faces as they talked to and entertained anyone that walked by. I don't know how many vendors were set up adjacent to the racetrack, but there were dozens. They could not have been friendlier or more into the scene itself.
      They have figured out how to cater to their audience - it is with the same passion that the audience/fans bring to the sport. On top of that, the "race track" caters to the fan in much the same fashion.
      From free parking and letting you bring in your own little cooler with the food and drink of your choice to issuing passes allowing you to go in and out of the track facility itself, the race track and NASCAR know its fan base. Race fans want to have a good time, without a lot of hassle, and they want to do it on a budget.
      I remember when my husband and I were first married and we could bring something to eat and drink into Braves baseball games in Atlanta. We went to see so many of those because it was relatively inexpensive, i.e., in my book, fan friendly.
      With the cost of tickets, parking, and refreshments, going to see most professional sports has become prohibitive for many. And that's a shame.
      NASCAR knows this, and they appear to be determined to keep the cost to their fan as low as they possibly can. It is clear that their fans appreciate this as you will not find a more rabid, knowledgeable group about their sport or one more loyal to those companies that sponsor it.
      Say what you will about NASCAR, it is a marketing machine to be reckoned with catering to an estimated fan base of 75 million and growing. My advice - if you are a marketing student - get yourself to a big time NASCAR race and see how the pros do it. It is truly remarkable and a ton of fun.