A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF NASCAR FAN IDENTITY
The purpose of this research study was to provide a rich and thick description of what it means to be a NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Racing) fan. Specifically, the researcher examined how NASCAR fans create their sport fan identity, how being a NASCAR fan influences their overall identity, and the social and cultural aspects associated with being a NASCAR fan. The participants consisted of 12 (10 male & 2 female) self-identified NASCAR fans in attendance at one of three races
... f three races (Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL; Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Justin, TX; or the Richmond 400 at the Richmond International Raceway (RIR) in Richmond, VA) during the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed, yielding four major themes. The themes that emerged included: (a) entry into NASCAR, (b) being A NASCAR Fan, (c) "ya'll NASCAR fans": fan camaraderie, and (d) win on Sunday...sell on Monday. In general, the participants expressed that their entrance into the sport of NASCAR had been facilitated by close friends and family. Whether they grew up going to the racetrack with their family or were persuaded by a close friend to attend a race, the experience of attending a NASCAR Sprint Cup event propelled them on a lifelong journey following the sport. All of the participants articulated their affinity for fellow NASCAR fans and spending time with other fans at the track, serving as a way of enhancing their sport fan identity. The NASCAR fans in this study also expressed that the amount of sponsorship within the sport was something that they viewed as having an impact on their behavior as a consumer, with many having noted they try to exclusively purchase NASCAR sponsor brands. Recommendations for researchers based on the interviews are also discussed.