NASCAR Still Searching for that Big but Elusive Hispanic Market

NASCAR wants to grow its Hispanic audience. This has been a decade-plus struggle. But one that’s likely worth the effort — should it pay off. This weekend’s Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum is an important part of NASCAR’s outreach and growth strategy.

The fact that this year’s opening race takes place in the heart of Los Angeles is no coincidence.

NASCAR Vice President Chad Siegler recently told Motorsport that “if you look at the largest population of Mexican Hispanics, the largest single concentration outside of Mexico City is Los Angeles. For us, as we look at growing a fan base outside the U.S., it’s a no-brainer.”

Mexican Culture and the Love of Motorsport

On its site, NASCAR stakes its position: “NASCAR has gone international. For most of its life, the sport that started out as Strictly Stock was strictly American. All of the drivers were American, and all of the races were in the United States.”

This is changing, and it’s taking place not just on the racetrack.

NASCAR’s efforts to grow its Hispanic audience now also includes cultural outreach. To that end,  NASCAR just released LA Lifestyle: How Mexican culture has shaped the city of Los Angeles and its love of motorsport on its official YouTube channel.

This 9-minute video short is a vivid portrait of Los Angeles and Mexican car culture.

The short is hosted by Regina Sirvent, a NASCAR Mexico driver, and Max Gutierrez, a NASCAR Mexico driver who also drives the No. 22 Ford F-150 for AM Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Although brief, the video is a celebration of Hispanic car culture. Lowriders, pinstriping, airbrushing of classic cars, and engine hacking, are all prominently featured.

As the narrator remarks, the bond is that we “share the love of motorsport.”

The Growing Hispanic Audience

Presently, there are only 2 active Mexican-born drivers in NASCAR, in any series. Of these, only Daniel Suarez is racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. Daniel Suarez. No. 99, drives for Trackhouse Racing. This is his his seventh season in the NASCAR Cup Series and his third with Trackhouse. The team is co-owned by Pitbull.

Suarez was the first Mexican-born driver to win a Cup Series race, winning at Sonoma in 2022. He won the Xfinity championship back in 2016. Last year, Suarez landed a big multi-year contract with Trackhouse Racing. Suarez finished 19th in the 2023 standings. Suarez will take part in the NASCAR Mexico Series race set to precede The Clash.

The Hispanic population in the United States is about 65 million — roughly 20% of the total population. In an analysis of the Latino sports audience market in America, FastCompany noted that “Latinos love sports.” Adding, “at $2.8 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP), the U.S. Latino economy is larger than all but five countries worldwide.” 

There’s more. “Of Hispanic males, 94% identify as sports fans and more than half, 56%, are “avid” fans. Latinos tend to go to sporting events weekly about two times more than other fans (emphasis added).”

The NFL has spent years cultivating the Hispanic market. NASCAR is following suit, while also leaning on a shared car culture they hope will pay off big.

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