Everybody watched the pit road MMA festivities between the crews of Jeff Gordon and Clint Boyer. That doesn't mean they're going to watch Sunday's race.
There's nothing wrong with NASCAR. Ratings and attendance are down but not dramatically. Popularity isn't going to suddenly spike or fall.
Years ago NASCAR's Sprint Cup became one of the majors, up there with the NFL, almost, and with baseball and basketball. The sport was fresh and featured clean-cut stars who did not belong to a union. Work stoppages weren't going to intrude.
Reality did. Racing faded about to where it should be. It does not attract the audiences football, basketball and baseball do, and is not about to.
We cling to images. Some fans consider the NHL one of the big four sports. It hasn't been for decades and, after the most recent work stoppage, won't be again.
I get criticized when I write things such as this about hockey, or racing. But television ratings, the most accurate barometer of interest in a sport, don't lie.
Besides, if I like a sport, I don't care if others do. Thus, boxing.