A new economic study claims America's economic downturn is directly affecting NASCAR and its fans.
The study, conducted by the pro-market think tank Public Notice and Race Fans 4 Freedom, found attendance at America's fastest growing sport has fallen per year below 4 million people since 2009 -- and continues to decline.
Lower attendance was influenced by current economic factors such as rising unemployment rates, higher gas prices and dwindling disposable incomes.
The value of the sport itself was also threatened by plummeting race company stocks and the loss of lucrative sponsorships.
"The days of $25 million sponsorship deals appears to be over for the time being, sending teams scrambling for support," the study said.
Before prices bottomed out in 2009, stock prices for the two major track companies, International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports, Inc., were on the rise from 2002 to 2007.
Now more than ever NASCAR has fewer drivers and, in turn, less competition.
Founder of Race Fans 4 Freedom Liz Dyar pointed to the sport's 75 million fans as a "great snapshot" of the country.
With many of them hailing from swing states like Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida, Dyar expects their views on the economy under President Obama to play heavily into this year's election.
For more on the impact NASCAR fans could have on the 2012 election go to, click here.
*Originally aired on May 18, 2012.