You're correct Ian - the National Championship Air Races do have their issues. Its a sad reflection on their inability to engage and attract spectators that the editor of one of the world's major pilot magazines hasn't been to Reno yet!
The blog was written by Marilyn Dash, one of the biplane pilots who has been racing at Reno for many years, so she speaks fairly authoritavely about what's going on. I too have a reasonable understanding, having been to Reno most years recently.
The current state of the races and the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) that runs them wasn't helped by the tragic accident back in 2011 that resulted in vastly increased insurance premiums, but it was exacerbated last year (2013) by a debacle during which RARA and the pilot group representing the Unlimited Class (i.e. big warbirds) couldn't agree on revised race rules - revisions that came about in part from an FAA requirement to cut risk to the crowd, but which resulted in a significantly reduced entry line-up and fewer race heats at the top end of the race meeting. And in reality, its the Unlimiteds that most of the casual crowd go to Reno to see. There are signs that RARA are trying turn things around - rather than doing things internally, a media company that works with other major sporting events like golf and motor racing has been appointed to promote the event, and RARA has slowly started to embrace the digital broadcast and social media arena. Somehow though, to attract the sponsorship and gate receipts they need to make the event financially robust and viable (as both a self-financing event and for the pilots / teams that attend that need a good prize purse), they need to extend engagement beyond hardcore air race fans, pilots and aviation enthusiasts and move air racing to a similar level to NASCAR/Indycar - I don't think that's going to be easy.
You really should go this year if you get the chance Ian, but don't bother with buying a pit pass - request media accreditation in advance instead!
RARA look after media really well (well, they did until they let the media and marketing team go late last year, so things might be different this year!), and trips out to some of the pylons during the races are eminently possible... You'll enjoy it if you go, I'm absolutely sure of that!
Pardon me for clogging up this thread with a few of my shots, most taken out at the pylons...