FIA’s Todt Gets DIS Tour
By Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer
Daytona Beach, Fla. – On a hot Friday at Daytona International Speedway, FIA President Jean Todt toured the NASCAR garage in the company of John Darby, the Sprint Cup director, Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition for NASCAR and Nick Craw, the American representative to the FIA.
Todt, who became the first FIA president to visit during a Sprint Cup race weekend, said it was a logical step for him to visit America’s most popular series. “In doing my program I wanted to see this kind of racing,” he said.
Craw, who serves as the president of the FIA Senate, characterized Todt’s visit as a cultural exchange.
“It’s an opportunity to better understand the NASCAR business model,” said Craw. “It’s very different from how they do things in Europe. It’s a chance for him to understand and to see how things are done and to meet people, to see how the culture works here.”
According to Craw, an exchange would be helpful for Formula One, the FIA’s premier series. “F1 racing is not always fan friendly and tends to be exclusive,” said Craw. “They tend to keep people out rather than bring them in. I wanted (the FIA) to understand how it works at Daytona.”
The group wound its way among the various NASCAR inspection stations as the Sprint Cup cars made their way through the line prior to qualifying. At Daytona, due to the set-up of the Fan Zone, fans have a chance to watch each stage of the inspection process.
Todt frequently asked questions during the tour. Prior to his election last year as the FIA president, the Frenchman was an accomplished team manager in F1, World Rally and at the Le Mans 24-hour. Michael Schumacher won five of his seven world championships at Ferrari when the team was under Todt’s direction and Kimi Raikkonen won the title for Ferrari in 2007 under Todt.
As the president of the Automobile Competition Committee of the United States, Craw is delegate from the U.S. to the FIA. Comprised of the major American sanctioning bodies, ACCUS was established to represent U.S. interests with the FIA after the AAA Contest Board dissolved its role as a race organizer following the fan tragedy at Le Mans in 1955.
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