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NASCAR CEO Talks Top Issues In Daytona Beach

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 6 2012

NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France held his year mid-season press conference on Friday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR’s summer visit to Daytona is traditionally considered the mid-point of the racing season.

It’s also an opportunity for NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France to meet the media to address a wide-range of questions related to the sport.

On the eve of Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, the third-generation leader of NASCAR touched on topics such as mandatory cautions, new technology, renegotiating the television package, the 2013 schedule, shortening races and the new Sprint Cup car slated to debut next season.

On mandatory cautions: “What we’re not going to do are gimmicky things,” France said. “I’ve heard we ought to throw a caution every ten laps. That’s nonsense. We won’t do gimmicky things. But we’ll do things that incentivize performance, incentivize wins. That we are open to. The wildcard does that. It does it in an authentic way.

“Double file restarts get us better racing action. Anything that gets something better on the track and doesn’t employ a gimmick, we’d be reasonably open to.”

On new technology: “We’re working on a glass dashboard that is in the early stages, which is not inconsistent because the car manufacturers and some already there are coming with their own version of glass cockpits in passenger cars.

“So we’ll be very careful how we get there, but we’ll be looking at such things as that and many other things.”

On negotiations with the networks on a new television package: “Well, we’re getting into the time line where we’re having serious discussions about what the future will look like. We have our incumbents, some of the best partners we’ve ever had. We’ll have to see how that goes.

“The good news for NASCAR and frankly any high‑powered sports content is there is a lot of demand for it. So the sport will be in very good shape, and we’re looking forward to those discussions and how they materialize.”

On next year’s schedule: “I don’t think there will be any dramatic changes in 2013. There may be a few things here or there, but I wouldn’t anticipate a big change.”

On shortening races: “Any information shows that people have more to do, more devices to play with and get information from, and as a result, their attention span is shorter.

“We’ve shortened events. It’s generally worked well. At Pocono it worked well, California worked well, Dover has worked well. We’ll look at that.”

On the new Cup car slated to debut in 2013: “(The manufacturers) had a lot more input, as the teams have had, in this car, than we certainly did in the car in 2007.

“So that’s just going to get us better results. The answer is given how important Daytona is to the season and the biggest event, my sense is we’ll see quite a bit of testing as we go down the road here in Daytona.”

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 6 2012
2 Comments

2 Comments »

  • Dennis says:

    You skipped the part where Brian acknowledged that fans are complaining about the number of commercials and then danced around the issue. I take that to mean that NASCAR has no intention of mandating fewer commercials during contract negotiations. I don’t know why I bother spending 3 hours to watch a race and waste more than an hour of my time sitting through commercials.

    NASCAR is not about the fans, it’s about maximizing revenue. What we have is an aero-push spec series where we get to cheer for our favourite decals pretending they are Chevys, Fords, Dodges and Toyotas. Combine that with broadcasters, save SPEED’s truck coverage, where the camera director thinks we want to see a tight shot of a single car going around the track instead of showing us the racing and what do you have left?

    No wonder ratings have fallen since 2006 when NASCAR had gotten a fresh influx of new fans. There is nothing to keep their interest and for us older fans, there is nothing for us either.

    Maybe Brian will get tired of his toy and move onto something else leaving someone who is an actual race fan to fix the mess.

  • SAB says:

    Irony! The King of Gimmicks (the ‘chase’, the lucky dog, the top 35 rule) says he won’t consider using gimmicks!