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Brian France Addresses Media in Daytona
Brian France has questioned the need for the RTA. (Credit: Phil Allaway)

Brian France Addresses Media in Daytona

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France doesn’t often address the media at events.  However, he likes to come to Daytona International Speedway each year and give an update on NASCAR.  France’s State of the Sport address has since become an annual part of the Coke Zero 400 weekend.

On Saturday, France did not make any big announcements during his roughly 30 minutes of media availability, but he did talk about a number of topics pertainent to the Sprint Cup Series and Sprint Cup drivers.

France first talked about the new Chase format that places emphasis on winning races.  He seems very pleased with the results so far.

“I think we can all see the benefits of changing the winning importance, and it in fact has changed the racing on the track,” France said.  “There’s no question about it.  The drivers are telling us that.  They’re taking different kind(s) of chances.  They’re going for wins when they would have played it safe otherwise.  And I think that’s just going to get more intense as we close in on Richmond and we seed the field there.”

The topic of having Sprint Cup drivers race in the Nationwide and/or Camping World Truck Series was once again a big topic of discussion.  France appears to be ok with the status quo there.  France (and NASCAR as a whole) believes that younger drivers benefit from the valuable experience of racing up against Sprint Cup regulars.  As a result, they generally favor the current setup, regardless of whether “…somebody gets on a run and tends to win more events than is normal.”

France is concerned about the barriers to entry for new ownership. He’s hoping that future rule changes make it easier to attract new teams.  France did state that “…lowering the cost of racing, getting parity where teams can come in and have success, and making ourselves more relevant to manufacturers and partners in all part of the NASCAR business model.”

The search for a new entitlement sponsor for the current Nationwide Series is apparently going quite well.

“Very good interest [with the Nationwide Series sponsorship],” France said.  I think in the coming weeks, we’ll be getting to the end of that process, and we will be in very good shape when the dust settles there.”

Recent reports have tied companies such as AutoZone to the sponsorship, but France did not reference any specific company.

Probably the two most interesting things that France said were on the topics of changes to the 2015 Sprint Cup schedule, and the recent reports of the elimination of souvenir trailers.  In regards to track changes, France said that changes could be on the horizon to the schedule with the new TV contract

“Now that the Chase format [has] changed, there’s additional interest to move [races] from one place to another,” France said.  “So, there will be a robust discussion that will be for those reasons, a more comprehensive look at what the best schedule will look like.”  France continued and stated that the 2015 Sprint Cup Schedule would be released in September.  Moving the final race of the schedule with the current Chase format has come up, but it is currently on lockdown in Homestead for the next few years.

Having said that, NASCAR does not necessarily put certain tracks “on the clock” to shape up.

“We don’t put a timeline on [improvement],” France said.  “We’re working with our track operators, the ones that have more challenges than others, and we’ll just have to work through it and try to get a good outcome.”

One track that will not host a Sprint Cup race in 2015 is Iowa Speedway, a track that NASCAR itself recently purchased.

“We don’t have plans for a Cup date [at Iowa],” France said.  “We’re working with the state representatives and others to help us build racing in Iowa to the highest level that we can, they’re doing a great job with us, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the entire effort that the communities have made in and around Iowa.”  France continued and stated that Iowa Speedway has a “nice full schedule” right now with the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Nationwide Series and the immediate future for Iowa Speedway will look similar to that.

Finally, France acknowledged the recently reported proposed replacement of souvenir trailers with a PGA-style superstore, but did not go into much detail.

“We are looking at [souvenir row], and that’s one of the benefits we have with the licensing trust that got formed a couple years ago,” France said.  “We really want to have higher quality merchandise available in more places and make it more convenient for our fans, and just how that gets done, the tracks, teams and everybody else will come together and figure that out.  We do think there’s probably some newer, better ways that we can merchandise to our fans.”

 

About Phil Allaway

Phil Allaway
Newsletter Editor for Frontstretch since mid-2008, Phil is responsible for the site’s Monday-Friday FREE e-newsletter that keeps fans up-to-date with the latest racing news, along with exclusive features and commentary. Our head news writer, Phil also doubles as our broadcast critic, keeping broadcasts honest for years with his Couch Potato Tuesday column. A writer for the Troy (NY) Record, Phil is also one of the lead reporters at Lebanon Valley Speedway in Pennsylvania every weekend during short track season.

7 comments

  1. Hey guys let’s not be too critical of Brian France otherwise Summer Bedgood is going to write an article stating that we are ungrateful, ignorant NASCAR fans and let’s face it, none of us wants that.

  2. Capt Spaulding

    Soon the only seating required, will be that of the press box……can hear the commentary from the blimp shot….”we have a packed house of objective journalists, waiting for the drop of the green flag and scripting what is about to unfold today.”

  3. France is a billionaire, so of course everything is going great. Vanishing sponsors, short fields where there was once an abundance, and the disappearance of teams at all levels have no effect on a man who doesn’t even like racing to begin with.

  4. Lying to the fans is one thing – but hopefully he does not believe his own lies. What scares me is that I think he does think everything is just great.

  5. Where to start. My daughter that despises NASCAR (it’s loud and stupid) Is more in touch with the fans than Brian France if only because she half listens to me just to be polite. The status quo in CWTS and NW is that these Cup Practice Sessions are shedding fans quicker than a swimming dog sheds fleas. No problem there. Is this guy really that out of touch? Or is it that nobody around him including the press ever tells him what is going on? Is he that incompetent? Or, does he just not give a shit about the consumers of his product. The man fascinates me.