Meet The Press

AVONDALE, Az. - A day after delivering some revolutionary news, NASCAR's leaders explained the sanctioning body's decision on capping multi-car teams to the media.

NASCAR CEO Brian France and President Mike Helton held a press conference Friday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway to address the sanctioning body's new team cap rule - or as some members of the press have dubbed it, "The Roush Rule," in honor of car owner Jack Roush who owns five NEXTEL Cup teams.

"I can understand that," France said. "He is the only one with five teams, so it's very understandable he's disappointed. But this is not focused on Jack Roush. He just happens to be the guy who stands out and is affected most."

NASCAR will mandate that teams field no more than four cars beginning in 2006, a decision that will force Roush to scale back. Roush Racing President Geoff Smith was under the impression that a "grandfather clause" would help Roush with the transition, particularly since most of the team's sponsors are signed through 2009.

But Friday, France was making no guarantees.

"The idea is to have a transition that's a soft of a landing a possible for Roush," France said. "We're not looking to penalize him for anything he has in place. But there has to be at some point a transition to get him where everybody else has to be. We will work in the coming months and years get him to that without crippling his organization."

Single car entities are pretty much non-existent in NASCAR racing these days with multi-car operations - like Roush, Hendrick Motorsports, Ganassi Racing and Evernham Motorsports - dominating the sport. Helton said that the new cap rule is intended to lift the barrier new teams face when competing in NASCAR.

"It has been since 1994 that a single-car team owner has won a championship," Helton said. "If we allowed the current trend to keep going, down the road 10 years we might be saying that it has been since 2005 than a car owner with two teams has won a title."

Roush is still upset by the limit, even though he vowed his support of NASCAR racing in the future.

"The thing they did by picking on five rather than four is they singled me out," Roush said. "I'm the only guy with five viable teams and the worst of all scenarios is we put all five of them in the Chase and, of course, that gave the bonus to our sponsors for the exposure that they got for being involved with us rather than somebody else and they want to diminish it to some extent."

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