France Believes NASCAR Meeting Goals

Brian France

France met with the media on Friday at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)

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NASCAR CEO Brian France gave his annual mid-season update Friday afternoon when he met with the media at Daytona International Speedway.

Overall France said he was pleased with the first half of the 2012 season and the on track product across all three of NASCAR’s top divisions. He is particularly pleased with the many story lines that have punctuated the first five months of the campaign.

“I think if you see some of the things that are going on, we're encouraged by that,” said France. “By that I mean some of the story lines and how it's shaping up. You've got Dale Jr., obviously, in contention, won a race, competing hard, could be a factor in the Chase. That would be a good thing for him, for sure, and everybody else.

“I think there are also some interesting things with Jeff Gordon and where he is on the outside looking in, and probably is going to have to win a wildcard slot, going to have to win a couple of races at least as he goes down the stretch. So that's kind of what we want shaping up to try to match the intensity and competitive zeal of last year's Chase which was probably our best ever. Our goal is to build on that.”

France reiterated what he said earlier in the year regarding innovation in the sport and technical advancements. He acknowledged the Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina would be playing a greater role in NASCAR including the development of the 2013 Sprint Cup car as well as other advancements that are further down the road.

“It's going to mean doing things with technology inside the car, balancing that issue that we always have -- which is not to drive the cost unnecessarily up on the team owners, but be more relevant in the technology space,” said France.

“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.”

While the development of the 2013 Cup car continues to move along, France said next year’s schedule is also on course but that he doesn’t expect any significant changes.

However he did add the sanctioning body is looking at the possibility of shortening more races as an idea to enhance competition.

“I don't think there will be any dramatic changes in 2013,” he said. “There may be a few things here or there, but I wouldn't anticipate a big change.

“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. Some of the events that we've done. We'll look at that.”

But France said the concept of throwing mandatory caution flags in an effort to increase competition and tighten up the field as was suggested by Speedway Motorsports Inc. head Bruton Smith last week is not on NASCAR’s radar.

“It's a very clear line to us,” he said. “What we're not going to do are gimmicky things. 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.”

The bottom line for NASCAR is to provide and create the best possible competition and on track product and France feels the sanctioning body is using a variety of initiatives to reach that goal in 2012.

“So our goal is to use what I've said, which is a lot more science than art for us to keep up, solve issues, create rules packages on intermediate tracks and alike that produce closer, more competitive racing,” said France. “That is the stated goal. We're doing a number of things to achieve that.”

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