France Looks Ahead
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on October 29, 2013 | 10:18 P.M. EST
NASCAR Chairman Brian France says series officials are working to enhance the racing at 1.5-mile speedways next year. (Photo: Getty Images)
NASCAR Chairman Brian France reiterated the sanctioning body’s desire to improve the racing next season at the 1.5-mile tracks, and he believes the sport will add a new manufacturer in the future. France made those comments during an appearance Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Sirius Speedway.’’
France did not give a timetable for when a new manufacturer would enter the sport, joining Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota.
“The U.S. is the largest car market in the world,’’ France said. “We’ll always be a critical market. My sense is at some point we’ll be welcoming a new manufacturer in and we’ll be happy to do that.’’
A more immediate task for France, though, is enhancing the racing at 1.5-mile tracks.
“I’m really excited about what our competition group is working on,’’ France said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We had an important test a couple of weeks ago (at Charlotte) and an important meeting last Thursday with the crew chiefs and the drivers.
“I think you’re going to see already good racing get elevated a notch or two if some of the things that we think are doable can happen. We have a dedicated group working only on what is the best package we can come with, in particular, on the mile-and-a-halves that give the most drivers an opportunity to pass (and) to win.
“Candidly we’re evolving our approach to things. I use the words more science than art, more fact-based things as we go into testing. We’re marrying that with our institutional knowledge, what makes the cars easier to drive, easier to pass. That’s what what NASCAR is all about.
NASCAR has scheduled an test Dec. 9 at Charlotte Motor Speedway to refine potential rule changes for next season. Several Sprint Cup teams are expected to participate.
France praised the racing last weekend at Martinsville Speedway. He also mentioned the incident between Kevin Harvick and Ty Dillon in the Camping World Truck Series race where contact was made and both spun while racing for second late in that event.
“All of that is a part of NASCAR,’’ France said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “When you’re talking about late in the race, listen, this is a contact sport. We have gotten where we’ve gotten because we’re able to have the best drivers in the world, the best team owners, and then give them a package that creates the most exciting racing. We don’t always get it right, but we’re really working diligently to make sure that we do as much as possible.’’
France also said that NASCAR’s recent announcement that drivers in its national series will be required to have baseline concussion testing done before next season as an example of the sport’s proactive stance toward safety.
“The safety of our drivers, that supersedes everything,’’ he said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “I think we’ve had a pretty good track record of trying to achieve that.’’