Dewar Visits 'NASCAR Live'

NASCAR

NASCAR president Brent Dewar was a guest on this week’s edition of MRN’s “NASCAR Live” and touched on a wide array of topics. (Photo: Getty Images)

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NASCAR president Brent Dewar was a guest on this week’s edition of MRN’s “NASCAR Live” and touched on a wide array of topics.

On the eve of the 2018 season that will see Chevrolet campaign the LR1 Camaro in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series replacing the SS model, Dewar addressed the possibility of other manufacturers joining the sport.

“Nothing to announce right now on the manufacturer front,’’ Dewar said. “We have a cadence to come in. The earliest one would be able to join would be 2020. We have entry ramps that come in. We have been in conversations with a number of manufacturers.”

As for the possibility of more manufacturers coming in Dewar said the sanctioning body would welcome at least two more to join Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota who are currently in the sport.

“I think optimally four or five is the right number for what we’re looking at,” he said. “We’ve got a great series in sports car that focuses primary on the luxury brands. That is the IMSA Series. The NASCAR series is the mass brands, the Toyotas the Chevrolets,  and the Fords and their competitors. We think there are a couple of more brands in America that would be perfectly suited to come join us and race against their competitors. We work very hard at keeping the sport in front of them.

“We had a number of them at the track last year, joining us, seeing the events and the direction where we’re taking the sport. It’s a work in progress and it’s one of the ones that I personally lead.’’

Last year brought the introduction of stage racing to NASCAR’s top tier. There has been some discussion about tweaking the format for 2018 including the possibility of not counting laps between stages. However Dewar was non-committal about any potential changes for the upcoming season.

“I think we’ll continue to modify it,” he said. “We’ve done a lot research on this. When you have 80 million fans we’re going to have people with an opinion on everything, but I don’t think it’s as concerning as maybe some of the conversation at this point. We continue to fine tune and look at how to refine and make those adjustments. We bring the councils together  and that’s one of the things that we have on our list to continue to discuss.’’

Overall the concept of stage racing was considered a success by NASCAR.

“We’re really happy with stage racing,” Dewar said. “I think it was a good example of the collaboration where the industry came together with the idea of stage racing, so we’re very happy with that.’’

One change that has been confirmed for the 208 campaign is the reduction of at track team personnel including limiting pit crews from six to five members. Dewar said one of the criteria for the change was to bring more attention to the sport’s team concept.

“We’ve focused very strongly on our star power of the drivers, but it’s really evolved over the time period we’ve gone to low downforce on the cars and a lot of the strategy that has gone into it,” he said. “We really want to emphasize it’s the team.

“It’s the crew chief and the driver, but it’s the team that brings it together. … What we love about NASCAR is the pit stops and so this effort of five over the wall and the crew and identifying the pit crew with their numbers at the track, you’ll start to see and understand the names of the people that make a championship team, a high quality team, that’s the method behind it, that’s the logic behind what we’re trying to achieve. I think what you’ll see with five over the wall and the rules we have is we’ll really to start to focus on the athleticism, these great athletes that are really unlike any other motorsports that will be coming over the wall.’’

Finally Dewar provided an update on the status of title sponsor Monster Energy, which will again sponsor the top division in 2018 but has asked for an extension before decided whether to extend the company’s current two-year agreement.

“They signed late in the season,’ Dewar said of the contract that was inked in December of 2016.  “I worked with them very closely in bringing them to the sport. They were just looking to have a full season. They had to December 31st. We’ve given them an extension to go through the evaluation.

“There’s no question it was a great season with them and any kind of metric that we run we hit the ball out the park with them. They’re different. We’re excited. … It was the right thing to do to give them a little more time to evaluate. We’re letting them do that. We’d love for them to stay for many years, but if they choose not to, we’ve got a great product, we’ll continue on in that regards. There are meetings coming up. For the fans that have had a chance to go to the Monster activities prior to the race, they are a lot of fun. I’ve taken my guests that come to the race and we’ve had a great time experiencing how they demonstrate their brand in a very thoughtful, unique way. We love having them around.’’

Related Topics:

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

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