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SBD/Issue 172/Leagues & Governing Bodies
NASCAR Meets With Drivers, Team Owners To Discuss State Of Sport
Published May 27, 2009
|Helton (l), France Lead Meetings Between
NASCAR Execs, Team Owners, Drivers
NO SOLUTIONS PROVIDED, YET: FOXSPORTS.com's Lee Spencer noted the "overwhelming response from the competitors was that the open dialogue was valuable, yet no one provided concrete solutions." It is "unlikely that any advances will come to the car before" the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and "perfecting the product must be the first step." Spencer: "Only time will tell how responsive the sanctioning body truly will be. Still, there is a sense of comfort knowing the lines of communication are open" (FOXSPORTS.com, 5/26). But ESPN's Marty Smith said, "Ultimately, the biggest thing that came out of this, though, was the fact that NASCAR held it at all. It's certainly not their typical style of ruling. It's been a dictatorial style forever. The fact they held this meeting was huge for everybody." ESPN's Dale Jarrett: "In talking to the drivers, they felt like this was the best meeting they had been a part of. A lot of things were talked (and) they felt like that they were going to get a lot of results" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 5/26).
REPAIRS NEEDED: In Birmingham, Doug Demmons wrote if they "really want to know how to improve the sport, NASCAR should invite fans to the meeting." Fans likely would suggest that there are "too many boring races at boring, cookie-cutter tracks," and that "no one knows from week to week when the race starts." In addition, while ticket prices "have come down out of economic necessity," they "don't need to be jacked back up when the economy starts to improve" (AL.com, 5/25). ESPN.com's Terry Blount suggested six improvements for NASCAR: Greater emphasis on winning; allow adjustments to the car; shorter races; "make qualifying meaningful;" "double-file restarts for lead-lap cars;" and "don't allow Cup drivers to compete for the Nationwide title" (ESPN.com, 5/26). FOXSPORTS.com's Spencer wrote under the header, "NASCAR Needs To Talk About Its Problems" (FOXSPORTS.com, 5/26).
DRUG TESTING A HOT TOPIC: The AP's Jenna Fryer noted "drug testing was a main topic" of yesterday's meetings. The "secrecy and lack of an official list of banned substances led many drivers to worry their careers could be put in jeopardy by a failed test for a simple prescription." Driver Mark Martin said, "If you're taking something as prescribed, I don't think you're going to lose your career. I feel much better now than I did before the meeting." France indicated that he was "confident the issue had been adequately addressed" in both meetings (AP, 5/26).
NASCAR Has No Plans
To Settle With Mayfield
POP QUIZ: NASCAR Sunday during the rain delay at the Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 "randomly drug-tested 10 crew members from 10 teams," an "apparent tweak to the first three months of in-season testing." NASCAR waited until after the scheduled start of the race "to inform teams and ordered individuals to report for testing at the end of the race." But because rain delayed the start, crew members "were seen entering the infield care center, where the tests were conducted" (AP, 5/24).