SBD/Issue 87/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NASCAR Pleasing Fans With Plans For More Leniency On The Track

Newman Feels NASCAR Allowing Drivers
To Police Garage Will Be Good For Sport
NASCAR plans to be a "kinder, gentler governing body this season and let the drivers police the garage more," and as a result the circuit is "giving the fans what they want," according to David Newton of ESPN.com. NASCAR officials intend to be "more lenient when it comes to on-the-track issues without letting things get out of control." Driver Ryan Newman yesterday during the first day of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour said, "That would be great for the sport. I've seen Kenseth and Harvick go at it. I've seen Robby Gordon and a lot of people go at it. Jimmy Spencer-Kurt Busch. All of those things have had a positive effect." He added, "That's been a part, a very staple part, of NASCAR. Taking those things away is not good." Newton noted the stricter governance of driver conduct "started with NASCAR and team owners not wanting to present a product that might embarrass the sponsors." However, the sport "became so corporate that it became vanilla." But with declining TV ratings and "constant complaints from fans and many drivers, officials are ready to go back to the future." Crashes and "controversy are to NASCAR like what big hits are to the NFL." Fans should see "more aggression, maybe even some popping off at the mouth, that will provide much-needed energy." Newton noted NASCAR officials spent the offseason "talking to drivers, owners and fans about ways to improve." Newman: "We're not getting more control. We're just getting back what we had, which is important" (ESPN.com, 1/18).

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