SBD/May 23, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Brian France Vague About NASCAR's Stance On Drivers' Confrontations

France will consider shortening some races if tracks, TV and fans are supportive
NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France “isn't bothered by seeing contact and conflict on the race track, suggesting it's part of the sport's history, but he wants to make sure it doesn't go too far,” according to Ron Green Jr. of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. France: "We have said we can over-officiate and over-regulate in some circumstances over a 60-year period of time.” He added, “You can't go around with a missile and a weapon out there. But if you're having contact, that's part of NASCAR. ... We're going to remain a contact sport with the basic philosophy that we're putting more in the drivers' hands. If they go over a line we think is there, we'll deal with that." Meanwhile, France said that he is “open to the idea of shortening some races if tracks, television and fans want that, and he expects attendance to be up for both” the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway over last year. France: "We have shortened races over the five or six years, we've shortened several including some Nationwide series. Yeah, I think we would be open to that. If it works [for] the tracks, if it works for our network partners and obviously if the fan base wants that, that will be something that will be case by case." He said of the use of split-screen advertising on future telecasts, "It's not a brand-new concept. It was tried a decade or two ago with mixed reviews. If it enhances the viewing experience and works for the advertisers, we're all open to that” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/21). In Charlotte, Jim Utter noted NASCAR drivers “would love to know what every ramification is for every action so they could measure their retaliation against other drivers.” But that is “exactly what NASCAR does not want" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/21).

BOYS HAVE AT IT: France on Friday said NASCAR has every intention of leaving things "in the drivers’ hands,” and YAHOO SPORTS’ Jay Hart asked, “Why wouldn’t he?” The competition “is tight, TV ratings are slightly up and after a few seasons on the slide, NASCAR appears to be on the come again.” France for the “first time in years” was “left to talk about the positives of the sport, rather than defending its shortcomings.” Meanwhile, Hart noted having Dale Earnhardt Jr., the sport’s “biggest star," being "competitive makes everything more interesting.” Hart: “Earnhardt running well begets TV ratings going up (which they have) which begets NASCAR becoming more attractive to networks which begets racing readily available on TV, and that benefits everyone” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/20).
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