Brian France Discusses The Start Of The '11 NASCAR Season During ESPN Visit
NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France made the rounds at ESPN’s HQs yesterday, appearing on multiple shows during the course of the day. France noted the sport has "momentum" this year. France: "We started off with a really neat champion in the Daytona 500 in Trevor Bayne, a young kid with an old team, so we had some neat storylines. Some of the drivers that had been struggling, like Jeff Gordon, have already won and they put notice they're going to contend for the championship. … And then Dale Earnhardt Jr. is running well." France noted Earnhardt is the "biggest franchise in NASCAR" and it would be "great if he continues to figure out the chemistry of the team." France: "He went through a pretty good slump, but it's nice to see him competing at a high level" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 5/2). France also said the sport needs rivalries, but admitted there may be a hesitancy from some drivers because of “obligations that drivers have with their sponsors.” He said, “They don't think they can express themselves in the way that maybe everybody would like to see. I hope that changes over time. We're encouraging that. 'Boys have at it' is part of that." Meanwhile, France was asked if NASCAR had any initiatives to try and attract new fans and take advantage of the labor issues affecting the NFL and possibly the NBA. France: “We're not planning on that. We're fans of most other sports. I hope they get their labor issues resolved and we certainly wouldn't plan in or around that. It's out of our control obviously" (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 5/2).