NASCAR's France Says Drastic Changes Could Be Made In Effort To Control Rising Expenses
NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France admitted over the weekend that the sport "could be in for some drastic changes as it looks to keep expenses from escalating out of control," according to George Diaz of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. France said, "There’s a lot more we can do, and we’re going to do it. That’s what the charter opportunity gives the chance to do. We’re working with (teams) to see how we can control expenses in a way that has not been done in motorsports before." Diaz noted the notion of a spending cap has been "floated around." Drivers are essentially "independent contractors who work out a deal with team owners and sponsors, with NASCAR having no control over the particulars." But those sponsorship deals -- "especially lucrative ones with top drivers -- have been imploding in recent months." The cash-flow problem will "no doubt be addressed in the off-season and will likely lead to cutting a day off the weekend schedule, which will add up considerably." But it is still a "tough road economically" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/9).
SHIFTING GEARS: In Greensboro, Ed Hardin wrote Charlotte Motor Speedway's hold on racing has been "slipping for years now and tour expansion has spread the playing field with lots of clone tracks in far-flung places." Two races a year at one track almost anywhere is a "stretch these days." And through the years, the fall race at CMS has been a "tough sell no matter who’s driving and winning." A year from now, NASCAR will be back at CMS with its debut of the "Roval" road course. This is a risk CMS "had to take, and NASCAR was quick to embrace it." NASCAR is now going through its "first death lurch, and no one has any ideas for saving the sport from itself." Sunday's Bank of America 500 at CMS was a race with "no buzz, a sporting event with no fans, a sad echo" of the way things used to be. Sunday at CMS, the thing that "jumped out" was the "lack of kids." Hardin: "In the stands, where we all came to this track as teenagers, there were only men. Old men mostly." NASCAR is an "aging sport." Which is why next year’s "experiment with the road course just might work" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 10/9).