NASCAR's Brian France Calls '17 A "Great Year" Despite Challenges
NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France and President Brent Dewar this morning at Homestead-Miami Speedway expressed optimism that the sport is in a good place despite various changes and challenges. In the annual state-of-the-sport speech, France called '17 a "great year -- not a good year, a great year," and said that around 22 of the sport's 36 annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races showed year-over-year attendance increases. The two also touched on the first year of Monster Energy's title sponsorship, as well as media consumption and linear TV ratings, which are down year-over-year heading into the final week of the season. Regarding Monster, France noted "this is only the first year and there are always growing pains," but that the sides are pleased overall. France and Dewar lauded the introduction of stage racing this season, which Dewar says has resulted in 40% more green-flag laps being televised.
Meanwhile, the ISC-operated track during today's drivers' meeting announced a sellout for its 46,000 grandstand seats. The Ford EcoBoost 400 marks the final race for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick and likely Matt Kenseth as full-time drivers, and social media has been flooded with tributes to the star drivers from fans, industry execs and brands such as Mountain Dew. NBC will air the race at 3:00pm ET, and NBC Sports execs in attendance today include Chair Mark Lazarus and Exec Producer Sam Flood.