(Harold Hinson photo)
CONCORD, N.C. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski said he doesn’t plan to be any less outspoken about the sport of stock car racing after meeting with NASCAR Chairman Brian France and International Speedway Corp., President Lesa France Kennedy.
At the same time, the driver of the No. 2 Penske Racing Ford said it was important for those involved in the sport to work together in an effort to ensure its continued success.
Keselowski, 29, met separately with France and Kennedy while in Daytona Beach, Fla., for last week’s Daytona 500, the Sprint Cup Series first points event of the season.
The meetings took place the same day a story appeared in USA Today in which Keselowski voiced concerns about several topics, including sponsorship entitlements, adapting to television’s continued role and the evolution of social media as it pertains to the sport.
“I think that I will still have the same approach to doing everything I can to push the sport forward as I see fit,” Keselowski told reporters following a press conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “It's just a matter of balancing it with the interest of everything else."
If such candor happens to draw the attention of officials, he said, it’s well worth the risk.
NASCAR Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes said the story’s appearance didn’t spur the meetings, but that the subject matter was touched upon.
"Brad has been asking for more dialogue and yesterday was a good opportunity to catch up,” Jewkes said Feb. 23. “Hopefully, meetings such as that can help each other understand the different point of views."
Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon said it was difficult to comment on the meetings without knowing what was discussed. But, he added, “It is not out of the ordinary for a new champion to feel confident to be able to express their opinion on things.
“Brad cares a lot about the sport,” Gordon said. “He's not trying to do anything that would hurt the sport. When you are that open, it doesn't surprise me that NASCAR is going to talk about it. I don't think it necessarily means that they are saying 'Don't do that'."
We apologize. We are having technical issues with our comment sections and fan community and it is temporarily unavailable. We are actively working on these issues and hope to have it up and running soon. We are also working on enhancements to provide a better forum for our fans. We appreciate your patience and apologize for the inconvenience.