France: 'Working on the format of the future'
January 07, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France covered a wide variety of topics in his appearance on MRN's "NASCAR Live," answering questions from host Eli Gold as well as callers' questions.
France covered topics ranging from his decision to add Jeff Gordon as the 13th driver in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to his thoughts on the return of the No. 3 car to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series action and the type of racing the sport is striving for.
On the decision to add Gordon as the 13th driver to the Chase just days before the 10-race playoff got underway:
"If you know in your gut that something’s really right, and you have an opportunity to correct it -- and in this particular situation I did -- we did and you just take the criticism, that's understandable. … It's very unusual for us to do something like that, but these were very unusual circumstances. I felt compelled to do the right thing, and I really feel, still, good about that decision."
When asked later if he felt the Chase should expand to 13 drivers every season, France answered, "We feel really good with 12."
On whether a format change could happen down the line:
“We’re working on the format of the future. Whatever that might be. Maybe it’s a little different, maybe it’s more than a little but we’re looking at different things.”
France added, “we are not satisfied that we have the exact balance with winning, consistency, points, running for a championship. We think we can make some tweaks that continue to incentivize risk-taking and racing harder and so on.
“We’ll undoubtedly be coming with things that put the incentive on winning races and competing at the highest level.”
During Champion’s Week in December, France said that NASCAR was examining possible changes to the qualifying format.
On whether Jimmie Johnson's run of success is good for NASCAR:
"Historically, dynasties in sports have always been revered and favored and admired. On the other hand, having different people winning at different times is also helpful and impactful," France said.
“When you’re the best at something, and you dominate, it’s up to the other teams and drivers to knock him off, and they have not been able to do that. He's just dominant."
France likened Johnson's run to the University of Alabama's recent run of college football success and how a dominance like that adds "intrigue."
On his thoughts about Richard Childress bringing the No. 3 car back for the 2014 Cup season with Childress' grandson, Austin Dillon:
"I like it. I wondered when it was going to happen and if it was going to happen," France said.
"What Richard (Childress) has said, is that he wanted to make sure it was the right circumstance, not just bring it back because he could. But because it was right and felt right. ... The way they've done it, keeping it in the family, it's really a neat thing and I'm looking forward to watching the '3' out there in 2014."
On what he hopes to get out of the recent test at Charlotte (Preseason Thunder begins Thursday at Daytona):
"We are very committed to getting rules packages that create more side-by-side racing. That's the hallmark of what we do. That's what we wake up every morning trying to do. And I'm confident that we'll make the racing, which is already very good by the way, statistically better than it ever was," France said.
"The standards are high, and we're going to meet those standards and create the best racing in the world. And that's our job."
Earlier in the chat, France mentioned that at "the heart of what we do is to make sure we have a fair and balanced set of rules that creates the tight racing that we all like. The lead changes, the dramatic finishes and all the rest."
Listen to the full interview here on MRN.com.