Buck brings broad motorsports background to new role
January 09, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Richard Buck has been named Sprint Cup Series managing director for NASCAR, a move announced Thursday by officials here at Daytona International Speedway.
Buck replaces John Darby, who took the title of managing director of competition four years ago but continued to serve as the series' managing director.
"His background is very broad in motorsports, winning Indy 500s … as a crew chief there to the last several years managing and building our touring and weekly program," NASCAR President Mike Helton said of Buck.
Buck currently serves as the vice president of racing operations for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and has helped to manage the merger of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series.
"Richard will maintain his role at IMSA through the (Rolex) 24 Hour race, and then will immediately get with John Darby and be under John’s wing as our new … managing director," said Helton.
"John … will be working on the integration of a lot of the new inspection and rule-making and part-approval process with (vice president of competition and racing development) Robin Pemberton and (vice president of innovation and racing development) Gene Stefanyshyn."
Helton said the move was the result of the evolution of the sport through increases in technology and innovation.
Two decades ago, he said, "85 percent of what we did around rules and different things would be done in the (NASCAR) hauler at the race track. Bill France would come in and we’d sit there and owners and crew chiefs would come in … and talk about where we were headed. And that worked then.
"What we’ve seen over the past few years, though, is there needs to be a better process. The industry deserved a better process, the teams, the (auto manufacturers), the stakeholders deserved a better process and that better process is going to give us the ability to make a better product on the race track that fans expect to see."
• Pemberton confirmed that the only change for Cup teams for restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway would be the previously announced half-inch increase in spoiler height.
Conversations with teams, who said the cars aren’t able to "suck up in the draft," led to the move.
"Talladega (last fall) kind of got a little spread out," Pemberton said. "We were a little surprised at that, and guys couldn’t make a run; they couldn’t get organized.
"But we had been talking to the teams since … even mid- last year on things that we’re thinking about, and the spoiler was one that came to us through the teams, and we were prepared to make that change."
It’s expected that overall speeds would increase slightly when cars are drafting.
"So it makes the drafting just a little bit better," he said, calling it "a small change."
• Pemberton also announced that changes for the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series would include teams running the same type of cooling system currently used by Cup Series teams. A "recommended spec radiator" is also available for use, but is not required.
"We have cut the spoiler on the Nationwide cars and dropped the ears (side pieces) down on the side of the spoiler so it’ll be straight across the back," Pemberton said.
"There’s a small spring change in the back, it’ll be a little softer, (to) try to get some handling back in the cars."