NASCAR Chairman Brian France is aware of the fan debate surrounding the past two months of racing, and acknowledged the sanctioning body is studying several areas to ensure the on-track product is entertaining.
But France indicated it’s difficult to judge where NASCAR is based solely on the past eight races.
“You just can’t snapshot and give a grade like that,” France said Saturday night.
Fans have been voicing disapproval since the March race at Bristol, which lacked the short-track punch people have come to expect. Then came California, which went green until rain brought out the only caution of a race that was called not long after the yellow.
Texas had only two cautions, Kansas had three and Richmond didn’t heat up until the very end. Although ardent fans are insistent they don’t root for wrecks, there seemed to be some satisfaction after Talladega, which was the first race in a month to feature multi-car accidents.
France seems to have heard the frustration with the long green-flag runs.
“We are very attentive to the fan base,” he said. “We look at it a lot of different ways. You can look at lead changes and cycles of things and more green flag laps than at other times. But we look at it overall and look at things very carefully, and we have a hard job, and it’s hard to put the rules forward that allow the best competition to come forward. That’s what we’ve done for 60-plus years.
“It’s not getting any easier with all of the technology and great teams and great innovators but we’re zeroed in on what we have to get done.”
EARNHARDT SPONSORSHIP AT RISK? Rep. Betty McCollum and Rep. Jack Kingston are pushing for an amendment that would stop government funding of sponsorship in NASCAR and other professional sports as part of the fiscal year 2013 Defense appropriations bill.
The amendment passed on a voice vote and will now go to the House floor as part of the $608 billion defense spending bill.
That obviously isn’t good news for Dale Earnhardt Jr. because the National Guard is one of his primary sponsors. Over the past five years, the National Guard paid $136 million to sponsor Earnhardt’s ride, including $26.5 million last year alone, McCollum said.
BOWYER WINS BURNOUT CHALLENGE: It took five years, but Clint Bowyer finally won the fifth annual Burnout Challenge.
Fans voted for the top two burnouts before a panel of three celebrity judges voted Bowyer the winner. The judges were Miss Sprint Cup Jaclyn Roney; Colby Donaldson, a veteran of television’s Survivor and Kim Spradlin, 2012 winner of the Survivor.