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Brian France addresses key topics in FS1 interview
NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France joined FOX Sports' Chris Myers during Sunday's pre-race show on FS1, and the two discussed a number of topics -- including the search for an entitlement sponsor, the possibility of mid-week races and the influx of talented young drivers. See below for highlights of the conversation, which came on the final FOX Sports broadcast of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for 2016. On changes to NASCAR structure (including the Drivers Council and Charter system): "Well, it's a lot of structural changes that allow us to build for the future in a smarter way. It allows the owners to look at their expenses differently and build some enterprise value. … And it aligns our interests, too, which is very important. With the Drivers Council, it gives us the input that we need. That gives us the cooperation. This is an industry where the better we're cooperating together, the better we can deliver for our fans the best, closest racing in the world." On lugnuts: "That's a safety thing. We would have preferred to not have to intervene all the time, but we will when we need to." On the search for a new entitlement sponsor: "Several companies here (in California, site of this weekend's race at Sonoma Raceway) are taking a hard look. It's a very special asset in sports. We have a lot of interest and we just want to make a good decision as we go down this stretch and choose our next partner." On Tony Stewart retiring, other NASCAR stars advancing in age: "I would be (concerned) if we didn't have such a talented group of young drivers. And when we started the Drive for Diversity, we were out looking for different, talented drivers that maybe have a diverse background -- you have Daniel Suarez being exemplary proof of that. We have a lot of talent coming." On a road course in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup : "We would be for it. The reality is it's very hard to get the schedule to match up." On more weeknight racing: "Don't see that." On the All-Star Race changing location: "Maybe. There's a lot of interest in that very interesting event. Charlotte's been good to us for a lot of reasons, but we'll always keep that open." On the possibility of shorter races: "We've shortened some from time to time, and we'll continue to look at it. And we'll look at the format as well, not just the length of time but how it's structured. … We're OK with length of time."
Brian France talks state of the sport
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France talks about the state of the sport on NASCAR RaceDay on FS1 before the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
Brian France applauds close racing, but always looking to improve
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France spoke on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio about how the sport is always looking to improve competition so tight battles and close finishes can continue to play out on track.
Brian France , league commissioners lead social responsibility in sports conversation
Bottom row, from left: Adam Silver, commissioner of NBA; Robert D. Manfred, Jr., commissioner of MLB; Kathy Milthorpe, chief financial officer, LPGA; Don Garber, commissioner of MLS; and Brian France , chairman and CEO of NASCAR. Top row, from left: Craig Harnett, chief financial officer for NHL; Dennis Di Lorenzo, Harvey J. Stedman dean of the NYU School of Professional Studies; Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL; and Arthur R. Miller, associate dean of the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business. " Photo courtesy of Mark McQueen/NYU • • • NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France and the Commissioners of the NBA, NFL, MLB and MLS, led a group from across nine major professional sports leagues Monday at New York University to collaborate on social responsibility in sports. The industry summit was hosted by the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business. The intent of Monday's summit was to bring forth league leaders to exchange ideas in an open forum, and also to explain each sport's own commitment to social responsibility. "We are privileged that nine sports organizations, including NASCAR, have participated in this important discussion on the Social Responsibility of Sports at the NYUSPS Tisch Institute summit," said Tony Ponturo, director of industry relations, NYUSPS Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business. "We thank Brian France , Chairman and CEO, for his participation, which underlines his leadership in and his commitment to this ongoing dialogue." France , who was joined by Commissioners Roger Goodell (NFL), Rob D. Manfred Jr. (MLB), Don Garber (MLS) and Adam Silver (NBA), discussed NASCAR's wide range of social responsibility programs such as the NASCAR Foundation and NASCAR Drive for Diversity operated by Rev Racing. Monday's event is the latest example of how the leagues are joining forces when it comes to social responsibility. In 2015, NASCAR joined the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and others to partner with RISE, a non-profit started by Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross to promote diversity and equality through sports. France was named to the Board of Directors. The nine leagues represented Monday at NYU include: LPGA, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, PGA and WNBA. "We are grateful for the leagues' open cooperation and encouragement throughout this initial research phase," said Arthur R. Miller, associate dean of the NYUSPS Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business. "With the information we have acquired, we hope to help them move forward in a constructive way in using Social Responsibility of Sports as a game changer for the industry."
France : Collaboration with drivers, council 'better than ever'
NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France has gone from Talladega, Alabama, to Los Angeles over the past several days, taking in and sending out a wide view of the sport in the process. France kicked off a Drivers Council meeting at Talladega on Friday, then served on a prestigious speaking panel for sports business leaders in L.A. on Monday The initial stop was well-received by both the drivers and France himself -- the NASCAR Chairman & CEO kicked off the meeting with remarks, and listened to driver discussion on a variety of topics. France also met privately for a one-on-one discussion with driver Tony Stewart , a three-time premier series champion. "The Drivers Council meeting in Talladega was very productive," France told NASCAR.com. "Tony and I also met one-on-one, and it was great to hear his thoughts. I think the key is to build trust with the drivers, and we structured the Council in a way that lets them express their views in a free-flowing manner. "We want them to know that we are listening, trying to understand their issues and that it is important for us to get it right. I think the level of collaboration between us is better than ever." The drivers agree. "It was great Brian came (to the meeting)," Dale Earnhardt Jr . told reporters at Talladega. " … It was just a good, positive meeting, a lot of good things moving in a good direction. ... I think what we are doing is pretty amazing." Stewart, Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick , Joey Logano , Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson were all on the Drivers Council when it was formed last year, and remain members in 2016. Jimmie Johnson , Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch are three new members this year, bringing the total council to nine drivers. The sanctioning body strategically shaped criteria for the Drivers Council so a variety of drivers are included. Four spots are automatically filled by performance the previous season -- the top-finishing driver for Chevrolet, Toyota and Ford, plus the top-finishing driver with less than three seasons of experience. The remaining slots are filled by driver votes from the following categories: Two drivers from the top 10 in points from the previous season; one driver from positions 11-20 in points from the previous season; one driver from positions 21-30 in points the previous season; and one driver with the most votes who doesn't fit into the previous categories. A team can have a maximum of two drivers on the Drivers Council. "The meeting on Friday was terrific," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell reiterated on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "It was scheduled for an hour and a half and almost went three hours. Brian was there and talked about where we see the sport going, answering a number of questions that the drivers had, and then we had some great exchanges about what we think of the current rules package, some things we may look at in the future. All in all, my perspective, … but I really believe in the process and think it's paying huge benefits for the sport and ultimately the race fans." The Drivers Council is the latest group to be formed within the industry, joining the NASCAR OEM Council, Tracks Council and the Teams Council. The intent of council creation is for better collaboration across the sport, with the manufacturers and teams -- and now, the drivers -- having an avenue for discussion and a process to elevate those discussions to industry leadership. At the Milken Conference days later, France was on a five-person panel for a session called "Stewards of the Game: The Business Leaders Behind Major Sports" that also included former NBA Commissioner David Stern and New England Patriots team owner Robert Kraft. The NASCAR Chairman & CEO answered broad-ranging questions on his family legacy, the successful Daytona Rising project and the importance of digital and social media to reach and engage new fans.
NASCAR Chairman Brian France , wife Amy honored at Angel Ball
Last night, while NASCAR Chairman Brian France and his wife Amy France were being honored for their contributions to pediatric cancer at the Angel Ball, the sport's first family could not help but think about a special day four months earlier. The Frances, through their Luke and Meadow Foundation, took child cancer survivors behind-the-scenes at Pocono Raceway in June. The courageous kids got to visit the garages before the race and hang out with their favorite drivers -- including six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson . As special as it must have been for those kids, it was also deeply moving for NASCAR's third generation chairman and his wife, who dedicated the race to cancer survivors. "As important as sports may sometimes seem, days like the one we had in June puts things in perspective and reminds us of what is truly important," Brian France said. "We were extremely humbled by last night's honor, but that is only icing on the cake compared to the difference we can make in the lives of children." Amy France was also touched when discussing the children's experience at the track. "As a parent, I was reminded that any of those children could have been my child or your child," Amy France said. "These are the moments that motivate me to contribute to cancer research. My hope is that my children, Luke and Meadow, will one day be inspired to be part of something beyond their own self-interests to make a real impactful change." The Frances, alongside supermodel and television host Heidi Klum, were honored by Gabrielle's Angel Foundation at the annual Angel Ball for their contributions to pediatric cancer research. The crowd was treated to musical performances from One Republic, Patti LaBelle and Billy Porter and many celebrities were on-hand, including Nick Cannon. Four-time NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon gave a heartfelt introduction for Brian and Amy at the event. "I have known Brian since the start of my career which goes back nearly 25 years. Over that time he has become a close friend and someone I have a tremendous amount of respect for," Gordon said. "As the third generation Chairman of NASCAR, he is a bold, collaborative and visionary leader." NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar, International Speedway Corporation Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy, The NASCAR Foundation Chairwoman Betty Jane France and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ben Kennedy were in attendance. The Frances founded the Luke and Meadow Foundation, named after their 4-year old twins, in 2011 to raise awareness about charities they are passionate about. They have since supported, given their time and made multimillion dollar donations to a wide-range of causes including: Stand Up For Heroes in support of 9-11 families, Autism Speaks, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research, Providence Day School and many others. "There are so many causes that need attention, but as parents, we are particularly passionate about addressing the critical needs of children," said Amy France . "At the end of the day, we just hope to be a part of something bigger than our own family, and we believe that -- in partnership with others -- we can make a real impact." With last night's brief pit stop in the rearview mirror, Brian France returns his focus to the remainder of the season. This weekend, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the final race of the Contender Round on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Following the race, four drivers will be eliminated and eight will remain in contention to be the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion. NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France and wife Amy were honored at the Angel Ball on Monday night.
Brian France on NASCAR's framework, 2016 schedule
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said Thursday that meetings about a potential franchise system for participation in its upper series have already taken place, sparking ongoing talks with its team owners about the direction of stock car racing competition. France made the remarks during an afternoon appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "Tradin' Paint" program, telling hosts Jim Noble and Chocolate Myers that improving the current framework was crucial to the overall health of the sport. "Any time we can improve the structure for our team owners, that's a good thing," France told SiriusXM. "If we can improve their business model, we can improve their overall structure, then what's going to happen is new owners will be more inclined to look at wanting to participate in NASCAR; that's a good thing. The other good thing is, the level of competition goes up because the more healthy the team owners are, the better we're going to be. "We're working alongside of all the team owners to see what's possible, and we're going to have to go down the road and keep working at it. That's very important to us." France also discussed the soon-to-be-released schedules for all three NASCAR national series, saying that teams and fans alike should not expect a dramatic overhaul to the 2016 racing calendar. "I can tell you that the schedule is not going to change materially at all," France said. "There are things in the sanction agreements with the tracks that are unrelated to the dates that have to be worked out, and that's really what we're doing now. That's taking a little longer than normal. The schedule will look very similar." With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Myers pressed France for an accelerated release of the 2016 schedules on behalf of Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who has expressed his wishes for a prompt announcement so that he might better plan his wedding to Amy Reimann. "I understand," said France , biting on the joke. "That does take precedence, so we'll make sure to put those dates right in front of him so he knows when they are." France also took time to assess the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after the Challenger Round, the opening three-round series of the postseason. In doing so, France lauded last weekend's clutch victory by Kevin Harvick at Dover International Speedway that kept his repeat title hopes intact. "What you really are seeing is, this is the era of big moments and big performances," France said. "Being consistent and steady, that's important but that's getting pushed to the wayside. It's whoever can step up their performance."
Brian France explains reasoning behind penalties
RELATED: Photos of the incident " NASCAR suspends Kenseth NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France appeared on the SiriusXM Radio Speedway show on Wednesday and addressed the two-race suspension handed out to Matt Kenseth for his role in the wreck that knocked himself and Joey Logano out of Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway . Not only was Kenseth suspended for two races, but he also was put on probation for six months. Joe Gibbs Racing has since appealed the penalties, and that appeal will be heard starting at 9 a.m. ET on Thursday at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina. Also penalized coming out of Martinsville was Danica Patrick for aggressive driving on David Gilliland . Patrick received a $50,000 fine and the loss of 25 driver points. RELATED: Patrick penalized for Martinsville actions When asked on the show about the difference between Kenseth's aggressive driving and Danica's, France noted the stakes that were on the line for both drivers. "Going back to Richmond, we made it very clear that anybody in the industry, any driver or participant who intentionally tries to alter the outcome of events or championships, that that crosses a different line than a racing problem between two drivers," France said. After the incident at Martinsville, Logano was last among the eight Chase drivers and 28 points behind the cutoff position for the Championship 4. Logano went on social media to say he would fight, though it wasn't clear whether he meant physically with Kenseth or to make a comeback to get back into championship contention. When asked about whether NASCAR drivers should be allowed to self-police the sport, France clarified the sanctioning body's position. "What Robin (Pemberton) was saying a few years ago was hey look, boys have at it, do your normal thing, and if we over-officiate, we'll draw back on that and let the normal racing action of NASCAR happen," France said. "And that's what he meant, and that's what we tried to do." France went on to point out that the sport has welcomed different styles from drivers. "We've always had different styles of drivers," France said. "Gentleman drivers like a Ned Jarrett who were very successful. But there are other drivers like Brad Keselowski , or somebody else, who is going to be more aggressive. Dale Earnhardt was certainly in that category ... where they take advantage of the contact part of NASCAR. ... "I look at what Brad did in Texas last year as an example of that, where he was racing hard and took some chances that other drivers wouldn't have taken. And there was obviously some contact and a disappointing outcome for Jeff Gordon at the time. That's always been a part of NASCAR, and there are limits to that, of course. RELATED: Drivers react to NASCAR's penalties on Kenseth "And when there are lines that are crossed, like we believe there were in Martinsville, then NASCAR will step in and deal with that. And it's as simple as that."
Brian and Amy France honored at Angel Ball
NASCAR Chairman Brian France and his wife Amy France were honored for their contributions to pediatric cancer at the Angel Ball in New York City.
France : New manufacturer in NASCAR a possibility
RELATED: Learn all about the 2016 drivers and their manufacturers With the newness of the current NASCAR racing season yet to wear off, Brian France -- the sanctioning body's chairman and CEO -- discussed the possibilities of more new touches coming to stock-car racing's future. The possibility of new manufacturers, new tracks and a new premier-series entitlement sponsor were just some of the topics France discussed in an impromptu phone interview Friday afternoon with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. SiriusXM host Dave Moody said callers often asked whether they could anticipate the return of Dodge or another manufacturer to join the three existing automakers -- Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota -- that currently compete in the sport.