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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.
France : 'There’s interest' from other manufacturers
Brian France talks on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that there is possible interest from other manufacturers to be a part of NASCAR.
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."
NASCAR to look into lug nut rules
RELATED: Hamlin explains decision for Drivers Council to help with fine RICHMOND, Va. -- NASCAR's Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller took questions from the media on Friday at Richmond International Raceway regarding the sport's regulation of tire lug nuts. With the opening day of activity at the track called off early because of rain, Miller came to the media center to discuss what's becoming a hot topic in the garage. Miller said NASCAR was open to exploring new pit rules as to how the teams are using -- or not using -- the correct number of lug nuts on tires, a downsizing all done with the goal of turning faster pit stops to gain a competitive advantage on the track. "The rules have been pretty clear (the past two seasons) and we've really never had, until this point. too much trouble," Miller said. "Obviously there are strong rules in place and pretty severe penalties associated with the rules in place but since the drivers are now questioning it, it's time for us to kind of re-evaluate our position and work with the community in looking at possible different ways to enforce the pit road rules. "The teams are obviously pushing harder than they ever have in this area. It's time for us to take a look at it. We'll do that as an industry. The open dialogue is very good right now between NASCAR and the teams. We'll work with them and work internally to move forward." In order to speed up pit stops, teams are increasingly using fewer lug nuts to secure tires -- creating a dangerous potential problem according to many in NASCAR. Three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart was fined $35,000 on Thursday under Section 12 of the rule book, specifically member conduct guidelines. According to Section 12.8.1, actions that could result in a $10,000-$50,000 fine include disparaging the sport and/or NASCAR's leadership. RELATED: Stewart gives opinion on lug nut regulation Miller said he understood the recent concerns and that the series was looking for ways to revisit reinforcement of the rule. He reminded that there is a serious penalty in place for purposely mishandling the installation of tires. "It says a loss of wheels due to improper installation is a mandatory minimum four-race suspension of the crew chief, the tire changer and tire carrier of the lost wheel," Miller said. "So that's the penalty that would be imposed should a wheel actually come off. "We do have the rules and they have served us well. But obviously moving forward, the teams have become very aggressive with it. It's been brought up as a concern and when any of our competitors raise a concern it's time for us to take a little bit harder look at it." While speaking to an Associated Press meeting this week, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France defended the sport's regulation of the situation and reminded of its extreme emphasis on safety. "Nobody has led, done more and achieved more in safety than we have," France said. "It is a never-ending assignment and we accept that. "We do take offense that anything we do is somehow leading toward an unsafe environment. Safety ... that's the most important thing we have to achieve."
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."
France : ‘Historic day in NASCAR’
NASCAR.com’s Jonathan Merryman brings you Up To Speed on NASCAR’s new Charter system that Chairman and CEO Brian France called, ‘historic’.
Rules update: NASCAR reinforces five lug nuts
NASCAR teams hoping to shave time off pit stops by replacing only four lug nuts on wheels will now face penalties from the sanctioning body, according to a memo sent to organizations Monday. The memo states that all tires, wheels and all five lug nuts "must be installed in a safe and secure manner at all times during the event." Failure to comply can result in penalties ranging from a written warning for pre-race violations (wheels not having five lug nuts glued in place) to a minimum $20,000 fine, one-race suspension and probation for the responsible crew chief if a post-race inspection turns up a car that does not have five lug nuts in place on each wheel. If found during pre-race, the infraction is considered an unapproved adjustment, and the violator will be required to correct the issue and drop to the rear of the field before the start of the event. Multiple offenses for infractions will result in escalating penalties. NASCAR stopped policing how many lug nuts teams were installing during pit stops after the 2014 season. In 2015, the sanctioning body debuted its Pit Road Officiating (PRO) system that utilizes cameras to regulate pit road. According to Monday's memo, updated methods for officiating the new rules will be introduced at a later date. "That process will continue to evolve over time and we will provide further updates as that model progresses." By tightening, or in some cases installing, only four lug nuts on each wheel, teams have often gained an advantage during pit stops. But the practice has led to a rise in the number of loose wheels this season, often sending a driver back to pit road to correct the problem. While at least one NASCAR crew chief has noted that there have been occasions when a car would end the race with fewer than five lug nuts in place, NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France said Monday that the inspection process would be no different than it has been for other areas of the vehicles that are examined each week. "When things are altered we have to deal with that," France said during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "There's no difference in that. ... Really what you're hearing is just how close and tight competition is across the board. And that's why the crew chiefs, and rightfully so, are worried about every millisecond; they don't want to get one of these ... penalties and understandably so. They're trying to get it right and we're trying to get it right. "And by the way, we will. We have for 60 years and we will always sort it out, especially when it comes to safety. We will get to the right place as fast as we can. That's Job 1 for us." Last week, three-time premier series champion Tony Stewart expressed concerns that the safety of competitors was being overlooked by not mandating all five lug nuts be properly installed on wheels. A day later, when Stewart announced he would return to competition after missing the season's first eight races, NASCAR announced it had fined the co-owner/driver $35,000. "It wasn't (a case of) saying they're not doing their job," Stewart told FOX Sports during Sunday's pre-race show. "I just felt like this is one thing they dropped the ball on. So, they're doing a good job. They're looking at it. They're going to address it and make it right, and down the road we won't have to worry about this again, hopefully." France said Stewart is "very aware of how we approach criticism ... of the sport and the product of the racing itself, and safety is paramount of that. Tony is very aware of how we look at that. We allow them to criticize and give their point of view way more than any other sport. ... We're thick-skinned; we get it. "It's when you go into the area of denigrating the racing product. That's all we have in NASCAR, the highest quality of competition. When you start working against that in any way, we're going to have to deal with that. And everybody understands that."
France on Stewart’s Chase eligibility
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France joins SiriusXM Radio to discuss the Charter system and also discuss Tony Stewart's potential Chase eligibility when he returns to the No. 14.
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.
Bruton Smith in the Hall, with support of Brian France
Longtime track mogul was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Wednesday The selection of race track mogul Bruton Smith to the seventh class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday came with a groundswell of support among the 57 votes that were cast. One of Smith's most vocal boosters came from what might be considered an unlikely source. Helped by NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France's stumping, the 88-year-old Smith was Wednesday's top vote-getter, leading the 2016 list of inductees with a 68 percent approval rating in his third year on the ballot. The selection comes four days before the 56th annual running of the Coca-Cola 600 , an endurance race that Smith created as the hallmark event for the track he helped create decades ago -- Charlotte Motor Speedway . Though Smith's contributions to the sport as a tireless promoter and innovator in the realm of track ownership are immeasurable, so is his history of being at loggerheads with NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., and his son and successor, Bill France Jr., over how best to help the sport grow. That same adversarial relationship seems to have skipped a generation, according to 2011 Hall inductee Ned Jarrett, who said he named Smith on his ballot Wednesday. "I already had him in my mind before then, but I think that might've made a difference overall," Jarrett said of Brian France's statement. "I think some people might've been surprised with his support. Bruton and Brian have always gotten along real well, and just I think him showing his support was good." H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, a longtime Smith associate at the Charlotte track through a period of tremendous growth for the sport, said he was present for many of the former struggles between Smith's Speedway Motorsports, Inc., group and the first family of NASCAR, noting how conversations frequently went with Bill France Jr.: "We conked his head a whole bunch of times, but he was hard-headed enough that he let us have it back." Wheeler said he believed the younger France's push for Smith carried plenty of sway with the voting panel Wednesday, but beyond that, it may have also smoothed over any lingering hard feelings between the two factions. " Brian has never been a confrontationalist -- never -- like his dad was and like his grandfather was," Wheeler said. "He's live and let live, and let's move on and get this thing going like we're supposed to be, et cetera. It looks like he's got a pretty good way of doing things because a lot of things he's done have worked … "I think we found out today that one of the great things about this business is you can bury the hatchet and everything's fine. And the hatchets were flying so much 20 years ago, and you were wondering, when am I gonna get one right in the skull? I used to wonder and think I'm going to put a helmet on, but you've just got to learn to live and let live and bury that hatchet." Though the relationship between Smith and the Frances was at times antagonistic, the net result was to take the sport to new levels. Smith introduced luxury suites, condominiums and other modern features that were soon incorporated into speedways nationwide, and the expansion of the sport to new markets was a mutual goal for both the Frances and SMI. Friendly or not, the competition was healthy, and many innovations sprang from its intensity. "He was, I think, a big challenge to NASCAR and the France family along the way," Jarrett said, "and I think that's one of the best things that could happen to the sport because he made them better and make them do things better. It was good that they had that rivalry going on." Jarrett said his respect for Smith stemmed from a long-ago victory at a half-mile dirt track Smith had promoted in the Charlotte area. When Jarrett went to the pay window, he said that Smith was there to help explain that he could not pay out the purse. Since the attendance that night was more than adequate, Jarrett said he asked for reasons why, only to be told that the IRS had seized that night's gate to offset Smith's early financial struggles. Jarrett said Smith wrote him a check for his Friday night winnings -- $150, he recalled -- but was told there was no guarantee that it would clear Monday morning. It didn't, Jarrett said, but Smith vowed that he would make the situation right. Jarrett said he stuck to his word, an unusual circumstance in the sport's earliest days, when crooked promoters often skipped town with that night's proceeds. "Then the rest is history as far as all the other speedways and things," Jarrett said. "I mean, he has made major, major contributions to this sport." With contributions and recognition for seven decades in the sport come the setting-aside of any long-ago grudges. In a statement released Wednesday evening by the speedway that he bet the farm on back in 1960, Smith thanked not only the voting committee, but also NASCAR's fans -- the lifeblood of any track owner. Though he might not have known the behind-the-scenes process that potentially helped spur his induction, Smith could also give a tip of the cap to NASCAR's chairman, who opted not to let bygones cloud the panel's voting judgment. "Rivalries are what makes the sport," Wheeler said. "But sometimes, you've got to put the peanut butter back in the jar and put the lid on it." 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