Sunday, April 19, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

France: NASCAR to discuss changes to 2015 schedule

By
From page B4 | July 06, 2014 |

Brain France

Brian France, CEO and Chairman of NASCAR answers questions during a news conference the prior to the Sprint cup Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Saturday, July 5, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Saturday “robust” discussion will go into setting the 2015 schedule.

A revamped format to the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship this season, coupled with NBC taking over the second half of the television schedule next season, gives NASCAR an opportunity to make scheduling changes.

“There will be a robust discussion that will be for those reasons a more comprehensive look at what the best schedule will look like,” he said.

France also noted multiple weather delays this year at several race tracks as reason for considering tweaks. Saturday night’s scheduled race at Daytona was postponed until Sunday because of rain, and the season-opening Daytona 500 was stopped for more than six hours.

Bristol had a significant rain delay in March and Texas was postponed a day in April.

“There’s been some weather issues, as you well know, in the last several years at Bristol as an example, and then some other things that we would naturally look at as we go along in the schedule, and now that the Chase format is changed, there’s additional interest to move from one place to another,” he said.

But, France said there are no current plans to award a coveted Sprint Cup race to Iowa Speedway. The track was acquired last year by NASCAR sister company International Speedway Corp., but only hosts the Nationwide Series, Truck Series and IndyCar.

“We’re working with the state representatives and others to help us build racing in Iowa to the highest level that we can,” he said. “But they’ve got a nice full schedule with IndyCar and Nationwide, and I think that’s where that remains.”

France also indicated the season finale is staying put for the “foreseeable future” at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The track recently extended its sponsorship agreement with Ford Motor Co. through at least 2019, with an option to extend through 2024.

“We’ve liked the fact that to do it in South Florida, the weather is great that time of year, it’s a good market for us,” he said.

Here are five other things France touched on Saturday at Daytona:

DRIVER LIMITS? Sprint Cup regular Kyle Busch has won all five Truck Series races he has entered this season and been nearly as dominant in the second-tier Nationwide Series, posting 12 top-five finishes in 13 starts. Fans have taken notice, with many of them crying foul play. But NASCAR doesn’t sound as if it’s close to limiting Cup drivers to a certain number of starts in lower series.

Although NASCAR officials talked about potentially implementing a rule in February, France said Saturday that nothing is on the horizon.

“That’s always a question,” he said. “When a Cup driver gets in and has a lot of success — Mark Martin did that for a long time in the Nationwide — and there’s always that balance. But where we usually come out on that is that the younger drivers gain valuable experience even if somebody gets on a run and tends to win more events than is normal.

“So we try to balance that out, but we lean on the side of the greater experience for the younger drivers to get a chance to compete against, and also for our fans to want to watch the elite drivers not just on Sundays. We tend to let the events unfold the way they unfold.”

France also doesn’t think the issue is specific to Busch, who seems to draw the ire of fans whenever he wins in the lower divisions. Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne won the last two Nationwide races and there wasn’t the same fan uproar.

“It’s never an individual issue,” he said. “It’s true that if a Cup driver dominates in a lower division, it’s understandable why people will shake their head. We balance that against the idea that fans like to see the younger drivers with the veterans, and the younger drivers, most of them, almost all of them, like to figure out where they’re at on the skill curve.”

Chase changes

France is so far pleased with the on-track competition and credits the emphasis placed on winning for an uptick in action. There have been 10 winners through 17 races, and NASCAR this season has set a win-and-get-in model for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

The 16-driver field will be set following the September race at Richmond, so there are nine more opportunities for drivers to gain berths into the field.

“I think we can all see the benefits of changing the winning importance, and it in fact has changed the racing on the track,” he said. “The drivers are telling us that. They’re taking different kind of chances. They’re going for wins when they would have played it safe otherwise.

“I think that’s just going to get more intense as we close in on Richmond and we seed the field here.”

Dover dilemma

Dover International Speedway had swaths of empty seats last month, continuing a trend of declining attendance at the Delaware track. Longtime observers said the crowd was the smallest in years, and France acknowledged that Dover is a market that’s under “a lot of pressure.”

Dover has two races annually, and with attendance sagging, it’s unclear how long NASCAR will continue with that model. Several other tracks, including Las Vegas, Iowa and Road America, would love to add a Sprint Cup race.

“Well, we don’t have a timetable on that and we don’t like to think of it that way,” France said. “We like to think that historically important events work themselves out over time, and some of that is on us, too. We’ve got to constantly figure out how to make our racing tighter, better. I mean, that’s why I spent so much time telling you that we are zeroed in on that.

“I think we don’t put a timeline on that. We’re working with our track operators, the ones that have more challenges than others, and we’ll just have to work through it and try to get a good outcome.”

Souvenir sale

France acknowledged NASCAR is exploring new ways to sell souvenirs, which are done at race tracks in rows of haulers located outside of the facilities. Reportedly under discussion is overhauling the entire experience and creating a sort of super store – a tent that would include all driver memorabilia in one spot.

“We really want to have higher quality merchandise available in more places and make it more convenient for our fans,” France said. “We do think there’s probably some newer, better ways that we can merchandise to our fans.”

World Cup lessons

France, a noted sports fan, has taken in some of the World Cup action as the tournament captivated Americans. But he wasn’t sure there was a takeaway that could be applied to NASCAR or how the sport could resonate the same way with fans. He called the fervor surrounding the World Cup “organic,” which makes it impossible to copy.

“There’s sort of a wave of energy that gets created, and the Olympics brings that and certainly the World Cup,” France said. “Good for them. It’s been fun to watch.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Waiting game: Woman, toddler hope for kidney transplants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Tiny twins call Heather House their 1st home

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

Solano ranks last in Bay Area for health

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
SID to consider water rate hikes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

California water saving mandate shrinks cuts for some cities

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A1

 
Who is the Bay Area’s most popular athlete?

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
City announces Browns Valley Road closures

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

Healthier Living program begins mid-May

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Bachelor party turns into community event

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Il Fiorello serves up chocolate desserts

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Coping with seasonal allergies

By Emerita Brigino-Buenaventura, M.d | From Page: C4

When to throw in the towel on sickly plants

By Karen Metz | From Page: C4

 
Church hosts health, wellness fair

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Solano superhero back in school

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Weather for Sunday, April 19, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

Home, garden show offers something for everyone

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
2 nations at center of market drop

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

Vanden robotics team ready to compete in world championships

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Fairfield hotel gets major renovation

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Teen victim of Dixon shooting dies

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A7

Land use, design, project synergy key to growth

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

 
Fairfield police log: April 17, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 17, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Commissary-Exchange pairing gains steam

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Airmen with county ties complete training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

San Francisco marks anniversary of 1906 earthquake

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Time plus distance help some Oklahoma City victims move on

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Police: Officers kill man who charged at them near St. Louis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Scarlett O’Hara outfit fetches $137,000 at auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Turin Shroud goes back on display for faithful and curious

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Caged puppies on car roof trigger dozens of 911 calls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

French replica of revolutionary frigate sets sail for Boston

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Islamic State blamed for Afghan suicide bombing killing 35

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Talk about corruption

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Transportation projects should benefit all drivers

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A8

Justice not served

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Clinton should spruce up a bit

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Brown support of ag water ruffles feathers

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Sound off for April 19, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 19, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in history: Sunday, April 19, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Is it possible for Methodists to agree to disagree on gay marriage?

By The Washington Post | From Page: C3 | Gallery

 
Vatican unexpectedly ends crackdown of US nun group

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Horoscopes: April 19, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
Wife needs to decide if she can tolerate husband’s binge drinking

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Anna Kendrick has book of essays coming out in 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Phil Klay, Leslie Jamison among PEN award nominees

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
.

Sports

Crawford, Heston lead Giants to win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Curry scores 34, Warriors beat Pelicans 106-99 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Reddick’s 3-run homer sends A’s to 5-0 victory over Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Cal defense shines for a change at scripted spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Jones throws 2 TDs, wins challenge at Ohio State spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Serena Williams gets a rare test from Giorgi but holds on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tom Watson: Next Masters might be his last

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Free agent center Wisniewski signs 1-year deal with Jaguars

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Pete Rose hired by Fox as special guest studio analyst

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Marcotte, Ryan win US cycling Criterium championships

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Independent league experiments with 3-ball walks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Merritt maintains edge through 3 rounds at RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
As Spurs know, international players can impact NBA playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Rose scores 23, Bulls beat Bucks 103-91

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Harden has 24 points, Rockets beat Mavs 118-108 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Pierce leads Wizards past Raptors in OT in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Hometown report: Little League baseball

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Hometown report: Youth track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Kenseth content in car and not contemplating retirement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Logano leads flag-to-flag to win Xfinity race at Bristol

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for April 19

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Business

Using a prepaid card? Avoid getting socked with fees

By The Washington Post | From Page: B7

 
This year’s fight for the tech industry: Patent trolls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Recalls this week: blowers, bike hooks, mattresses, toys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
IMS: US prescription drug spending jumped 13 percent in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Fast-growing Asian aviation confronts safety challenges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
USDA veterinarian: Bird flu outbreak could be ‘devastating’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Carole Anspach

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Frances Bayona Lozano

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert Larkin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Barbara Medders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Carrol “Carl” Gordon Parker

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
John Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Allen Ellsworth Dolby Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sterling Jenkins

By Nancy Green | From Page: A5

Dennis Burkhart von Ting

By Nancy Green | From Page: A5

 
.

Comics