Brian France gives “State of the Sport”

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France met with media as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season reached its halfway point at Daytona International Speedway. France began the news conference with a review of the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format that features a virtual "win and you're in" formula for making NASCAR's postseason. Beginning his second decade at the helm of the sport, France also addressed the evolving rules package, noting he attended an hour-long session earlier in the day with NASCAR Vice President of Innovation Gene Stefanyshyn.

He discussed how the competition group at NASCAR is basing decisions on science and technology. France referred to a new engine package that has been discussed this year and noted that those efforts are part of NASCAR's plan to lower the barrier of entry into the sport for owners and manufacturers. Other hot topics addressed included a recent report about new ways to deliver souvenirs to fans at tracks. France said, "We do think there's probably some newer, better ways to merchandise for fans." When asked whether Iowa Speedway would get a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, he said, "We don't have plans for a Cup date there." With Nationwide moving from series sponsorship to sponsoring Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Sprint Cup car next season, France addressed finding a new partner. "…on the Nationwide sponsorship, very good interest," France said. "I think in the coming weeks we'll be getting to the end of that process, and we will be in very good shape when the dust settles there."

On whether the final race of the season might move Ford Championship Weekend from Homestead-Miami Speedway, France said: "When you talk to the Ford people and you talk to people at ISC, at Homestead, they want to do whatever makes sense for that sponsorship." But he continued, Homestead is "… by any definition, the best mile-and-a-half track that the drivers believe that they have — that they can really race hard and compete hard, and that matters, too, right. It's a very important thing. When you factor all those things in, we're going to be in Homestead for the foreseeable future."

On changes to the overall 2015 schedule, France talked about weather issues at Bristol Motor Speedway over the last few years and said, "We'll be releasing that in September, but it's fair to say that there's a robust discussion within the stakeholders to come up with the best schedule that we can for 2015 and beyond."

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