Future plans uncertain for soon-to-be former NASCAR official John Darby

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The reasons for former Sprint Cup Series director John Darby’s impending departure from NASCAR are vague, at best.

After 25 years with the sanctioning body, Darby, 59, is in his final days with the organization. He’s not retiring, but rather, moving on.

Bob Pockrass of ESPN.com has an interesting story about Darby’s tenure, where he’s been, where he’s at now and the uncertainty of where he’s going.

Darby, who served as Sprint Cup Series director from 2002-2013 and Xfinity (then Busch) Series director from 1999 to 2001, didn’t address the specifics about if he’s leaving by choice, by mutual decision or if he was fired.

“I’ll be honest with you, the importance of that part, to me, is nothing,” Darby told Pockrass. “What’s more important is where I’ve been, what I’ve been involved in, and what I hope to see grow in the future.

Darby told Pockrass he doesn’t have a new job lined up, but he plans on remaining in racing.

“I think I’m going to take a month and sit on a beach and figure out what I really want to do next,” the Rockford, Ill., native said. “At the end of the day, as I do leave the company, I will never leave the sport. It’s in my heart and my veins, and it will always be there.

“At the same time, I think that I’m leaving it in a better spot than what it was when I got here. That’s all that matters to me. … Everything is good. I’m still a stronghold and an ally for NASCAR and the sport of NASCAR. That is something that will never go away.”

Darby, whose no-nonsense style earned him respect throughout the NASCAR garage, got a bit wistful in talking about his legacy. During his reign, NASCAR significantly tightened its rules and inspections and also introduced two new models of cars — the much maligned Car of Tomorrow (a bigger, boxier and safer model that since has been rebranded the Generation 5) in 2007 and the manufacturer-friendly Gen 6 in 2013).

“I’m very thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had — and also thankful that I took them and did something with them instead of dropping the ball,” Darby said. “When my grandkids start reading the history books, they’ll be able to see a few chapters where Grandpa was involved pretty heavily.

“That means more to me than anything.”

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