NASCAR CEO Brian France talks shortening races, Kurt Busch and more in Sirius interview

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A subject picking up steam in NASCAR is whether the sanctioning body should shorten the length of races.

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France was asked about the topic last week in a Q&A with the Associated Press Sports Editors. It was brought up again Wednesday in an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio with “Tradin’ Paint” hosts Jim Noble and Chocolate Myers.

“We’ve been reducing races for the last 10 years in one form or another,” France said on the show. “Any new event that has come on or (moved) got 400 miles. The reason for this is, generally speaking and there’s always exception, we like the little bit shorter event because we think it tightens the action a little bit. The little lull you’d get in the 500-mile race, there’s no time for that.

“Look no further than the finale we run every year at Homestead, that’s 400 miles and that decides the championship. We’re going to take a careful look at it, and we’ll make decisions on what events need to be for what length.”

France, who took over the top position in NASCAR from his father, Bill France Jr., in 2003, explained that NASCAR isn’t the only sport dealing with an evolving audience taste.

“Baseball is doing things to speed their games up,” France said. “The NFL is doing some things. Everyone is mindful that attention spans, generally speaking, with fans are lower.”

France also noted the lack of breaks in NASCAR events.

“We’re also the only sport that has non-stop action,” France said. “(Aside from) cautions, we don’t have timeouts and big lulls in that respect. It is non-stop.

“Whether it’s 400 miles, or 500 miles, we’re going to deliver plenty of action. That’s what we’re going to have to go.

France also spoke to other popular topics:

  • On Kurt Busch:  “I met with him a couple of months ago before we reinstated him. We had a long conversation about the remaining part of his careers. He’s a very talented driver, but he’s had his share of things that he’s not proud of that have gone on mostly off the track for him. My hope is that he recognizes what he told me, that this is a special place to be and make the most out of his remaining years competing in NASCAR.”
  • On not allowing bleeder valves on tires: “We do look at it carefully. It’s a huge safety component when you start to warp the tires or take the air pressure out in order to get grip or whatever the reason they’re going to do that. Our view is to keep it consistent and steady and not allow a lot of room there. Whatever is safe and gives the best racing action … or any important rule change, is what we would look at.”