FORT WORTH – Two-time defending Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton firmly believes all three of NASCAR’s national touring series need a drivers council like the one formed for the Sprint Cup Series, which met for the first time last weekend at Dover International Speedway.
“I think right now they’re (NASCAR) working on more of their Cup stuff, but I 100 percent agree that they need to have a council, I would say in all three of the series, to be able to talk to the series directors and see what direction they need to go in,” Crafton said Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway.
So far eight Sprint Cup drivers are confirmed to be on the council, including defending champion Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Kyle Larson. The purpose of the council is to provide drivers a better voice regarding safety, competition, attendance and more.
“They’re constantly making rule changes and trying to make the sport better and sometimes we as drivers feel things whenever they make a rule change and I think they need to hear it sometimes,” said Crafton, who is in his 15th full-time season in the NCWTS. “Not in a bad way or good way, but we need to be able to talk to them for sure.”
Crafton said drivers have always been able to provide their opinions to NASCAR’s leadership, but the move in the direction of the council is important for the sports’ future.
“They’ve always been that way, anytime I can go in and talk to (NASCAR vice chairman Mike) Helton or (Xfinity Series director) Wayne Auton or (Managing Director, Technical Inspection/Officiating) Chad Little in the past. We need to keep driving the sport forward and making changes and listening to drivers as well.”
On his weekly appearance on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s The Morning Drive, executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said that “everyone has a voice” in the sport.
“The drivers are the first line when talking about the sport,” O’Donnell said. “They need to feel good about where we’re going as a sport (and) what they’re driving. We’re not always going to agree. That’s not the purpose of this meeting.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got to make a call that we believe is right for the sport. Sometimes, not everyone agrees, but as long as there is respect for how decisions were made, that’s the ultimate goal. That’s what we’re working toward. But I thought it was a great start for the meeting, really great dialogue and the ideas coming out of it.”