Drivers appreciate Brian France’s appearance at meeting

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski both praised NASCAR Chairman Brian France for attending Friday night’s meeting with the Sprint Cup Drivers Council at Talladega Superspeedway.

France met with the nine-member drivers group for about an hour before leaving for a prior commitment. The meeting went an additional two hours with drivers talking with other NASCAR senior executives including Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer.

“There’s a tremendous amount of good faith that is earned when Brian comes to a meeting,’’ Keselowski said Saturday.

France previously had said he felt it would be best not to be at the meetings to avoid stifling any of the discussion. Tony Stewart suggested in January that France should be more visible in part by attending the meetings.

“It was great that Brian came,’’ Earnhardt said.

Keselowski called the meeting “productive” without revealing details of what was discussed.

“I think there were a lot of takeaways to make the sport better, so that was a really positive step in the right direction,’’ Keselowski said.

“I think three or four years ago, someone asked me, ‘How is this sport going to move forward?’ I pointed to the NFL model of councils and committees. That’s how you can collaborate key stakeholders to get them to the same agenda. That’s exactly where we are going. I think that’s an extremely positive step for everyone.’’

Earnhardt said “nothing groundbreaking” came from the meeting. “It was just a good, positive meeting. A lot of good things moving in a good direction.’’