NASCAR America: Mike Helton on stage racing, rules, penalties and more (video)

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NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton was a special guest on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America.

Helton, a veteran of 40 years in NASCAR, shared his perspective on a number of topics, including the playoffs, stage racing, and the new 2018 rules package.

You can watch the entire interview in the video above, but here are some select excerpts of Helton’s comments:

Robert Yates: “I knew Robert for 40 years in this sport and he was as genuine as they come. But in that 40 years, I never heard anybody say a discouraging word about Robert. They may not agree with him, and they may have been mad at him, but they had a tremendous amount of respect for him. … He’ll have a heavy influence on our sport for its entire future.”

Rules and penalties: “We officiate, we inspect everybody through the inspection process before qualifying, before the race and after the race to show everybody that everybody’s straight up. Occasionally, you’ll find something that doesn’t fit for whatever reason, and it’s on us to react to it. … Officiating by NASCAR is what is it that gets your attention that will not make you do that again or work harder to avoid that situation.”

Stage racing: “We’re traditional in this sport and we’ve watched the sport unfold under different circumstances and everything, but in 2017, NASCAR’s effort is to be relevant to its fans, followers and stakeholders and everything. I think stage racing has introduced an element that’s really interesting to follow in our present day attention spans.”