Drivers Council features new faces

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DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — Reigning Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. and youngsters Ty Dillon and William Byron are the newest members of the Drivers Council, NBC Sports has confirmed.

They replace Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Chase Elliott.

Returning members of the Drivers Council are Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney.

The Council meets with NASCAR officials throughout the season to discuss issues that range from competition and marketing to safety and security measures, among other items. Some decisions can lead to significant changes in the sport. The Drivers Council was a part of the discussion on stage racing before its implementation in 2017.

Typically, the Council rotates about three new people in each year. It seeks a balance between veteran drivers and younger drivers. Council members report back to the all the drivers.

“I’m excited just because (inclusion) was voted on by drivers,” Ty Dillon said. “That means a lot to be voted on by your peers. I care a lot about the sport; it’s been a part of my whole life. Hopefully, I can add to the conversation.”

Harvick and Logano are the only members who have been on the Council all four years. The Council debuted at Dover International Speedway, meeting with NASCAR officials on May 30, 2015. Harvick notes it is important to rotate drivers into the Council.

 “You have some of these young guys that come in and see it’s not just about racing, it’s also teaching them about the politics of the sport and just the fundamentals of how things work,” he said. “It’s not just about driving the car, it’s about the teams having a balance with NASCAR and NASCAR having a balance with the drivers and the drivers having a relationship with their owner.

“There are just a lot of pieces to the puzzle that come into play, and I think the council is a good spot for everybody to help stay informed more than anything and help react to some of the things that may be coming down the pipeline from a driver’s perspective to help put that in play when NASCAR and the teams are deciding what they think is right.”

This is the third year on the Council for Busch, Johnson and Keselowski. This is the second year on the Council for Almirola and Blaney.

“Part of being a leader is seeing things from different views,” Keselowski said. “I think that’s really important and that environment lends itself to just that, which is good. I’ve enjoyed playing a role in it and hope to see it grow and become stronger year over year.”

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