CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR held preseason meetings with all of its full-time Cup drivers this week, and the future of the Drivers Council was among the topics discussed.
NASCAR is soliciting feedback from drivers on whether there are changes they might like to see with the panel, which was formed nearly four years ago and meets with series executives several times annually to discuss big-picture issues.
There were 10 members on the 2018 council: Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Ty Dillon and William Byron. The council usually is determined via driver voting by Speedweeks, but it could take longer this year, depending on whether there are structural changes.
“That’s still up in the air in how it’s going to look and feel,” Johnson told NBC Sports. “That was one of the points that was brought up. We still have to vet that out.”
Among the options would be keeping the current structure, which NASCAR officials have found useful in helping chart directions on competition. Johnson said drivers also have been satisfied with how NASCAR handled “a whole list of things” that have been “addressed and answered” after being presented by drivers.
“It seems like we’ve worked through a lot of the issues,” Johnson said. “So the meetings are much shorter. There’s still input they clearly want to have from us. They want to make sure they cover their bases, and all drivers have a voice. They personally like the structure of it. I think that helps them.
“On our side, I think it’s more in that category of, ‘Are we still effective as we sit as a group or not?’”
NASCAR met with drivers in two groups Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning at the Charlotte Convention Center, where many had preseason media obligations.
The meetings’ primary agendas were to highlight key marketing and competition initiatives. Johnson described it as a “state of the union opportunity” and was pleased by what he saw.
“They’re just making sure that regardless of driver or team that everyone has a chance to be with the executive staff and hear and speak and ask questions if need be,” the seven-time series champion. “It was good. There’s a lot going on. We all know we have some problems. But there is a clear plan forward. They’re following a game plan that they feel really confident in, so their confidence brings me a lot of confidence.”