Sports Business Journal

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Former NASCAR Chairman Brian France defends leadership style in interview

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Former NASCAR Chairman Brian France defended his leadership style when running the stock-car series and said in an interview with Sports Business Journal that he was working on leaving the sport before he was ousted after his DWI arrest in August 2018.

The interview with Sports Business Journal marked France’s first public comments since his arrest.

France became NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in September 2003, assuming the position from his father, Bill France Jr.

Brian France held that position until Aug. 6, 2018, when he took a leave of absence after his arrest for driving while intoxicated in Sag Harbor, New York. He was replaced by Jim France and did not return to NASCAR.

Brian France pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in June 2019. As part of the agreement, he was required to complete 100 hours of community service and undergo alcohol counseling. If he completes those and does not run afoul of the law, his misdemeanor charge will be reduced to a non-criminal infraction in June 2020.

France told Sports Business Journal that he was actively talking to and identifying potential replacements before his arrest but did not go into detail.

France, who oversaw the TV deal with NBC and Fox that goes through 2024 and created the Chase/playoff format, defended his absence from the track during his reign. France did not attend every race and that became an issue in the garage, raising questions about how involved he was with the sport.

“I understand that kind of criticism, but there is no other sports league that gets any criticism like that,” France told Sports Business Journal of the time he spent at the track. “I’ve always found that a bit interesting that no one else asks another commissioner how many football games or practices he made.”

Jim France is at the track nearly every weekend. Brian France told Sports Business Journal that while his uncle attends more races to match his objective, “(it) didn’t match up with mine, so I had to take the criticism on my way to managing the commercial side.”

France, who endorsed Donald Trump for president at a Feb. 29, 2016 rally at Valdosta State University in Georgia, accompanied President Trump on Air Force One to Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, according to the pool media report.

Report: No midweek Cup points races expected on 2018 schedule

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A Sports Business Journal story, citing unnamed sources, states that NASCAR is not expected to hold a midweek Cup points race next year.

The story quoted a track source as saying: “Midweek points races are an idea, but there’s a whole lot of work that needs to be done to make them viable.”

The story did say that sources would not rule out NASCAR moving the All-Star Race, which is held on a Saturday night, to the middle of the week in 2018.

NASCAR is determining next season’s schedule. Based on when the 2017 scheduled was announced (May 2016), NASCAR is about a month away from releasing the 2018 schedule.

The Sports Business Journal story stated that NASCAR and industry stakeholders, including tracks and media partners, have examined “the idea of moving a handful of races to midweek dates. This could serve as a way to get away from hyper-competitive sports weekends and energize a fan base that at times yearns for a shakeup to the schedule.”

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Report: NASCAR considers making cars quieter in near future

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NASCAR is considering a proposal that would make cars in its national series quieter in the near future, according to a report by the Sports Business Journal.

The basis for the proposal, which SBJ reports is one of 15-20 that NASCAR is contemplating in regards to “fan engagement and competition,” is so fans can have a better environment to socialize.

Sources told SBJ that while NASCAR is evaluating the proposal, it might not be implemented. However, NASCAR has informed team officials and track executives of the proposal.

If it is implemented, it could be as early as next year, but in which series wasn’t made clear to SBJ. The report said the noise reduction could be a gradual change over multiple seasons for fans to adjust to quieter cars.

Click here for the full report from the Sports Business Journal.

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Report: Sponsor replacement for Sprint on schedule, ‘at advanced stage’

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While NASCAR has yet to announce a new entitlement to replace Sprint beginning in 2017, the sanctioning body is continuing to talk with a number of potential suitors, according to Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily.

Stern on Monday tweeted quotes from NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar, who said the entitlement sponsor search is still on schedule and that talks with multiple companies are at “an advanced stage.”

“We know how to handle complexity and meet deadlines, and this is no different,” Dewar said, per one of Stern’s tweets.

Another Dewar quote that Stern tweeted read, “It’s much more important we have the right partner than to meet a self-imposed deadline.”

Not having a new sponsor named yet has impacted at least one NASCAR partner, Lionel NASCAR Collectibles. Instead of having the new entitlement sponsor emblazoned on 2017 diecasts ready for the Daytona 500, the company will have a NASCAR logo instead, Stern noted.

“You want the car to be as accurate as possible because we produce replica race cars; that includes having the entitlement logo,” Michelle Fannin, Lionel NASCAR Collectibles vice president of marketing and communications told Stern in a statement, which he retweeted.

“However, from our perspective and the teams’ perspective, it’s also very important to have diecasts at Daytona ready to go for the new season.”

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