During last week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Champions Week NASCAR CEO and chairman Brian France was interviewed by Sporting News Wire Service.
Question: How large will the race fields be next year?
Brian France: They don’t have to be at 43 [cars]. A year or two ago we had too many cars, too many well-funded teams. We’d love to have 43 teams, not 44, all well-funded. We’re going to have highly competitive teams. The balance of the teams will be well-funded, not all.
Q: How important is it for drivers to express their personality?
BF: I think it’s very important. We’ve got some talented drivers. We’ve got drivers that come from all over the country. We’ve got to do a better job at giving them opportunities. They need to be able to be themselves. If you’re upset and you’re mad in the heat of competition, do we want you to walk around like you’re in the library? Of course not. We want you to express your emotions.
Q: How often are you at the track?
BF: I’m at 12 to 14 events [annually]. We run our sport differently. We have the president [Mike Helton] of our company at every event. We want to balance Mike Helton’s role and my role. The business of NASCAR is a seven-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year job. We also have 1,100 people that work at NASCAR. A little too much is put on Brian France being one place or another. We have a good system. Mike and I have been good partners at balancing competition and the business side.
Q: What sports business story will you be watching closely in 2009?
BF: I’m watching Anheuser-Busch. We’re certainly watching keenly what’s going to happen with the manufacturers, and are they going to get the support they need from Washington. Those are some big categories with our television partners. There’s a lot of pressure in the advertising market right now.
Q: What will your legacy be?
BF: I will not have a 30-year run like my father for a variety of reasons. We have so many talented people. The legacy is, do we make progress? There are lots of decisions we have to make all of the time. Did we take advantage of the opportunities on behalf of the team owners? Did we do everything we could?
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