(Photo: Phil Allaway)

Voices from the Cheap Seats: Is Brian France Proud of What NASCAR Has Become?

In the 10 years that I have been doing this gig, there is one interview that I would give my left lug nut to be able to do, and that is a one-on-one with Brian France. No one else in the room – just me and him, him and I, man to man, common sense guy vs. no obvious common sense guy, just to see for myself.

See what for myself, you ask? Well, for starters, is he the same gibberish-speaking, hard-to-follow speaker in real life as he appears to be in public, a decision on which I could make within the first three minutes of us being alone, I’d bet?

Of course it will probably never happen, but if it does, I’m ready – and I’d even start out with a few easy questions just to get a feel for his sense of reality. Questions that have been scientifically formed, the answers to which will provide an in-depth view as to if the man is in any way tuned into the general populace – you know, the ones that have lined his pockets for many many years.

For instance:

What is the general price of a gallon of gas locally?

About how much does a gallon of milk cost at the local supermarket?

How much does a fifth of your favorite rum cost?

Boxers or briefs?

What is the boiling temperature of water at sea level?

How many stars and how many stripes are on the US flag?

As I said, those few warmup questions should provide a good base line as to if we are dealing with a real person or a man more akin to a federal politician. Of course, there is always the possibility that I would end the interview then and there and head off in search of a stiff drink. Let’s assume for a moment that, in a sudden fit of optimism on my part, I continue the interview and get down to some general state of NASCAR queries.

OK, more questions, like:

Overall, would you say that you are proud of what NASCAR has evolved into under your tenure at the helm?

To what do you attribute the apathy that millions of once-fiercely loyal fans now feel toward the sport?

Do you see the thousands of empty seats at any given track on any given weekend?

Do you understand the basic concept of a race, be it in a car or on foot?

Do you regret using the term “casual fan” or are you proud of the number you have created?

How many lugnuts are on a wheel of a standard NASCAR race car? (Again, this could be a interview-ending question should he waffle or get it wrong)

When it comes to the direction that NASCAR has taken under your leadership, have you ever made a wrong decision?

In your eyes, have you ever been wrong?

How do you justify that a man like Denny Hamlin, a racer that would not even be in the top 12 under last year’s Chase rules and currently in 14th place (using current points system but no Chase) should have the right to possibly be this year’s champion?

(Credit: CIA Stock Photography)
Despite not making the Chase this year if NASCAR used the old format, Denny Hamlin could very well be your 2014 Sprint Cup champion. (Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

Do you think, as is possible with Ryan Newman, that a driver who never won a race all year should be the series champion?

Do you ever just dress down and go out incognito among the fans at any of the few races you actually attend during the year?

Do you think you could learn anything valuable about what the common fan thinks of the sport nowadays if you did?

Are you ready to admit that the wing was a bad idea and actually did cause the cars to become airborne when going backward at speed?

Folks, I could go on – and I’m sure I would if this dream interview were to ever happen. I’m sure that the answers would provide even more questions to ask, mainly in the form of. “WTF?”and/or “Are you frickin’ kidding me?” To be brutally honest, my head would probably simply explode in a burst of red stickiness if I were ever to be granted this interview, so I should probably be careful what I wish for.

In other notable NASCAR news, our sport has drawn even closer to being on par with the NFL!

Not even a month ago I wrote the following passage: “…we all know the NFL is full of wife/girlfriend beaters, child abusers, murderers and dog fighters. What does NASCAR have? The odd druggie now and then, a cheater here or there, a few idiots in general, owners that have either done time or been pardoned – and, now, Brad Keselowski. But hey, the NFL has way more players than NASCAR so I guess in the end, percentage wise, it may even out.”

As of on cue, Kurt Busch is being investigated for domestic violence.

While this columnist is in no way, shape or form advocating domestic violence, I’ve got to be honest with you: if I would have made a short list of say, three drivers who’d be least of a surprise if they ran into this conundrum, Kurt Busch would have been at the top of that list. Way to help with the NASCAR vs. NFL percentages, Kurt.

Oh, don’t lie to me. You ain’t surprised either!

Stay off the wall (but let me hear your questions for Brian France, just in case),

Jeff Meyer

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Jeff is one of the longest-tenured staffers at Frontstretch, starting his second decade as the resident humorist and pain-in-the-butt that keeps NASCAR (and his fellow co-workers) honest. Writing Voices From The Cheap Seats, every Tuesday, his BSNews! Segments along with alter ego “Stu Padasso” have developed a large following. Jeff makes his home in Tennessee and is a Bristol groupie, camping out for the August night race every year since he can remember.

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8 comments

  1. Avatar

    Jeff, we all can dream, and I have dreamt the same dream. I used to love when those basic “economic” questions were asked of politician..reality has long since left these people and are surrounded by yes men. After 10 years of this nonsense I do agree with you on one point, while “The Chase” narrowed it down to 10, the cream for the most part rose to the top, but then again not really..look most recently at Dale Jr and Joey Logano, blown engines opening round at Chicago basically made them not in the running for the trophy last year and other guys not it..stat improved. Let them run the 36 for perks for wins, 5’s and 10, and laps led…this nonsense of getting lucky every three races, then to 1..doesn’t cut it. Besides this is the only sport that allows other non finalists to effect the outcome of the finalists..how is that even remotely justifiable? If you want stick and ball Brian clear the field. This man will never get it, his money is flowing and nobody is there to smack him upside the head and tell him what a ass he is.

  2. Avatar

    While BZF is certainly the face of what Nascar has become, I doubt if he is solely to blame. Certainly other family members and stakeholders (LOL) could force change things if they so wished. Obviously they don’t such actions to be necessary. Perhaps to sit in the conference room when they review this season would be entertaining, but probably not.

    Finally to equate the NFL and Nascar, while I understand it to be tongue in cheek, is almost laughable. Nascar on its best day doesn’t rival the NFL.

  3. Avatar

    You’d be wasting your time. BF doesn’t answer questions, he spews PR clichés and talks in circles. Listening to BF answer questions is as maddening as listening to a politician answer question. You will never hear anything but positive BS.

  4. Avatar

    “Is there any chance you might turn management of Nascar over to someone who understands the sport and if so, when?”

  5. Avatar

    In case no one has noticed, Brian France is interested in only the money he puts in his bank accounts. He has never wanted any real part of NASCAR, it was given to him, forced on him, when he didn’t want it. He doesn’t care about the racing or the fans, never has, never will. What needs to be understood that fans in the seats really aren’t his priority. His priority is the income from sponsorship involvement and from these idiotic tv deals. Add together the last two tv contracts and tell me exactly where his devotion is. We’ve all seen the decline in fan interest and lack of attendance but there hasn’t been a decline in tv money or sponsor money, so where is his real interest. NASCAR has made blunder after blunder under BZF and yet their revenues continue to increase. When the NASCAR revenues begin to decline then and only then will the fans become important once again. Nothing about NASCAR is about the product or the fans anymore. BZF doesn’t get who made NASCAR the powerhouse that it has become but, he does know who puts the most money in his pocket. That is the priority!

  6. Avatar

    There is a old saying. The first generation builds it the second generation makes it bigger and the third generation runs it into the ground.

  7. Avatar

    You are assuming a modicum of intelligence on his part. Stop right there; Brian (AKA Brain) is the living, breathing embodiment of a member of the LSC, Lucky Sperm Club. Indianapolis was plagued by the same problem but eventually the rest of the George family finally figured out how much Tony had hurt indycar racing and kicked his ass out. Wish that would happen here. Look at the absurdity that 3 drivers who collectively won 14 races are sitting out the chase. I’ll be sitting out Homestead.

  8. Avatar

    Brain Farce and his Beach Boys are so far removed from NA$CAR they have no clue what is going on. The
    sport is being run by the marketing “geniusry”. If you don’t think so look at the staff. Everyone has some
    creative title that has nothing to do with a racing background. They have been anointed and appointed and
    turned loose to experiment with whatever whim they can create.

    Thank you for calling it like it is. We won’t hear from the TV side.