Following a rather formal drivers council at Dover International Speedway, NASCAR Chairman Brian France agrees that it will enable all sides to have a larger voice.
Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano were included in the council with NASCAR officials on Saturday evening prior to the race at Dover, including NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton.
“We said from the beginning that we are going to improve our communications across the board with all of our stakeholders, and they are important as anybody,” France told a group of reporters on Sunday morning at Pocono. “What you are seeing is more formalized conversations. We talk all the time about things that are important to them. We did the same thing with the track operators. We didn’t have a formal get together with them. We now do in February of every year. It gives everybody a real good seat at the table to express what is important to them.”
The NASCAR field has been vocal about changes that they believe need to be made, which include addressing safety, aerodynamic issues among other concerns. As France stated, NASCAR has met with track owners plenty of times, including each February prior to the season-opener at Daytona.
With varying opinions across the garage area on what to do to please the teams and drivers, France is open to more ways of communication. In the past, one driver has usually stepped up to lead the way, according to the leader of NASCAR since 2003. However, it does not matter whether it is formal or not, as long as people are voicing their opinions. The Race Team Alliance (RTA) was also formed last season, and combined with a driver council, the Sanctioning Body is prepared to do what is best for the sport.
“It doesn’t matter how the exact form of communications happens, but what matters is that it does happen,” France said. “Getting the stake holders as close to us as we can, there are a lot of good ideas that comes out of these discussions – the drivers with safety, the business stuff and there are just all kinds of stuff that they are interested in that we can communicate well with them. If we have to formalize them to get better input, then we will formalize them.”