DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Saturday robust discussion will go into setting the 2015 schedule.
A revamped format to the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship this season, coupled with NBC taking over the second half of the television schedule next season, gives NASCAR an opportunity to make scheduling changes.
There will be a robust discussion that will be for those reasons a more comprehensive look at what the best schedule will look like, he said.
France also noted multiple weather delays this year at several race tracks as reason for considering tweaks. Saturday night’s scheduled race at Daytona was postponed until 11 a.m. today because of rain, and the season-opening Daytona 500 was stopped for more than six hours.
Bristol had a significant rain delay in March, and Texas was postponed a day in April.
There’s been some weather issues, as you well know, in the last several years at Bristol as an example, and then some other things that we would naturally look at as we go along in the schedule, and now that the Chase format is changed, there’s additional interest to move from one place to another, he said.
But, France said there are no current plans to award a coveted Sprint Cup race to Iowa Speedway. The track was acquired last year by NASCAR sister company International Speedway Corp., but only hosts the Nationwide Series, Truck Series and IndyCar.
France also indicated the season finale is staying put for the foreseeable future at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The track recently extended its sponsorship agreement with Ford Motor Co. through at least 2019, with an option to extend through 2024.
Here are two other things France touched on Saturday at Daytona:
Sprint Cup regular Kyle Busch has won all five Truck Series races he has entered this season and been nearly as dominant in the second-tier Nationwide Series, posting 12 top-five finishes in 13 starts. Fans have taken notice, with many of them crying foul play. But NASCAR doesn’t sound as if it’s close to limiting Cup drivers to a certain number of starts in lower series.
France is so far pleased with the on-track competition and credits the emphasis placed on winning for an uptick in action.
There have been 10 winners through 17 races, and NASCAR this season has set a win-and-get-in model for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
The 16-driver field will be set after the September race at Richmond, so there are nine more opportunities for drivers to gain berths into the field.
I think we can all see the benefits of changing the winning importance, and it in fact has changed the racing on the track, he said. The drivers are telling us that. They’re taking different kind of chances. They’re going for wins when they would have played it safe otherwise.