Tuesday, January 11, 2011

No Brian France At Daytona Press Conference (2 Updates)

The original plan communicated to the media last season was to have NASCAR Chairman Brian France spearhead a press conference in Daytona on Friday, January 21 at noon ET. That Friday is right in the middle of the three day test for teams to experience the new DIS pavement.

France was expected to announce the anticipated changes to the Chase for the Championship format. Statements from France last year suggested that he was considering elements like expansion to fifteen teams, eliminations of one team after every Chase race and more points for winning in the regular season.

In addition to having most of the mainstream NASCAR media in Daytona for the test, SPEED has made arrangements to be on-site with the most extensive coverage of a test ever produced. The big news is that the vast majority of the coverage is going to be offered online globally through the SPEED.com website.

Monday afternoon, NASCAR announced that France would not be present at Daytona but would brief reporters on Wednesday, January 26 during the NASCAR media tour. France normally delivers a "State of the Sport" address at this time, so in essence France has been removed or removed himself from the Daytona media event.

NASCAR is now referring to the January 21 press conference as a competition update. It will be NASCAR president Mike Helton and Senior Vice President Robin Pemberton handling the duties for the sport. In one way, it makes sense to let the two primary players explain the rules changes and then deal with the questions. Certainly, other topics like ethanol, tires and the new DIS pavement will also be on the menu.

On the other hand, the Chase is a concept single-handedly advanced by France that has yielded mixed results. It has changed many aspects of the sport during what is now called the regular season and has dynamically changed the TV and media exposure for teams outside of the Chase while it is run.

France himself would be the one who authorized the new changes, as well as the possible exclusion of full time Sprint Cup Series drivers from the Nationwide Series driver's championship. It seems a little hollow that he is not the person to update the changes as the media reports and then carries those changes to the fan base.

Update #1: Monday night at 8:24PM ET a story appeared on the NASCAR.com website from reporter Dave Rodman. Click here to read the entire article. Basically, Rodman announced a major rules change. Drivers must now declare in advance of the season what series in which they will run for the championship. There is only one allowed. The story says this change will be explained by Helton and Pemberton in Daytona at the press conference on January 21.

Update #2: Shortly after the rules story, NASCAR made the following announcement:

NASCAR executives, including chairman Brian France, will meet with team owners, drivers and key team officials the next several weeks to talk about significant issues facing the sport. The meetings will be done by team organization instead of during one big meeting with all Cup or Nationwide teams, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston confirmed. In the past couple of years, NASCAR has increased its use of "town hall" style meetings to discuss potential changes to the sport. Last year, it opted for smaller team forums by meeting separately with each organization.

SPEED is currently not scheduled to be on with either TV or streaming coverage during that hour originally scheduled as a lunch break. We are waiting to hear what the plans will be to report on that event and will update this post.

Online coverage plans for the media tour have not yet been announced.

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Vicky D said...

JD, that picture tells it all, doesn't it???

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this new media campaign does not want to start out with an embarrassing conference. I understand their reasoning for shielding Brian from the media. Hopefully Brian is getting phased out of the sport for his own benefit.

I'm not looking foward to these competition changes either, based on initial speculation.

Sally said...

Since Brian France seldom has anything coherent to say, I'm not thinking his presence will be missed. Other than giving a list of his latest gimmicks, trying to invent 'excitement', he really has no concept of reality as far as racing is concerned. Remember this is the man who was astonished to hear that A fan didn't think his 'chase' is the greatest idea ever. At least Mike Helton can give information that makes some sort of sense, even if it's limited to how wonderful everythingis in the Nascar universe.

AncientRacer said...

Wow -- or am I just being too much of a Kremlin Watcher?

Anonymous said...

Brians absence from the sport is the best thing that can happen.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they have reconsidered changes to the Chase. Seriously - this year they got everything they wanted: title decided in last race, a close heat and major storyline all through the "playoffs". If they change it now, it would be like even that wasn't good enough, so hopefully they've just decided to leave it alone already.

Jonathan said...

Who cares, just let me hear what changes are coming so I can accept them and move on! I just wanna see some racing thats all :)

Roland said...

I try not to bash the guy cause hes not going anywhere anytime soon...but to not even have the decency to get his drunk a__ out of bed and drive across town to participate in an announcement of changes he is making really infuriates me. Poor Helton and Robin. I hope when the fan outrage pours in after these changes people wont shoot the messenger.

Remember DEI? After Sr died many wondered how it could go on. But they did. They won races and competed for championships as the world watched. But it slowly came unraveled when questionable changes were made. It became apparent that the Teresa was a hands off, camera shy leader. Now look at DEI, its nothing more than a name and an empty shop. The parallels between DEI and the current state of nascar are astounding. If this hands off, camera shy leader continues down this road of questionable changes and bad leadership, Nascar will be nothing more than a name and empty seats, even more so than it already is.

This press conference can right the ship or sink it. Lets hope for the best.

TexasRaceLady said...

I don't see BF's absence as a bad thing. At the very least, I know I'll get coherent statements from Helton and Pemberton.

Anonymous said...

Folks,you already have the answers to changes in the chase.Just look at the fact that almost everyone except Jeremy Mayfield is eligible for this years Shootout.Expect the same for the chase.

Anonymous said...

From nascar’s perspective, having BF not speak in public is a good thing. The guy comes across as: 1) a low intelligent person trying to make intelligent statements, 2) an extremely arrogant person, or 3) a person who does not really care about the sport of racing or its tradition. The list could go on and on. It’s sad the guy “leading” the sport does not have the ability to speak coherently in public. But on balance, BF would do more harm speaking than he will do by not speaking.

The changes made for the new season again reflect the really poor leadership of nascar. The shootout is so watered down now that it is no longer special. Brad K not being eligible, but everybody else and their mother is? Just go ahead and open it up to everyone that can qualify. The rule that a driver must declare what series he will compete in for a championship is a very weak “step” to correct the “bushwhacking”. Will it not lead to cup series drivers winning all the races and a nationwide driver in what, 5th place and no wins, winning the championship? That’s not right. It would be very hard to convince me that the nascar meetings with individual teams is nothing more than a very strong message to toe the nascar line. So from my perspective, the decisions again have been based on money for nascar and the sport of racing is again low on the priority list. Oh well. MC

GinaV24 said...

Personally I won't miss having France there to make another incoherent statement to the media. The guy simply can't string two declarative sentences together without contradicting himself. Whatever they are going to do, I'm sure that Helton & whatever other NASCAR mouthpiece can explain it better than BZF can.

Busch - they may want to shield Brian from the slings and arrows that the fans are going to toss more than the media. Seems to me that most of the questions from any of the NASCAR media are mostly softballs anyway.

I'm still waiting to renew any more of my 2011 tickets until I hear whatever it is that NASCAR is going to do to "tweak" the chase. By October of last year, I had lost interest in the racing - even if the chase was close and since so much of the hype will once again center around Johnson's "historic" pursuit of 6 10 race championships, I'm having a hard time even getting interested now.

sue said...

I don't know if you could have found a more appropriate photo to go with the article. Do we really want this man speaking for Nascar? Don't think so.

terri said...

I'm with everyone else: Look at that picture. Do you want THAT speaking as the executive officer of a company?

At least Helton understands the questions asked and gives a coherent answer.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but think back when Brian first took over--he looked younger, more energetic, kind of charming in his own way. And it was all downhill from there. Whatever his personal demons may be, I hope he gets help, but the company deserves a more stable driving force.

Chadderbox said...

Great Photo of "Brain" France.

Also great news he won't be at the Daytona test. If only we could hear reports that he removed himself from Nascar operations all together.

When will the Brian France experiment be over? It's not working!

Looking forward to streaming and the Daytona Test!

AncientRacer said...

It is frozen here in the SE so I've had a lot of time to rattle this column around in my mostly empty head. I kept on thinking about something JD wrote about some time ago, so with nothing better to do I went in search of it and found it. The column for October 4, 2009, "The Island of Brian France". Seems to mesh nicely with this one.

Anonymous said...

You're right Vicky D, a picture is worth a thousand words. The best thing for Nascar would be the sale of Nascar by the France family to someone who cares about the sport. It is apparent Brian doesn't. From his demeanor and his actions it appears he thinks Nascar is beneath his position in life. I certainly won't miss his presence, but Nascar has become rudderless. There is no leader, and without a leader any organization will fail.

Anonymous said...

Last season, the racing action was really top-notch. The Chase produced an exciting, dramatic finish. The rules package allowed for excitement. The drivers let their personalities shine. In many ways, it was one of the best years of racing ever.

And yet, the TV coverage has been nothing short of awful.

So, here's an idea: how about instead of pulling all the drivers into meetings and constantly tweaking the rules in ways that upset the fans and diminish the credibility of the sport... maybe Brian France and company should be having town hall meetings with the broadcast networks.

We don't need rules changes - we just need TV directors who know where to put a camera, and TV announcers who can keep viewers from napping!

Anonymous said...

I am no Brian France fan, but the people who make fun of his photograph are only doing themselves a disservice.

Anonymous said...

What Sally said

Will be nice to have a presser that I can stand. Mr. Helton & Robin are able to present themselves & be intelligent. I like when they get to speak :)

terri said...

What kind of disservice to myself am I doing by making fun of the man's photograph?

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

YOU look at it and if that picture doesn't embody the problems in this sport, please tell me what does.