Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Update: The Island Of Brian France

It was October of 2009 when we offered the original column on the elusive Brian France. "The Island of Brian France" can be read by clicking on the title. Please take note of the reader comments as well.

At that time, France had been poorly advised in terms of talking directly to the media. He strongly assured the media and public multiple times that sexual harassment allegations made by former NASCAR employee Mauricia Grant were completely false. They were not.

France also reinforced the validity of NASCAR's "reasonable suspicion" drug policy. In a subsequent story by ESPN, former Camping World Truck Series driver Aaron Fike admitted to heroin use on race days. A short time later, NASCAR's entire approach to controlled substances, medication and testing was radically changed.

These days France is surrounded not by public relations or media professionals, but by marketing men. The shift in philosophy away from feeding the media and toward controlling it is company-wide. Marketing folks pick the agenda, control the answers and never get "off message."

Update: On July 7 in the DIS Infield Media Center, France spoke to the press corps. He said he was encouraged by the first half of the season and that the sport would never stoop to gimmicks to spice up the racing. He had no updates on a new TV contract or solutions for TV commercial issues. New technology in development included the 2013 Cup cars and "glass dashboards" for use in the future.

What France had not done was watch the Sprint Cup Series race from Kentucky Speedway on TNT. What he did not see is what his premier product has become on television. He did not see one-third of the racing covered by commercial breaks. He did not have the pleasure of watching Junior and Pop Pop wrestle over Kentucky Fried Chicken side dishes for three solid hours.

This is the island of Brian France. Informed on agendas that serve him, but seemingly oblivious to the real fan issues of the sport. In November of 2010, France was asked in another media session what he would say to fans who do not like his Chase for the Championship points system. "You met somebody who’s telling you that?" was his response to the reporter.

Last year the teams not in the Chase were excluded from ESPN's TV coverage. Unless leading the race, the non-Chasers were sentenced to ten races without TV exposure. Once again the vast majority of the field suddenly became field fillers. Regardless of the actual story of the race, the Chase coverage has skewed the final ten races into a hybrid television presentation that serves no one.

The Chase was created by France to counteract the NFL season. It was intended to draw fans away from regional NFL games because of its play-off nature. Instead, it gave fans of drivers not in the Chase a reason to watch football. How to solve the problem of making TV cover the actual races and simply update the Chase has been an issue France has continually avoided. The annual Chase hype begins with ESPN's Brickyard 400 coverage in less than two weeks.

Social media has been embraced by NASCAR and promoted as a wonderful information platform for fans. Now, real time text service Twitter has become both a blessing and a curse. Rich with information directly from NASCAR sources use of Twitter during live Sprint Cup Series races by fans has boomed.

The curse has come from allowing fans to see just how much race information and on-track action is actually being missed by television. Instead of being a location for fans to simply congregate, Twitter has become a digital complaint board about the sport's television woes. This is a key issue for the sport.

France faces the creation of a new NASCAR TV contract this year. This time, NASCAR owns the digital rights to all of its own product. The question is whether France is negotiating for a new package that includes NASCAR streaming races to laptops, tablets and smart phones. The lack of easily available online content has been one of the most significant NASCAR issues of the last decade.

The last media availability of the NASCAR chairman in January was quite structured. The issues he never addressed were significant. He covered fuel injection, the wild cards in the Chase and suggested the sport had momentum. Those were the highlights. Here is the reality.

Any human being who tried to watch the Kentucky Speedway race on TNT knows what the sport has is trouble. Any fan who followed NASCAR's advice and got on Twitter can see the problems. What the sport needs is fixing. If ESPN walks in with full-screen commercials, endless Chase hype and focuses on twelve teams only, the result is not going to be pretty when the NFL season starts.

We invite your comments on this topic. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Use of Twitter by race fans is up, but at the tracks, attempting to use it is a nightmare. ISC and ISC track staff (Daytona, Martinsville, Richmond, Dover--the 4 tracks I've been to this year) have been oblivious to the problem, stating that it is up to the mobile carriers to bring in additional temporary towers, etc. No, idiots, it's up to you to provide it. Mobile coverage is a public safety issue; racetracks are large areas and people need to be able to reunite with their kids if they get separated, and receive public safety information in the event of an emergency. In addition, as a Daytona inside wall papered with hashtags illustrates, NASCAR is begging race fans to tweet our little hearts out and follow along. And I love following races on Twitter. But without coverage, you can't do it from the stands. And that's where NASCAR's biggest fans want to sit. Fix it, NASCAR.

Steve said...

What is NASCAR doing to nurture the core fan base? There has been a large amount of effort by the governing body to attract new fans while neglecting its core base. These core fans are the ones attending races and attempting to attract new fans through word of mouth. France needs to read up on Pareto's Law and realize that 20% of the fan base consumes 80% of your product. Marketing 101.

E-Ticket said...

I hope that someone at NASCAR reads your post and embraces what you are saying. Sadly I don't think they care anymore...

Anonymous said...

Your point about keeping up with the race better via twitter than TV is dead on. For most races this season I've ignored the race on TV by either watching something else or not even having the TV because I can keep up with it via twitter and not have the annoying "personalities" and repetitive commercials.

Even if the TV coverage is fixed, unless the racing improves it won't matter. The chase may have sounded good on paper but it hasn't worked in the real world, the talk this week has been focused on mandatory cautions and how they affect the "flow" of a race and how the drivers want to let things play out naturally, in the grand scheme of thing the chase is no different. Both periodically re-set everything and/or bunch up the field to create excitement.

Once again, fix the racing and the excitement will be there, the more B France and his handlers monkey with things the more the sport suffers

LpMv2407 said...

@Anon 7:48 I know for a fact Martinsville has 2-3 towers brought in each race weekend. 1 is an AT&T and the others are Sprint. It's actually the only time during the year we have "4G" coverage in the area and its pretty stable. During the race, I'm sure it is possible to have an overload on the providers with 65,000 people at one place hitting the same towers. I feel confident most people in attendance probably have Sprint as well since they sponsor the series.

Anonymous said...

I had great twitter/data coverage at Martinsville when I was there. I didn't pay for tix to be on twitter during the race, but before/after and in the fan zone it was fine. I have good coverage at Dover and Richmond as well.

I like Richmond's "text your problem" service. That's really cool.

William said...

I cannot distinguish between Brian France and Arthur Bach. Dudley will portray Brian France in his biopic.

AncientRacer said...

One, like me for instance, wonders how long it will be, because with the fan base empowered and restless as it never before has been or been able to be it shall be, there will occur an exchange in the woefully out-of-touch NASCAR Executive Offices similar to this favorite of mine from the French Revolution:

King Louis XVI: Is this a revolt?

Duke of Rochefoucauld-Liancourt: No, Sire, it is a revolution.

Sooner rather than later would be my preference because in the above case by the time the conversation took place it was already too late to save the Throne.

bevo said...

A little stat to consider that you learn in Business Administration about family businesses.

Less than 40% survive the second generation. Less than 13% survive the third generation and less than 3% make it after that.

Anonymous said...

2013 needs to be the year of "back to basics" for NASCAR if they want to actually have some success. We're getting cars closer to stock appearance again, and this would be a perfect time to discontinue the Chase in favor of a full-season championship (although the new points structure seems to work pretty well).

While NASCAR can't dictate how the TV networks cover the sport, there needs to be a healthy dialogue between the sanctioning body and the networks about showing more of the field, opening up the camera angles to better showcase multiple cars and adjusting commercial loads to better showcase the racing.

Of course, what you'll hear today is how wonderful Danica has been for Nationwide ratings, how the 2013 cars are going to be fantastic and how exciting the Chase is going to be.

KoHoSo said...

What France did not do is watch the Sprint Cup Series race from Kentucky Speedway on TNT.

For me, that is the key point. BZF seems out of touch with the NASCAR fan base because he is out of touch with the fan base. He does not usually attend races and fails to take the time to watch his product on TV. Add in the fact that he is surrounding himself with yes-men that also have no full roots in the sport and its no wonder we continue to see the sport so poorly represented and so many empty seats. They can crow al they want about "still the most-watched sporting event every weekend" -- we all know better in how much things have fallen over the past decade.

Other than that, this just reminds me of the post where we all started calling BZF "Flounder" after the character in Animal House. I just wonder when Brian will finally see the big pile of destruction surrounding him where once stood the glory of NASCAR because he made the mistake of handing the keys over to Bluto and D-Day.

MRM4 said...

There is an interesting column by Michael Heistand in today's USA Today about TNT's Wide Open coverage and even last year's split screen usage by ESPN. Contrary to what we have been told for years, it seems that most advertisers like the split screen coverage. This shows how the leadership of NASCAR has their collective heads in the sand. They should take control of this, especially with the new TV contracts coming up.

Brian France is a complete goofball. To me, he envisions himself as someone like the head of F-1 - a certain lifestyle. His decisions have been poor. Fans were turned off by the COT and now they're coming out with a new car that looks like street cars. What a concept. The Chase is hit or miss with fans and hasn't done anything to improve ratings. NFL is still the king and their empire in the TV market has grown.

Anonymous said...

A good article, but it got off track a little. The chase is NOT the problem. All sports focus on their marquee teams (anybody sick of seeing the Lakers/Yankees/Cowboys on national TV every other game?). The real issue with Nascar right now is the product on the track. The racing is monotonous...roundy-roundy with little action and drama. Fix the on-car product, and you will far less notice that the coverage is bad, the announcers biased and that each tv outlet seemingly has their own agenda.

James said...

I would like to ask BZF this one question. Your family has promoted the sport, including funding small teams when needed to keep the "show" afloat. Why do you feel the change from supporting the teams to marketing the sport became the "best interests" of the sport. You appear to have no interest in the long term racing, instead your focus is in being paid for everything that is NASCAR. Your COT, that was designed to "save money" has tripled the cost of putting the car on the track and instead of supporting the small teams the opposite has occurred, the small teams are disappearing and NASCAR seems to not care.

GinaV24 said...

if ESPN walks in with that mode in place, I won't be waiting for football season. It's summer and I really CAN find something else to do with my weekend besides be frustrated with the TV coverage of NASCAR.

I don't expect anything different from Brainless France. NASCAR's management has become a case of too little, too late and people who make stupid remarks like Brian France did about "someone not liking the chase" and Robin Pemberton and his "needy fans" are so out of touch that they may as well be in outer space.

I don't care about NASCAR's green initiative - I want to see better racing both on the track and broadcast on TV.

I saw Pistone again made a comment in his article about how "great the racing has been" and I truly wonder if he needs his eyes checked. I've been to races in person so I've seen it for myself - some places are better than others, but none of it is IMO great racing.

fbu1 said...

Mr Daly

This blog has been judged to be in violation of Sections 22-PR (comments detrimental to the stock car racing establishment). In addition to the one month suspension of your press credentials, you will be fined $10,000. Public disclosure of the aforementioned disciplinary committee decision will result in your banishment from all NASCAR activities for one year.

It is important that everyone who believes in NASCAR's uniquely American mission must stay on message. Supporting NASCAR, its executives, its sponsors and its media partners is a patriotic duty. As a private enterprise, NASCAR embodies the finest traditional corporate values, maximizing company profits by shifting the majority of overhead expense to our trusted financial partners and the teams who participate in our collective endeavor. Questioning NASCAR executive decisions is considered by some to be un American and possibly even socialist, as many of us consider the Freedom of the Press issue to be. Hopefully, the temporary press credential suspension will convince you to join the team. We believe in second chances. After all, This IS America.

Thank you for your attention:
Czar Brian

DWAZ said...

In a family business, the 1st generation builds it,the second grows and maintains it,the third generation runs it into the ground!What do you think Brian?

West Coast Kenny said...

@Bevo,

I what you said is true because my grandfather built a million dollar food business in the 50s (!) and after he retired, watched my father destroy it -- my legacy -- in less than a dozen. You don't put your fishing buddies on payroll and then take them out on your boat in the middle of the day, because when you go bankrupt, your accountant retires to the Bahamas.

J.D.,

Two things can happen when you surround yourself with loyal employees: either they can be truthful to you and you respect them for it, or they learn the iconic words written by Aaron Sorkin in his play and screenplay (and spoken by Jack Nicholson), "An Officer and a Gentleman:"

"You can't handle the truth."

When you work for a man like Brian France, you quickly figure out that every day before work you have to sing "Home on the Range" ("Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word") so you come to work equipped for the Sisyphean task of trying to succeed for someone who is dead set against anything that isn't his own idea.

One of my general managers, also the son of a man who built the business, was a dilettante who was jealous of an employee who who graduated from college and made historical references he didn't understand (like Sisyphus).

So he waited until four weeks after I left before he incorporated every change I suggested, and within two years, that 10% of the business so profitable it dwarfed the other 90.

One of the few reality TV shows I've enjoyed is "Undercover Boss," where the CEO surreptitiously masquerades as a low-level new hire so he can find out how his business actually functions instead of reading reports written by managers several levels removed from the customers.

Sir Brian needs to put on some glasses and a wig and work as a bartender in a NASCAR bar. (Let's hope he doesn't consume the profits.) He has to read Daly Planet and the unfiltered Twitter feeds.

NASCAR is too big to go out of business in a few years. But it could easily end up a marginal promotion like Indycar, knocking on doors hat in hand begging for timeslots on broadcast networks and on cable channels no one can find.

During boom times, the blind pig is surrounded by a roomful of acorns. No matter where he stumbles, he'll find one. But when times are tough and there are fewer and fewer acorns, the pig will slowly starve.

WCK

glenc1 said...

I think the basic problem is there is no vision....it seems like NASCAR just reacts to things without thinking ahead. In general, I think promoters (the tracks) the sponsors, and even the advertisers seem to have better plans in place than anything I've seen from NASCAR since Brian took over. I liked him at first. He seemed eager & interested. Now...it's as if he found out it's real work and he can just let others take over, so there is no one steering the ship. I just see lots of hands in the mix with the short term goal of making money, not making the sport better and keeping/growing its fan base. I don't think the racing is the problem. It doesn't look that much different to me than it did 15 years ago (in person). I think the Chase was a bad idea (still do) but again...it's only one of many choices NASCAR has made that seemed to send things in the wrong direction. It's not one thing, it's everything put together. I'm sure there are some happy fans at home who love all the TV guys and think everything is super cool. And yes, many of us sought out a place like this to vent our frustration, so we're maybe a little slanted in the complaint department.

But you know, NASCAR is starting to remind me of the last time I went to the circus about 20 years ago (and not for the obvious reasons....) I did not notice when I was a child, but as an adult, the constant hawking of merchandise & food made me much more conscious that the circus was just there to make money, and from then on, the entertainment value wasn't enough for me to ever want to go back and have to endure the rest. NASCAR has become so driven with everything from the Coke family of drivers, to the 'Aaron's Lucky Dog', to the race sponsor to the tickers to the cautions...*EVERYTHING* is an advertisment, and then to add insult to injury, we have to sit through endlessly repeated commercials...it's just overload. Some of it is the network & the companies involved, but a lot of those 'offical' whatevers of NASCAR ought to be sponsoring cars instead--and NASCAR diverts the money from where it ought to go. And yes, I agree with those saying that NASCAR doesn't seem to listen or care. I mentioned this once before, but I feel like they're trying to manipulate and exploit fans known for brand loyalty. Well, it's not 'blind' loyalty....when we've had enough, we're going to *stop* being so loyal. Many already have.

KoHoSo said...

If we had such a thing, I'd nominate fbu1 for Comment of the Month and possibly Comment of the Year!

GinaV24 said...

WCK, not to quibble with your post but your line was from "A Few Good Men".

It's still a good one though and very true IMO about BZF.

Sally said...

BZF may consider himself a 'marketing genius', but has failed to realize that all the marketing in the world will not compensate foe an inferior product. His father and grandfathers were regulars at the tracks, keeping in touch personally with the teams, owners, drivers, and fans. Obviously he doesn't even bother to watch his 'product' on television, or he would be demanding better representation from the networks. Like the networks, he relies on gimmmicks rather than a superior product to maintain and grow the interest and sudience. I have to wonder how Mike Helton must feel, having been around when Bill Jr. was running things. He may be as frustrated as many of us fans, watching the floundering and bad decision making taking place these days.

MRM4 said...

glenc1 is right. NASCAR has no leadership and no vision of the future except for their green initiative. When is the last time they came up with a good idea that wasn't a reaction to something the fans and/or competitors where complaining about?

PhoenixHotZonie said...

GinaV24 said "I saw Pistone again made a comment in his article about how "great the racing has been" and I truly wonder if he needs his eyes checked. I've been to races in person so I've seen it for myself - some places are better than others, but none of it is IMO great racing."

The likely reason for his statement he's been a part of the MRN radio team the last few races. Ahhh...follow the money and who butters his bread.

Buschseries61 said...

Bravo! It really isn't that difficult to see the big picture and move ahead improving the sport. But, as the title goes, Brian is on his own island.

I think it's great what Randy Bernard has done to IndyCar. The series has lots of problems, but it's so much better than where it was five years ago. He's at the track nearly every weekend, also on twitter every once in a while.

Compare that to Brian France, isolated from the sport he rules over. There is no way to send him fan input. His rule is highlighted by 're-alignment' that has not always been aligned with the fans. You can count his season-long weekends at the track on one hand.

Kentucky showed that change is needed. The weight on the sport is not on Dale Jr., it's on the man running the circus. Time for one of his marketing servants to get Brian France on twitter to better understand the thought space of his consumers.

Adam Wood said...

Mobile coverage not being up to what it needs to be is a problem nationwide. That's why the major companies have data caps & limits. The best thing that tracks can do regarding Twitter & such is putting wi-fi coverage in the grandstands.

As for the TV contracts, here's what I want to see:
FOX-Daytona 500 - Coke 600
NBC/TNT-Split coverage from Dover to Richmond
ABC/ESPN-Chase

SPEED can have the Gatorade Duels & Practice/Qualifying, but I don't want any other races on SPEED or NBC Sports Network. Both of these networks are NOT basic cable channels and will turn sponsors away from the sport.

Commercials are another topic entirely. Here's what needs to be ironed into the next TV contract:
First 1/4th of race: Completely commercial free
Middle of race: Side-by-side
Last 1/3rd of race: Completely commercial free

I want all races streamed online, viewable on Mobile Phones & Tablets (iPads, Surfaces, Kindle Fires included).

Finally, I think the contract should only be 5 years-not 7. Keep the TV partners on their toes a little bit.

Anonymous said...

So when are we going to hear what Brian had to say?

Daly Planet Editor said...

I'll have an update on France's remarks. You can Google him for reporters stories on his remarks.

Less than spectacular and lots of vague answers in my opinion.

Update after NNS action! Join us on Twitter to live tweet the race.

JD

Anonymous said...

Thanks JD for the info. I'll google around to see what I can find.

Hope the Nationwide race is a good one!

JR

Charlie Spencer said...

Anon @ 7:48 - What the ? How is it a third party's responsibility to provide you with connectivity? People have been bringing their kids to races for decades and been able to keep up with them without cell phones.

William @ 10:40 - Arthur is the one that makes sense.

Bruton, I'm with Carl Edwards: scheduled cautions are like resetting the score in the middle of a basketball game. You wanna reduce the amount of riding around in the middle of a race? Run heat races before a shortened main event. Instead of a 500 mile race, run two 100 mile heats and a 250 mile main.

Buschseries61 said...

How about Allen Bestwick's play-by-play tonight? Some of the best I have heard since this blog began. ESPN, third time was a charm.

Tracy D said...

We have Verizon and all our phones worked fine at Richmond. We texted each other during the race from the stands.

Tracy D said...

Buschseries61, I agree!

53 Yr. fan said...

In hopes of finding something positive I read the transcript
of France on Jayski. It turned out to be another unitelligible
babble. All I could discern was
he has surrounded himself with
more marketing "geniuses" and no
racers. The man only doesn't know;
he doesn't even suspect. When
will the France family depose him?

Anonymous said...

Scheduled cautions may not be the way to go but running lap after lap in a straight line will continue to lose viewers.
Drivers can continue to think no cautions and also shorter races are better but it is the paying fans and viewers that count. No viewers equals no sponsors, no sponsors equals no salaries!!

Also who wants to pay high ticket and hotel prices for shorten races. I guess baseball should go to five innings.

Plate races are the only ones that interest me now. They are more about driver talent with cars on all 4 sides. Most drivers can run a faster car single file.

Anonymous said...

That's because Bestwick had something to talk about. They were racing and not driving around in a straight line.

sjp56 said...

a handful of scheduled yellows if worked into a points paying format may not be all bad. It would certainly reconcile a big commercial TV issue which is when to take a break and get a lot of things out of the way . As to Carl's assertions about resetting the game the way the game is played now we have back markers resetting the field constantly with dumb mistakes and often foiling the lead pack races .

Why not break the race into reasonable length segments and pay points for the lead at each break ?
Once it becomes part of of the format race strategy will be built around that. Better than having it reset every time a plastic bottle is thrown on the track or a back marker spins for the third time.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:49:

Formula 1 runs lap after lap after lap, yet they continue to add fans worldwide year after year, decade after decade. It is only the American audience with their short attention spans that they have trouble with.

Auto racing is supposed to be about the fastest driver with the fastest car winning the race. Not 'manufacturing' excitement.

NASCAR tried to sell their soul on 'excitement', and now it is coming back to bite them. And hard.

Eviltim said...

Brian France has no touch on reality when he is compared with other motorsports.

Randy Bernard isn't perfect, but he is actively involved in revitalizing Indy Car. He is at the tracks most races and is on Twitter and always working to make the racing better. And the fact is, this year has had awesome racing leaps and bounds better racing than NASCAR for the most part and generally better television coverage as well. They are having plenty of negative issues too, but at least Randy Bernard is aware and trying!

Formula 1 is another example of the owner being actively involved. There are definitely plenty of bad things you could say about Bernie Ecclestone and his leadership, but one of those isn't being disconnected from the series. He is always on the grid before the race and at the track. And just like Indy Car, the racing in that series has become vastly superior to the average race in NASCAR. Not to mention the TV coverage of the F1 races is absolutely astounding, especially considering they have no control over the cameras!


Brian France needs to do a number of changes to keep NASCAR relevant compared to other motorsports. "Mandatory cautions" is definitely not the answer, because if that is needed that is just proof there is something wrong with the racing. Goodyear either needs competition from another tire manufacturer or needs to be forced to bring softer tires or the racing will never improve.

The point system needs a true change for the winner of a race. This new system makes winning even less valuable than before, regardless of what Brian France and others say. Winning needs to be worth 10 (or 25%) more points than 2nd place, and I truly believe that only in the range of the top 12 to top 20 cars should get points. There needs to be incentives for both finishing consistently well and winning in order to stop drivers from "riding around." Its producing amazing championship races in Formula 1, no reason it couldn't in NASCAR as well.

Unfortunately, until Brian France gets in touch with reality and starts actually managing the SPORT instead of the "show", I don't think we will see any significant improvements.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Been working on France comments from session and reactions.

Will have a new column early this week on the topic.

The full comments link is on Jayksi if you want to read it.

JD

Ancient Racer said...

What this column needed and all it needed was this:

...From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.


Wm. Shakespeare: Henry V Act IV, Scene 3

Sally said...

As usual, BZF has no clue that the best marketing in the world will not continue to sell an inferior product. All the luxury boxes and infield 'attractions' in the world won't make the racing better or more exciting. Does he really think people are going to spend the $$ needed to attend a race and stay in the area if the on track product is dull? Bristol should be a red flag for him. In the middle of nowhere, Bristol sold out for years because the on track racing was all the excitement needed to get fans in the stands. Change the track, change the racing, and the fans are staying home. There's a lesson there is he's smart enough to see it. I'm not holding my breath.

Colorado said...

I have stated it before: Brian needs to go. Now. He is one of the "clueless" individuals I have been talking about. He is so far removed from the real world, I wonder what color the sky is there in his world? The Chase, God, I don't even know where to begin, other than Bill Jr. did NOT want it. But Brian couldn't wait until his dad got cold, before he drastically destroyed the sport his father and grandfather built.Add in selling all of the rights to the networks, so they can use the sport as thier own agenda machine, and we have what we see now.

GinaV24 said...

JD, I wonder whether the creation of the office of information for media and the #NASCAR hashtag are efforts to "control the message". Obviously those people with twitter accounts don't have to interact with #NASCAR but if the availability of information becomes limited, what does that tell us?

I don't hide the fact that I am a Jeff Gordon fan and since it seems more and more likely that he will not make the chase this year, I will most likely not be watching ESPN's NASCAR coverage once the chase begins.

Of course he doesn't watch it on TV. I doubt that he ever goes to any track unless there's a specific reason. Brian France has the same issues that most of the people who are "above the law" so to speak. Out of touch and out to lunch.

Colorado said...

I have to add an interesting nugget: On Race day the other day, my arch-nemesis, DW, actually said something that caught me off gaurd in a good way: After the Richard Petty, Gordon, and his interview, he said, to effect" Richard could actually run this sport. He knows what needs to be done, and people listen to him" The fact that those very words were spoken by essentially a Yes Man struck me as a Freudian Slip. Almost that either DW wants Brian to go, or that he knows that he is soon to be gone... Just something to think about, since anyone who utters words about anyone other than a France running the sport, is wished away into the cornfield...

Anonymous said...

We could go on and on about BZF but here's the problem in a nutshell.He just dosent see reality.His whole approach is based on smoke and mirrors,and as i said before,he could be Mr Haney's grandchild.Does anybody notice that he has a similar accent and the same crooked eyes?He's just a bit younger and it's 2012.His fascination with greed,"game 7 moments",and a total disregard for his father's way of running the sport is sending Nascar to a slow death.I REALLY hope NBC does end up replacing ESPN and televising because it would mean more exposure and hopefully better coverage,but it will take a lot more than that to do the job.He and his Yes Man men Have made some Half-hearted attempts to bring back some good old aspects of the sport but as Ed Hinton once said,"Greed is never retrogressive".What is most disappointing is the concurrent attitude of catering to the "casual fan"while seemingly not giving a crap what us real fans want.My question is,what prospective "new" or "casual" that may haved watched sunday's race would have possibly liked what they were seeing? It is a sorry state of affairs,but that's the way the cookie floats.


Coffeeshop42

Buschseries61 said...

It seems France has forgotten the fundamentals his father built.

If France wants the younger generation, make the cars attractive like they used to be. Honestly as a kid (now in my early 20's), I wasn't attracted to the sport by cartoon rodents or drivers making funny faces in a commercial bumper. It was the colors on the cars and the number of cars that grabbed my attention. (It kicked off my 1:64 diecast collection - that equals $$$ NASCAR!!) It was the speeds and the wrecks. I connected with one driver immediately and I'm still a fan 13 years later.

The schedule from 1972 - 1995 ranged from 29-31 races a season, a 'golden number' that seemed to work for the sport. It kept fans anticipating the next race throughout the season.

The points system is supposed to encourage hard racing, not a cautious parade. The fans got a 1 mile merry-go-round opposed to a race at Loudon. But hey, at least those fans got to see their driver collect points! Oh wait, I'm sorry - I forgot the points get reset soon. Well, at least they got a nice tan.

The sport seems directionless, continuing to learn what it is not rather than what makes it so great. New Hampshire was a great illustration of that lack of direction. NASCAR and the TV partners need to get a clue why people are fans and followers of the sport.

Dot said...

Why is brian france still in charge of nascar? I've been calling him the emperor for years. Doesn't the Board of Directors see what's going on? They need to do to brian what the George family did to Tony George, boot him!

Anonymous said...

Goodyear will never bring a soft tire to a speedway again. When Goodyear did bring soft tires that would go away during a run between pitstops the drivers, led by Tony Stewart specifically, would crucify Goodyear publicly for "poor products" and don't think Goodyear will stand for that at all. So the end result is a hockey puck tire that will last nearly all race long if need be and the racing we see.

Colorado said...

Dot: I have brought this up before. JD France had earlier tried to start a family movement to "move" Brian out, but, and without knowing the details, was cut short. I believe that Lisa France Kennedy is the mirror image of Kelly Earnhardt: She pulls all the strings and directs her minions into places they should never be.

Judy B said...

There really isn't much I can add to your article or the comments already posted. I will say I never understood why Brian France was given the power he has regardless of his name. I think he enjoys other sports more than NASCAR & therein lies the real problem. He's too busy trying to make OUR sport into something HE can better enjoy.

Anonymous said...

tony didnt complain about soft tires, he complained about hard tires that had no grip, mostly vega 07 atlanta 08

fbu1 said...

Under Brian France's tenure, we have seen NASCAR get rejected by New York City and virtually humiliated by the lack of interest in the Pacific Northwest. Large corporate sponsors for race teams are quietly slipping away out the back door, and on more than one occasion, into the waiting arms of NASCAR itself. (Poaching team sponsors has a way of hindering growth.)

The NASCAR media package was put together with limited vision or oversight. Brian France's most notable contribution, the Chase, gave the ESPN reality show script writers their story line: follow twelve cars and ignore everyone else. The only way the smaller teams will get TV mentions is to be involved in an accident. The desperately needed dollars that the smaller teams need to compete begin to disappear when their sponsors realize that they are not getting the TV exposure that they expected. In truth, for smaller companies with limited advertising budgets, NASCAR sponsorship is a terrible investment, thanks to the lack of full race coverage by all of the broadcast partners. As a result, we fans are treated to a raft of start and park teams to fill out the field.

Momentum based on past performance only lasts so long. At this point in time, NASCAR needs someone to use the bully pulpit to address these serious issues, to inspire confidence among sponsors AND teams and to provide strong leadership into the future.

What we have is Brian France talking about "glass cockpits".

fbu1

Anonymous said...

Hey JD(first off i want your opinion)i have a question.Why did they abandon the uniform earlier start times they had in 2010?I know this will sound a bit OCD but i hate races that end on sunday nights,particularly the last race in miami.It just feels a bit miserable and depressing.It just feels poetic to end the season at dusk,if you know what i mean.Another bigger issue though,is that by starting the finale(or any other race for that matter)at a later time is that it shortens the window to resume rain delayed races.Remember the 2009 Daytona 500(for which they made next years change)?Also,remember at the finale last year how it rained with about 50 to go when it was already fairly late?Had it rained just a little bit harder Carl would be the champion and Nascar would have faced the ultimate embarrassment(not to mention it also busted out raining about 5 minutes after the checkered flag flew),which is a scare that could have been avoided by a early start time.I know the ratings for the 2010 chase were low,but i dont think they should have should have given up on that strategy so soon,i thought it was one of the best ideas they have had recently.Sorry for going a bit off-topic,but i have always wanted to ask this.

PS Sorry for being so late with this question.
Coffeeshop42

RacingDMP said...

I have been a voice for years on the official site giving my 2 cents on the lack of web-content. The Racebuddy app is horrible, claiming HD streams on what pretty much amounts to fixed angle cameras (good luck with a replay of an accident) and having to stream MRN or PRN for audio. So much so that they deleted many comments well within the guidelines of the website. I used to get better streams from kids on JTV who did better with much less. Major fail.