Brian France stirs up the media prior to 2012 season finale

NASCAR chairman addressed the media Saturday, discussing the 2013 car, social media, the economy, rules, television, cell phones and a myriad of other topics. His presence was preceded by announcements from Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR vice president of racing operations. His statements encircled the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, which has been dubbed the Gen 6 car, short for Generation 6.

The Gen 6 car will debut at Daytona in February and in addition to the car itself, the driver’s last name will be featured on the windshield, no sponsor decal will be permitted on the headlights and taillights, car numbers will be moved from the lights to the front and rear bumpers, a single sponsor logo will be allowed on the roof under the number and a handful of other lesser enhancements.

The official sponsor and decal placements for the 2013 Ford Fusion
The official sponsor and decal placements for the 2013 Ford Fusion

Photo by: NASCAR Public Relations

In addition to the Gen 6 car, France said NASCAR’s continuing goal is to improve upon the quality of racing “to have the closest, most competitive, tightest racing that we can.” He went on to say that the rules packages are being are being built around the car, seeking to address the goal for top-notch racing.

Having the race cars closely resemble street cars is thought to appeal to the fans, particularly those who want to identify with the cars they see in showrooms.

Not unexpectedly, he dodged the question as to the possibility of the Camping World Series performing on the dirt at the Eldora Speedway next season. The 2013 NASCAR Camping World Series schedule hasn’t been released but many believe it will include a stop at Tony Stewart’s famed dirt track. France said he raced on dirt years ago and said dirt-track racing is part of NASCAR’s history.

In February, Brad Keselowski received enormous publicity when he tweeted from his car during a red-flag but nine months later, he was fined for doing so, as rules had been implemented for banning electronic devices inside race cars. Reportedly, one or more teams had used modern technology to spy on their competitors, and this came about after the introduction of EFI equipment.

Championship contenders press conference: Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing Dodge
Championship contenders press conference: Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing Dodge

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

France said they are not walking away from the use of drivers’ use of cell phones or similar devices; instead, they may well be looking for more foolproof ways of doing so. There were also several references to digital cockpits and glass dashboards, but no specifics or timelines were given.

In other news, Richard Petty announced that Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola will return to his team next season. “As far as we know, we’ve got it pretty well lined up for next year with drivers, sponsors, Ford, so hopefully everything is lined up,” the legendary driver/owner said.

Asked about rehiring of Almirola, Petty stated, “We’ve seen a little bit of improvement in him every race. This is the first time he’s ever been with a stable team or with a team long enough to really get settled in.”

Addressing the stability of the team, he said, “This is the most stable we’ve been in the last four or five years at RPM. When Gillett did his deal, we had to get that back and then it’s been turmoil every winter. I think this is gonna be our most stable winter in the last four or five years.”

Richard Petty
Richard Petty

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Regarding the skirmish at Phoenix, Petty allowed that drivers’ personalities should be flushed out. “We need some personalities from the driver standpoint. That puts our personalities out in front of people,” he said. “If everybody just works with their cell phone, that’s no emotion and that doesn’t get to the public. The guys in Phoenix weren’t fighting, they were wrestling. The pushing and shoving is no big deal.”

Petty went on to say the final laps at Phoenix were confusing and a series of mistakes compounded the situation.

On the track, JGR drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and fast-qualifier Joey Logano were involved in incidents and Hamlin and Logano have been forced into back-up cars. Greg Biffle was also involved in the same incident as Hamlin and Logano. Apparently, there was a mix-up in messages from spotters, leading to the spins and minor brushes.

Regan Smith also had a brush with a wall in the final practice session.

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Blog
Tags nascar-cup, nascar-ns, france, ambrose, petty, almirola, homestead, ncwts, blog

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