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.
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.
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.”
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.