2008 NASCAR Season: Past Meets Present
Variety Of Announcements Made Amid Backdrop Of Tradition
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 21, 2008) -- Evoking the past while focusing on the future, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France addressed the media Monday at NASCAR's annual preseason press conference in Concord, N.C.
NASCAR is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year -- and the 50th running of the Daytona 500 next month. Those milestones were front and center during the event at NASCAR's Research and Development Center, starting with France's "state of the sport" speech that also recognized the importance of the fans to the sport's growth.
"We will continue to embrace the past, and the rich heritage beginning with our biggest tradition -- the Daytona 500," France said. "It has an unbelievable history. The 500 holds a special place in the hearts of millions of fans."
There were a variety of announcements Monday, beginning with France announcing that all money collected from fines issued during the season will go to the NASCAR Foundation, which supports charitable initiatives. Previously, that money was added to the season-ending point funds paid to drivers based on their finish in the point standings.
"Now that the NASCAR Foundation is well established, it is the logical place for fine money to be distributed," France said.
Monday's event -- the highlight of the first day of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour -- also featured:
* The introduction of the 2008 Drive For Diversity class, a talented group of young drivers slated to race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and the NASCAR Camping World Series;
* Announcement of several competition-related adjustments, including slight changes to qualifying procedures for all three national series and new engine packages for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, designed to reduce costs;
* An update on NASCAR's various developmental series;
*"Walking tours" for the media, offering demonstrations of various projects ongoing at the Research and Development Center, such as the chassis certification process for NASCAR's "new car" being used in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
"I think 2008 promises to be a tremendous year and there are some great stories developing," said France. "Our sport is strong and we are determined to make it stronger and maintain the intense commitment of our fan base.
"We are proud of our growth. And we will continue to grow and evolve, while always being mindful of our past."