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France says "Boys Have at It" has limits

Posted on: May 20, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 6:24 pm
By Pete Pistone

NASCAR CEO Brian France Speaks
(NASCAR CEO Brian France at Charlotte Motor Speedway)

NASCAR CEO Brain France met the media Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway to touch on a variety of subjects as the Sprint Cup Series heads into this weekend’s All-Star Race activities.

On the top of the list of issues France addressed was the ongoing “Boys Have at It” style of racing that has punctuated NASCAR since last season and the recent feud between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.

“There are limits,” France said of the duo’s Darlington dust-up that boiled over to a pit road altercation after the race. “One of the limits is if you put anyone in danger like what happened with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch where it was after the race.

“We never said that there was no limits to that. You just can’t go around with a missile and a weapon out there.  If you’re having contact, that’s part of NASCAR. It’s tough for us, but that’s what we do. It’s tough for any sport to have certain areas of the game … that are subjective as to what is too much. We will figure that out. We’re going to remain, obviously a contact sport and we’re going to remain with the basic philosophy that we’re putting more of it in the driver’s hands and if they go over a line we think is there, we’ll deal with that.’’

Several drivers still seem to be confused by what the boundaries are regarding the policy but France said there’s no way that NASCAR can make the rule any clearer.

“We think not,” France said. “We think that there’s a 60-year history of how we officiate the events. Most of our top officials, certainly (NASCAR President) Mike Helton is in charge every weekend, have been at the helm for a decade or longer.

“This shouldn’t be a big surprise for anyone to try to read us and how we’re going to officiate the events. We’ve said late in the event if your car is faster than somebody else and there is some contact and somebody gets by, that’s NASCAR racing. We celebrate that.”

Both Harvick and Busch are on probation through the middle of June for their Darlington altercation. France explained just what that sometimes murky word means in regard to the drivers’ future behavior.

“What probation means is there’s a different set of eyes and expectations that are placed on a driver who has been placed on probation that they’re going to have a more limited flexibility in how we’re going to officiate them should they be in something similar … to the area they just violated,'' he explained.

France spoke on a number of other topics including the upcoming television contract negotiations saying he was hopeful current network partners ESPN and FOX would return as part of the next deal.

The CEO is not overly concerned with slumping attendance at some tracks pointing to the still downward trend in the economy and weather issues as reasons events like last Sunday’s race in Dover experienced more empty seats.

“Dover had tremendous bad weather forecast, it’s a miracle that that event, and I’m not making just total excuses here, but it’s a miracle on Saturday and Sunday that they got races off,” France said. “There were no-shows, there was certainly no walk-up. They didn’t get any help from the weather.”

“There’s not many sports that aren’t being affected in one way or another in attendance and they’re having to do a lot of things and so are we, so are the tracks. We’ve got higher gas prices that are upon us, that’s another factor for our fans to consider. We certainly don’t want to see empty seats.  We’ll be working with tracks to get the best dates possible and we’ll go from there.’’

Finally France answered a question about the possibility of shortening more races to fit into a better television window as well as appease some fans who claim many races are simply too long.

“We have shortened races over the last five or six years,” France said. “We’ve shortened several, including some in the Nationwide Series. We will be open to that if it works for the tracks and it works for our network partners and, obviously, if the fan base wants that, that will be something that will be case-by-case, but are we open to that? Yes. Have we don’t it before? Yes.”


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Since: Apr 11, 2007
Posted on: May 23, 2011 5:56 pm

France says "Boys Have at It" has limits

This is kind of like me telling my kids "Boys, have at that candy", then coming back in an hour and acting shocked that they ate all of it.  Dont tell the boys to "have at it" and then punish them for "having at it".  Between all the constant changes, the spotty enforcement of rules, the chalkboard scraping noise that is Darrel Waltrips voice, and five years of the least likable and most boring champion the sport has ever seen- Im about done with Nascar.  Perhaps from now on Ill just catch the two annual Richmond races in person and call it a season... (who am I kidding- as long as there is cold beer and no NFL on sundays for 3/4 of the year, Ill still be tuned in for at least some of the race.)

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 23, 2011 1:59 pm

France says "Boys Have at It" has limits

If they would just once let someone actually beat the tar out of that idiot Kyle Busch, this would not keep coming up.

Busch would finally learn his lesson and the other drives would think twice before their turn. Fist at zero MPH are a lot safer than bumpers at 165.

Hell Harvick (or whomever finally did it) would probably become the 2nd most popular driver in NASCAR if he handed the 18 some come uppin's

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: May 21, 2011 9:50 pm

France says "Boys Have at It" has limits

They been on air now for what 3 hours. Shown maybe 40 minutes of racing. Geez enough with all the freaking hype. Your racing isn't living up to all the nerds boogity boogity hype. Enough. I'll turn it back later.

Since: Jul 26, 2007
Posted on: May 21, 2011 9:19 pm

France says "Boys Have at It" has limits

There are limits.  What the limits are depend on how much of a draw you are on the NASCAR circuit.  The France family has always run the "sport" that way.

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: May 21, 2011 6:16 am

France says "Boys Have at It" has limits

Yea... no. The 600 isn't changing. It would be one thing if there were a half dozen 600 mile events. But there is one, only one, and it has been paired with the Indy 500 for decades. Not going to change. And as someone who has attended the race, it's not that long. Sure, the 20 somethin caution fest a few years ago was rather disappointing, but overall, the event is great.

Since: May 18, 2011
Posted on: May 20, 2011 8:32 pm

France says "Boys Have at It" has limits

I think shortening some races would be a welcomed change in the sport.  Lets face it, in the days of DVR and instant gratification, people are impatient with short attention spans.  However, there are some races that shouldn't be touched like the Daytona 500, Southern 500, Brickyard 400....could go either way on the Coke 600 though.

While there should be limits on actions after the race, I think drivers should be allowed to police themselves on the track without interference.  Drivers aren't stupid, they know what the consequences would be of hurting/killing another driver would be, so its not like they are going to go out there and kill someone because of a dust up.  Although the pushing/yelling matches after races are good entertainment.

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