The drivers of the NASCAR Cup Series announced Friday the formation of the Drivers Advisory Council, a new independent group that will serve as a means of giving drivers a united voice on issues that affect them and stock car racing as a whole. In an announcement released by the group, the Drivers Advisory Council described itself as being committed to "improving the areas of safety in motorsports, growing and enhancing the sport, and maximizing the opportunities for drivers to achieve success both on and off the track."
The council includes both current and former NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Jeff Burton, a 21-time Cup Series winner and the father of Cup rookie Harrison Burton, will serve as the Director of the council
Seven drivers will serve on the Board of Directors including:
- Kurt Busch
- Austin Dillon
- Denny Hamlin
- Corey LaJoie
- Joey Logano
- Daniel Suarez
- Former driver Kyle Petty
The Drivers Advisory Council will partner with NASCAR and its key leaders, and will also collaborate with and be supported by the Race Team Alliance that represents the sport's teams.
"I'm thrilled to see the progress in our sport lately and feel that the Drivers Advisory Council will help progress our sport even further," read a statement by Joey Logano. "The board is made up with experienced, forward-thinking drivers with a great leader in Jeff Burton. Communication from drivers to other stakeholders in our industry has been a challenge for years. This will most definitely help clarify feedback from drivers and help move our sport forward with a unique perspective from behind the wheel.
"We have had a welcoming experience from stakeholders, and I know we can all pull the rope in the same direction. Safety, fan experience, and a great on track product, are just some of the goals."
The formation of the Drivers Advisory Council is significant, particularly given that NASCAR has seemingly given the group its blessing and endorsement. Previous attempts by the sport's drivers to organize among themselves have been frustrated, as NASCAR was famously anti-union under the leadership of both Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr. While a similar drivers' council sprang up in 2014, the group only lasted a few years before fizzling out.
"Collaboration is critical to our growth, and we welcome any opportunity to strengthen communication with our drivers," read a statement by Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. "We often look to drivers for input when making decisions that affect the sport, and the Drivers Advisory Council will help streamline that communication. Working together, we will continue to deliver the great NASCAR racing experience our fans expect and deserve."
While the exact goals of the Drivers Advisory Council are unclear, the group presents a front where drivers can be consulted on major issues that directly affect them. For example, when NASCAR announced plans to reconfigure Atlanta Motor Speedway last summer, drivers expressed frustration that they were not consulted and did not have a say in the decision to alter the track's layout and banking.
The Drivers Advisory Council states that further details regarding their efforts "will be released as they become available."