Nascar is keeping an open mind about format changes as it looks to weather declining audiences and the departure of sponsors from the sport.
Steve Phelps, named president of the sanctioning body for the motorsport last month, said all options were on the table during a news conference before the championship-deciding season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“We’ve heard from our fan base that they would like to see more short-track racing, they want to see more road courses, they want to see less cookie-cutter tracks,” Phelps said Sunday.
“We are looking with our broadcast partners and with our tracks and with our teams and drivers to get input on what each of them thinks would be an ideal schedule, and then we’re obviously doing fan research.”
The leadership team at the motorsport has been shaken up since Brian France took leave as chairman and chief executive following his arrest for drink driving charges in August.
France’s uncle Jim France stepped in as interim chairman and CEO following his arrest, but the word “interim” was subsequently dropped from his title. Nascar also replaced Brent Dewar as president with Phelps. Phelps suggested Jim France, the second son of founder Bill France senior was now effectively running the sport from the behind-the scenes.
“I can’t speak to if Brian is coming back or not,” Phelps said. “I do know that Jim France is our chairman and CEO. I do know that Jim France is incredibly involved in this sport, at the racetrack, off the racetrack. I can assure you that Jim France is talking to a lot of people. He’s talking to Roger Penske and he’s talking to Jack Roush and he’s talking to racetrack owners. He’s talking to drivers. He’s talking to sponsors – that’s what Jim does, and he is driving this sport. As we look to 2019, we are going to execute against Jim’s vision.”
The sport will introduce a new rules package next season which is designed to dramatically improve the on-track product.