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NASCAR Chairman addresses Cup drivers in Xfinity, other topics

Food City 500 - Practice

BRISTOL, TN - MARCH 15: View of the NASCAR logo during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 15, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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Does NASCAR see the issue of Sprint Cup drivers competing in the Xfinity Series as a problem? If so, what should be done?

NASCAR Chairman Bran France was asked those questions Friday on “Sirius Speedway.’’

France’s response?

“It’s a fair debate. I can get on either side of it. Right now, that’s the rules of the game, and we’re going to take the benefits of the rules of the game over some of the things that may be drawbacks.’’

France also told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on the topic: “It’s always a real strong debate, depending on which side you’re on. Mark Martin, back in the day, was known to dominate that series, that was the Busch Series back then. We’ve always had some of that that goes on.

“Kyle (Busch) has just got a mastery of that division and that car. On the other hand, it makes the younger drivers better. They get to compete with one of the best in the business every weekend. Obviously, have a new championship Chase format that will reward the eventual champion in the end. It will have to be somebody other than Kyle.’’

France also discussed other topics during his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio appearance - along with the issue of other car manufacturers being interested in the series.

— On if NASCAR would change the rules to take away more downforce from teams this season, France said:

“As long as it doesn’t break the bank financially for the team owners and others and/or if it is a safety benefit. Those are the criteria we use to make any rule changes midstream. … There are 43 teams, their job is to figure out whatever we’re doing to game that system in a way that benefits them. That’s auto racing. They’ve got their job, we’ve got ours.’’

— On a new series sponsor for the Sprint Cup Series with Sprint exiting the sport after this season, France said:

“It’s the most coveted position in sports because of the rights that are granted. We’ve got a good group of companies that are on our short list. Hopefully, in the coming weeks or months we’ll get to the right place on that.’’

— On the finish last weekend at Phoenix between Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards and the contact that took place, France said:

“Another thing that we’ve talked about this week is the finish at Phoenix and the contact in that. You’ve heard me say many, many times, that’s classic NASCAR racing when that happens. It’s interesting to note that not all the drivers we have, present or past, would have made the moves that Carl Edwards tried to do to get around Harvick.

“They both did a great job. That’s classic NASCAR. We expect that. Sometimes that’s misunderstood when I say that, but it’s a great example of that’s part of NASCAR when you’re late in the race, you’re a little bit faster, you’re going to have some contact, either to scrub off speed or move somebody around a little bit. Carl is one of the best at that and gave us a great finish.’’

— On the low downforce package this season and if France thought it would produce the results it has:

“No, I wish I could say I did, but if I did, we would have done it a long time ago. As we have said from the beginning, as long as it is safe and cost-effective, then it’s all about what the drivers believe and, obviously, what the results are, of what is going to be better to pass, more side-by-side classic NASCAR racing. The more of that, obviously, that’s where we’re trying to land.’’

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