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NASCAR Chairman Brian France continues to discuss Tony Stewart fine

2011 Schedule Announcement

DALLAS - AUGUST 17: NASCAR chairman Brian France and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet during the 2011 Schedule Announcement Party at House of Blues on August 17, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

Tom Pennington

For the second time in two days, NASCAR Chairman Brian France called into SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to discuss a fine levied last week to Tony Stewart.

France took offense that Stewart’s comments last week questioned NASCAR’s stance on safety in a public forum instead of being made directly to NASCAR officials.

“He’s part of the driver’s council and he’s an owner as well, so he has a direct line to express those views, which he did not do,’’ France told hosts Jim Noble and Chocolate Myers on Tuesday. “We listen very carefully because their opinions are very important. When you imply that NASCAR doesn’t care about safety, you can expect a reaction from us.’’

France also was asked about the Sprint Cup Drivers Council issuing a statement against the fine to Stewart and if the Council has set the tone for action in the future.

“Listen, they’re our most important voice on what goes on,’’ France said. “I’m really proud that we opened that line up. They’ve got my cell phone number. They’ve got everybody from (NASCAR senior executives) Brent Dewar to Steve O’Donnell; they have an unprecedented access to voice any concerns they have.

“By the way, what you don’t see is that most of the time, they do. They’re calling us, ‘Tell me about this, explain that, I don’t understand this.’ We get a lot of thank yous and a lot of cooperation that way. We’re all trying to do the same thing. We’re all trying to make the racing the best it can be, and we’re trying to make it as safe as we can, for sure, and have fun along the way.

“It’s a fun business we’re in. We do cool stuff together. We’re innovative, and we’re changing formats and we’re open to their suggestions. Almost all of our most important advice has really come from our drivers council and our drivers.

“I always talk about Kevin Harvick had a big role in how we formatted the Chase, where we changed it around. We incorporated two of his ideas that have now served us really well. We have incredible appreciation and communication and a line that is open. Just because there is a line out there that every once in a while somebody crosses and we’ve got to react, that’s no big deal. They get it. They understand that. That’s part of a free-flowing, fun sport. Basically we’re all going in the same direction. Things have never been better. We’re thrilled.’’

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