NASCAR Making Changes In 2011

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2010

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JULY 02:  NASCAR chairman Brian France speaks to members of the media prior to qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Enhancing the Chase with "impact moments" is part of the plans Brian France addressed  in the media center at Daytona International Speedway prior to the Subway Jalapeno 250.

France said, "We like the playoff-style format for sure," in reference to the Chase.

With 43 teams involved, France continued, "We have to balance the body of what you've done as a driver across the board."

These comments make one think there may well be a different roster of tracks involved in the Chase next year.

Might we see a road-course added to the mix?  Any driver capable of winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship should be able to wheel a car to a top finish on such a track.

France spoke of "having a lot on the line at one moment" in the playoff format.

Could this be taken to mean some special incentive will be offered at certain tracks in the form of payout bonuses or points?

In speaking of recent changes with the NASCAR policies, France said, "The racing trajectory is on the right course."

Three of the most popular changes made by NASCAR would be the "have at it policy," the return of the spoiler on the Sprint Cup COT, and the new style NASCAR Nationwide cars with more brand identity including the Challenger and Mustang.

Kansas Speedway owned by the France family International Speedway Corporation will be vying for a second NASCAR Sprint Cup series date.

Kentucky Speedway, owned by Bruton Smith's Speedway Motorsports Inc., will most likely be granted a date for a Sprint Cup race. 

The racing facility in Sparta, Ky. is midway between Cincinnati, Oh. and Louisville, Ky.  The track opened in 2000 has hosted a NASCAR Nationwide event since 2001.

This means one or more races will be sacrificed at an existing venue.  There is no doubt the alignment of races for 2011 will be changed when it is announced in September.

Next year we can expect to see limitations on how many NASCAR Nationwide events the Cup drivers can participate in.

According to France, the car owners and drivers in NASCAR's top-tier series support keeping the Nationwide series developmental.

It just may be the NASCAR Nationwide champion in 2011 won't also be driving in the Sprint Cup series.

Other changes to be addressed include bio-fuel, better track-drying methods, fan attendance with the cost involved and perhaps even Mustangs, Challengers and Camaros being raced in future years in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.

NASCAR is concerned about attempts to grow the 18-to-35 male demographics.  Social media will be the avenue of choice to connect to that group.

France said of NASCAR's 60-year history: "Things evolve and we dial it down."  The result of course is over-regulation, which they have tried to correct.

This season has certainly picked up with the level of action.  The green-white-checker policy has added exciting finishes but has proved costly to team owners.

The fans of NASCAR will watch the season play out as the Chase rapidly approaches.

A fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship for Jimmie Johnson will prove detrimental to NASCAR because it is making the Chase look easy if you understand the game like his team apparently does.

Perhaps the Lowe's No. 48 team is a driving force behind changes to the Chase format in 2011.

They say change is good, so let's hope Brian France and NASCAR get it right next year.

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