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Old 20 Jan 2016, 11:59 (Ref:3606551)   #9
HJJ
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Join Date: Feb 2010
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HJJ should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridHJJ should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridHJJ should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
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The 34th Annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour – typically referred to as the NASCAR Tour – kicked off as usual with NASCAR Chairman Brian France's state-of-the-sport address, and it contained some newsworthy bits, and one disappointment for those hoping for a certain big story.

Here's a summary:

THE DISAPPOINTMENT: Some of the 250-plus members of the media were expecting some details on the pending NASCAR Sprint Cup team "charter" system, which would make NASCAR teams actual franchise holders, with the ability to sell their franchise, or parts of it, to teams that want to be part of NASCAR.

As it is – and as it has always been – those who want to compete in NASCAR are essentially free to do so, providing all the rules have been met. But NASCAR teams owners that fold, such as Michael Waltrip Racing did at the end of last season, they are left with nothing of value beyond the hardware they have to auction off, typically at pennies on the dollar.

France said that he is "very optimistic" about the negotiations between an association of team owners, led by Rob Kaufman, part-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing and himself a millionaire financier. But they have nothing to announce, nor is there a timeline for it.

THE CHASE: Like the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship? Then you will probably love the Chase for the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, which begins this season. The idea is that as with Sprint Cup, four drivers will still be eligible for the championship as they descend on Homestead-Miami Speedway for the season finale.

Sprint Cup will continue to pare it down from 16 drivers to four, Xfinity from 12 to four, and Camping World trucks from eight to four. France said that he thinks consistency in the championships is important, and that young drivers starting in the two lower classes will get a feel for how the Chase works.

COMPETITION CAUTION: In an arguably made-for-TV innovation, Truck Series races will be interrupted every 20 minutes by a "competition caution," which is a mandatory caution flag that will allow for optional refueling and tire changes. It should benefit lower-income teams and possibly younger drivers, who may not have the money or experience to field a top-tier, ultra-fast pit crew. If there are cautions occurring naturally, the 20-minute clock will be reset after each one.

NOTES: What is the biggest challenge facing France and NASCAR this year? "Rain, rain, rain" ... Six drivers were announced for the Drive for Diversity class of 2016; most of them Hispanic ... Lesa France Kennedy, who has spearheaded the $400 million makeover of Daytona International Speedway, said that Phoenix and Richmond are the next two most likely tracks to be selected for a makeover.
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