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Michigan: Brian France Media Chat about GM and issues of the day June 14, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Items of Interest.
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Greetings from Michigan International Speedway
NASCAR CEO Pre-Race – Manufacturer Cuts, Economy, Four Team Limit, Best Racing in the World, Most Loyal Fans In Sports

It’s a beautiful day pre-race in Michigan. There’s so much to talk about leading into today’s race. I wanted to get a quick post up from the chat NASCAR CEO Brian France had with reporters in the deadline room shortly before the race started. Here’s the transcript – of what he said in response to questions. I’ll have more to tell you when the race is over..for now enjoy the race. I’ll post tidbits when the race is over.

Take care…Enjoy the race:

(MEDIA asking NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France about issues of the day on Sunday pre- Lifelock 400)

What about the cutbacks in NASCAR from GM :

Well obviously they’re having a you know everything that they are doing – every program’s being affected and we’re no different. We were hoping to have the most minimal of the impact with their decisions to restructure their business and the details aren’t all out yet as to exactly what that will mean to us but obviously we are affected. I think our job now is to figure out how to be good partners with them. They’re trying to restructure their entire company and be a different company on the other side and for us to be a part of that and I think we will. I’m very confident that they will be in the sport for many, many years because it works well but obviously under different terms and our teams are affected that’s more than any one – the tracks have already felt the restructuring last year and now individual teams at all levels are going to feel it and that’s not the best case scenario for us but it’s the reality of where we are and we’ll deal with it.

Obviously they want to come out of bankruptcy do you think NASCAR is still a good viable model for them or other manufacturers to help make that happen?

Well sure I think we’re the best opportunity to help build a new company, sell different cars – the same cars or a combination thereof. So I’ve always felt good about that and they do too it’s just the reality of having to do a restructuring across the board and what they said is when they got done reviewing that, that there would be some hard choices and obviously these are the result of those hard choices.

Are you going to go to Detroit and talk with the big cheese about your deal and their deal?

Well we have. We’ve been talking to them all along. I went in last year -ah last fall to all the manufacturers, myself and Mike Helton and Jim France and others. We’ve been in constant contact with them – they are a big integral part of what we do and that is unchanged.

With all this uncertainty are you actively talking to companies that might end up healthier, such as Honda – the German companies?

Well we have been talking to people off and on for a long time. These are decisions in terms of a new manufacturer joining the sport that would take a long time to evaluate and actually enter. So those aren’t something that if we turned the light switch on tomorrow morning that it would happen – but of course we are the preeminent place in North America for car manufacturers to build their business with an auto racing group. So we remain that and clearly there are some companies that are going to look at opportunities that may not have even been there in the past that could be presented in the future. Now listen we’ll have our philosophical approach to that in terms of welcoming new companies in as we did with Toyota – it is under a very clear set of circumstances that manufacturers come to NASCAR to compete and that will not change.

Are there two or three that seem particularly interested or you have hopes for down the road?

Well, I am not going to name names. But we have companies that are interested in particular in developing the North American market as robust as they can. And you’re well aware as we all are that there are lots of foreign manufacturers now producing cars here in America, as Toyota did. That was part of the rationale that Toyota used that that helps them associate more with this market and we are the preeminent place to consider should a company want to do that.

Is the development of generic race cars – have anything to do with mfg support?

No I don’t think that’s the case. Although it was certainly very helpful because the costs have come down so when some of the teams are affected whether direct support or technical support in theory and it’s certainly our expectation that the new car will serve that particular problem well and those teams will still be able to put competitive race cars forward albeit not as easy and not under the best of circumstances but it certainly gives them an opportunity to stay in the game and that’s what we’re going to be working with.

Are there certain things that NASCAR can do to help the teams. Do you have to reassess some things to help these organizations and would you consider the four car team limit?

Let me say , look the four car limit is designed to increase new ownership and that remains the case. If you had seven, eight or nine teams under one place that is too daunting of a task for a new team owner to come into NASCAR. We still believe that now more than ever. The question is with falling revenues in every sports league – what are you going to do to help figure out the way forward. For us, we have the, as you well know, a huge interest in the sponsorship level we are more dependant on it than anyone else so we are affected. So for us it’s going to be helping our teams, tracks and other constituency members figure out new companies that are building their brands, new technologies. You’ve heard me talk about the green industry that will be created over the next five or ten years we want to be a part of that – the green economy – in some intelligent way – we will be. So we will be looking at figuring out like anyone in our position – how to create new opportunities for new companies building brands or services here at NASCAR because existing companies that our teams in particular have relied on are changing and that’s just the reality.

Can you ask a team that has five cars all fully sponsored like Roush to drop a car in today’s economic environment because of that rule?

We’ll listen, listen we made the rule several years ago and that’s the timing of it and it may not be the perfect timing given the circumstances but the conclusion that we want to get to is the right one and we’ve worked, listen we gave Jack (Roush) an enormous amount of runway and we’ll continue to work with him if there’s anything we can do to make that adjustment easier then we will and Jack’s aware of that.

Do you think today’s race car (car of today) has done what you wanted it to do?

We think it has and it doesn’t mean that in our town hall meeting that we had a couple of weeks ago that there aren’t some adjustments that we can make to do even better and that’s what we talked to our teams about in particular, talked to the drivers directly had them all under one place as you are all aware and that was very good for us, very effective. But listen, the new car is putting on great racing and it’s always debatable when you try something new that something is going to be better than it was before and invariably you get fair debate about that. But as things settle down and settle in and more important as the teams and the drivers get more comfortable with this car – which has been no small thing. It’s very new very different form the old car…that takes some time. That’s settling in and to the extent we can make an adjustment and we think we have some things we’ll look at and they’ll be adjustments they won’t be wholesale changes – to make this even better for the drivers. We want them to feel as great as they can about the cars they are driving that is why we had a great meeting a couple of weeks ago.

There are ominous reports of Brickyard attendance as low as 100,00 or 150,000?

No – I think that’s overstated by far. I don’t know what the attendance will be we won’t know – but we also know that people are buying tickets later -much later in the cycle. Our fans are waiting as they are all nervous – I understand that. They are also waiting a little bit to figure out if we can get the track correct which we will in terms of the tire issues we had. So listen depending on where we are we are going to have some – I would call it in the grand scheme of things – some modest attendance dips we are going to have some – and that’s to be expected and the whole country’s down.

If fans stayed away from there in part out of anger in a certain sense at least in the short term that would be understandable don’t you think?

Listen I’m not going to put my shoes in every race fan’s..that’s their choice they attend what the events they want to attend. The Brickyard is a spectacular venue for us has been since 1994 and there’s been some great racing , great tradition and that’s going to continue. Sometimes things happen where everything lines up in the reverse of what you’d like to see. That’s happened here in Michigan where it’s probably the hardest state hit with unemployment job loss and you know the idea that NASCAR can cruise around and do business in every state and not have some effect on this economy and have the sponsorship business model and be tied to the manufacturers in the way they are and to not feel that – That would be unrealistic to think that would be the case. But what I have said and I’ll say it today – When you look at it – and I look at this every day -we are doing better than most. We are not perfect, we’ve got our issues but we are doing better than most industries, most sports. We have some spots we want to improve on a lot of spots we want to improve on. But we will get through a tough time – and our fans are the most loyal in sports and we will do what we have always done which is put the best racing in the world forward and that is what is going to be what is the deciding factor long after the economy turns the corner and gets better again. Have a great race today.

(end of session with France)

……..

There is a lot of talk about a GM meeting supposedly to be held with teams this week to outline what is coming next for Chevy Sprint Cup teams as far as cutbacks. Everyone in the garage is buzzing about what might happen and which teams might be affected – how much and who would be affected the most.

Enjoy the race – it should be a good one!

Claire B

I’ll be covering details of this story and will keep you posted.

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Race Day – November 9, 2008 November 9, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, In The Garage, NASCAR, Teams, Transcripts.
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Blog – Phoenix International Raceway
Race Day – November 9, 2008
Claire B Lang

Brian France – NASCAR Chairman and CEO Q and A with the media heart at Phoenix pre-race today:

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France came into the media center for Q and A’s this morning. We were given about a ten minute notice and told we could ask anything. The topic of conversation revolved around the economy and the stress on NASCAR with the tough economic times with the auto manufacturer’s being in dire straights.

France said NASCAR is not immune to a tough economy but the sanctioning body is working at trying to understand what the partners are going through and how it relates back to the team owners and teams.

I asked him about what Rusty Wallace said here Friday in an interview about the Nationwide car of tomorrow (COT):

Here’s what Rusty said:

Rusty Wallace: “Unfortunately I think that NASCAR is going to put a rule out that we are going to go to the (Nationwide) car of tomorrow and a lot of people will say we’re NOT going to do it. Under this economy and as hard as it is to find sponsors you simply can’t take 21 cars and throw them all away with nobody finding any sponsors. Right now is the wrong time to do that.”

CBL to Brian France: “Rusty Wallace …yesterday said he though that some Nationwide teams might refuse to run the Nationwide Car of Tomorrow or that the cost was just too much. Can you maybe talk about whether that is a reality or not and whether you intend to continue the Nationwide Car of Tomorrow program?”

Brian France answer: “Well we’re not there with deciding that the COT is going to appear in the Nationwide series. What we said is that the Nationwide series will evolve and it needs more of its own identity quite frankly. It has a new sponsor in Nationwide and we’re going to do a number of things that we need to do to keep reestablishing – it’s the number two motorsports series in the US. And I certainly heard those discussions… We do an unprecedented amount of background and working with the team owners before we make any significant moves. We’ve done that on my watch the last five years – more so than we’ve ever done. So the car of tomorrow was as an example two or three years of discussions. Mike and I both led those respectively. We met with every team owner, every crew chief, multiple engineers. We heard all the issues. We didn’t just make a decision in six months. We took a long time to do that. We got an unprecedented amount of feedback. That’s what we will do on any major initiative. The difference is we’re not going to stand up here each week and announce the progress report on that. But that is the progress report for significant rules that affect them.

France had a lot to say- mainly that NASCAR is meeting with not only the manufacturers but also the TV partners related to ad revenue and looking and continuing to look at cutting costs that might help the teams, manufacturers and partners. He said that if a manufacturer pulled out of NASCAR, which he doesn’t think will happen, the sport could survive.

Ray Evernham- What’s Next?

It is not a shocker that word is out that Ray Evernham would look at selling his share in Gillette Evernham Motorsports as he investigates where his passion for racing will take him.

I spoke with Ray this (Sunday) morning and I am including the full transcript for you. Because, unless you hear all of what he says – it might be easy to miss the point.

CBL: Ray it’s not a surprise that you are looking at these options and at pulling back:

“Quite honestly we’d been working in this direction. As I said I’m enjoying TV, I’m enjoying helping the Gillette family and it’s something that you know I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I want to slow down a lot. I’ve been having a good time with Ray Jay and doing a lot of different things. With that said I still have commitments to Gillette Everham. I am on the board – I’m still a minority owner but I’m just not as actively involved as I was. So – you know Mr. Gillette is a guy that knows how to win championships. I mean right now he owns the winningest hockey franchise in history so the best way I can assist him the way I can and kind of stay out of the way.

CBL: So what would you like fans to understand as they read about you and chat about this on the internet:

“I’ve had a great career and I really appreciate the fans and I appreciate – I have been really blessed to have been able to do everything that I’ve done in the sport. But there also comes a time – you know like as did Dale Jarrett and Rusty Wallace and I thought Mark Martin or Bill Elliott you know people want to walk away a little bit not totally. It’s just time for me to do that. I have had a good run but nothing lasts forever. So I would hope that people would look at me and say, ‘wow this guy has been good for the sport.’ I feel like I’ve brought a lot of innovations. I think that we did a great job bringing Dodge back when you look at overall what was going on and helped with a lot of charities, done a lot of different things and have always tried to give back to the sport. I’m going to continue to do that through the grass roots programs. I’m working with short tracks, I’m working with kids, I’m doing all those things to try and help short track racing across America. So, there’s not always some big conspiracy when somebody just wants to slow down a little bit. This has been part of a long term plan. I have said over and over again that at some point the business side of this sport was going to grow much bigger than a) either I was capable of doing or wanted to do. And I think it’s reached that right now. I think it’s going to take people that are as powerful as George Gillette, Rick Hendrick and guys like that to continue to grow it. At this point in my life right now I want to enjoy racing again. I don’t want the stress. I don’t want to have to listen to family worried about all the stuff that is being written on the internet. I’m a racer, I’ve always been a racer. I started my career as a racer and hopefully I can end it that way.

Again, I made a 10 year commitment to Dodge you know and then certainly now – next year will be the ninth year of it. But we’ve had a great run a great partnership. RIght now, the economy is making people change and do things and what not and it’s just best for me to be in a position where I can help. Because if I thought I could engineer the redesign of something of a company I would have done that but right now I’m not at that point in my life.

When will you pull out totally?
We don’t know. Right now my plan is not for me to be totally out of it for a while. It’s just a matter of how much George (Gillette) needs me to do and what exactly we are going to do.

I’ve visited a lot of short tracks. I’m looking at helping some of the diversity programs I am working with some people to do that. I’m looking at purchasing a short track in North Carolina. We’re doing a lot of different things to get back to the grass roots to see now again – you’ve gotta be able to give something back. When you look at Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and guys like that you know they are at the point in their career where they are looking at giving back. I’ve always said – I ‘ve been on the diversity council with NASCAR before and I’ve always said that I would love to be able to help where I work with people like Ingersol Rand and Stanley Tools and all those people. We’re going to be looking at doing programs around various vocational schools to get kids involved in racing. I want to have a little bit of fun and hopefully transfer some of the knowledge and give somebody the opportunity that people gave me

Everybody reaches a point where it’s time to retire you know. Whether you are at any sport – and I don’t know that I’m 100 percent at that point in my life but you know I’m 51, not 21 you know there’s a big difference.”

JACK ROUSH:
Pick your friends as carefully as you do your enemies
Which does Jack Roush like least – Toyota or Ron Hornaday? Answer Toyota

When Ron Hornaday crashed in Friday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race here at Phoenix Jack Roush sent some of his guys over to help repair the truck. Hornaday was really touched. “I had more tears in my eyes to see them guys working on that truck,” he said. But – why did Jack send his guys to help? Below is Roush’s answer

Jack Roush:
“Well the thing about Hornaday is that he’s Drew Blickensderfer’s father in law. And so every time Hornaday has run into one of our guys – in the truck series which has happened repeatedly Drew has paid the price. I’ve thrashed him pretty hard for it and so I felt that I owed Drew that (Friday) night since we had capacity – we had fabricators and we didn’t have anything involved in the wreck. Kevin Harvick flagged me down when he was in the Nationwide car ready to qualify and I had walked up to watch one of our guys qualify on the line before they went on pit road. He flagged me over and he wanted to thank me and he did thank me and I appreciate that. I said, ‘Don’t misunderstand, I do NOT like Ron Hornaday. I don’t want anybody to get that impression but he was definitely the lesser of the evils that I was confronted with. You need to pick your friends as carefully as you pick your enemies and I had a chance to define some space there and I think I made the right call.'”

The Politics In Racing – JGR Gibbs Racing’s #11 team:
Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin made a comment here at Phoenix as he talked with reporters about the chemistry on his race team. Interesting – read closely what he said –

Do you feel like a little shake up with the team management on the No. 11 car would give you a fresh start for 2009?
“I don’t know. I think we know what our problems are. It’s just real political in the shops. It really is. Just because we know what we want to fix within our race team, there’s other departments, there’s other heads of departments that have been there a long time that think maybe there’s a better way to do it than the way we’re doing it. It’s tough to say. A lot falls on Mike Ford’s (crew chief) shoulders to go out there and help this car perform. I think he’s done a great job of that. I’m behind him, I really think that Mike’s one of the best crew chiefs in the garage with the things he has to work with, I guess you can say. We’re trying to do everything we can and we’re not performing the way we were at the beginning of the year. The No. 18 team isn’t performing the way they were at the beginning of the year. As a team we have to get better. I think to do that we’re going to have to have everyone within that race shop be a little bit more open-minded.”

Roush Driver -Jamie McMurray Pops the Question:
“She Said Yes!”

Jamie McMurray is engaged. After qualifying second for Sunday’s race he said the week was special for another reason. In the media center he gave all the details…..

McMurray: It’s been a really exciting week for me, getting engaged – what about that? That’s pretty exciting stuff, huh? So, it’s been a fun week.” DID SHE SAY YES? “Yeah. Actually, what her words were, ‘Are you kidding? Are you serious?’ ‘Yeah, I’m serious. What are you thinking?’ So, to come here, it’s cool. Qualified second here before and on like the fifth lap I had something on the grille and had to pit, and hopefully Sunday will go better.” WHERE AND HOW DID YOU PROPOSE? “Actually, I did it at the Phoenician, at the hotel here in town. Christy and I stayed there, three and a half years I’ve known her, so every year we’ve stayed there. Did it after the race on Sunday, we got back and went and hung out and went and had dinner and went back to the room. I had it planned out, and I really didn’t get nervous, but I wanted to wait another day, and I’m, like, ‘I can’t wait another day. I’ve got to do this right now.’ It was cool. We’ve had so much fun this week. It’s exciting for me because it’s certainly a big deal to find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, but to see, Christy’s been glowing, that’s been so cool to me to see how excited that she’s been. I think she likes me.” WHAT DAY? “Monday, November 3rd.” WHAT’S CLICKED ON FOR YOU? JUST CIRCUMSTANCE? “I don’t know. I was just talking to the engineer about that in the trailer, and our cars have been very good over the last, like, three months. We’ve been a lot faster the second half of the year; things just haven’t worked out – whether you just got caught up in accidents, things have just clicked. There’s been a little more fortune on the race track. They just have made really good adjustments to my car, and I think I’ve probably been a little better driver explaining what I’m feeling. When we unloaded at Texas, you kind of know the tone of your weekend when you run your first few laps, like if it drives good we can work on this or you have weekends where you think, “We’ll never get this right,’ and at Texas we unloaded and I thought, “This is going to be tough.’ And we came into the garage and made we made a few adjustments and I pulled back out and I’m like, ‘There you go. It feels great again.’ So, they just have done a really good job of being pretty methodical on the adjustments, and they seem to work.” DID YOU GET ON A KNEE WHEN YOU PROPOSED? “Yeah, I was pretty nervous. I did. Yeah, I got on my knee. Christy and I have been together for so long that it’s weird when you’re talking to your friend. You picture that as a child, I think, doing that, and you don’t know what the person looks like, but we’re sitting there, and I’m, like, ‘Gosh, this is my best friend.’ I kind of felt corny. Do I have to get on my knee? Because I’m certainly not Romeo, by any means, you know? Not even close.”

    Drivers Meeting:

Pit Road Speed: 45 MPH
Caution Car Speed: 50 MPH
Pit Road Speed Begins: 250 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed Ends: 105 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 31.87 Seconds

Time to go out to the grid. More later – stay tuned.
.
Enjoy the day.

Claire B

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TRANSCRIPT OF Brian France News Conference June 14, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Controversy.
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NASCARImage via WikipediaFrance Addresses Media;

“Knowing what I know now and not to compromise the investigation at all and I’m not going to do that I can tell you not to jump to conclusions about what a lawsuit attempts to say in an attempt to create some monitory reward for themselves. We’ve been down this road before and usually the facts are something different than the lawsuit and we’ll just have to let the facts come out as they will” Brian France to the media at MIS 6/14/08

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France entered the Michigan International Speedway media conference room at 1:30 p.m. EST Saturday wearing dress slacks and a shirt with sleeves rolled up. In other words – no formal suit.

He was there to address the media and take questions about the $225 million discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed last week by a former official of NASCAR in the Nationwide Series. When asked whether he came to Michigan specifically for the news conference or if he was coming to the race anyway he joked, “I always like to fly up to see you guys (media) personally, so, no I was going to be here anyway.”

Then France made a statement and opened the floor for questions.

__________________

TRANSCRIPT OF Brian France News Conference
May 14, 2008:
BRIAN FRANCE: I wanted to make a couple of comment regarding a couple of items that are in the news for us. One of the comments is in respect to a lawsuit that was filed on Tuesday and a subsequent investigation we have under way to review those claims that were made. I think I mentioned earlier in the week that the most disappointing thing to me is that we found out about the alleged claims after you did in the media via a national lawsuit that seeks a lot of money.

That’s very disappointing, because if any of those claims turn out to be accurate and have substance, we would have liked to have known about that two years ago so that we could have reacted and done something about it. It is inconsistent with anything from a policy standpoint of how a work environment for our officials should be. It is not consistent with anything – our values or what have you.
I would tell you the most disappointing thing that all of times that this plaintiff, Miss Grant, had in her time at NASCAR through diversity and sexual harassment seminars and training – where our human resources people were explaining as we always do multiple times during the year what our policy is and how the environment needs to be. Everybody signs that and understands that and abides by that.
To have never, ever raised it other than in a lawsuit is disappointing to us. Nevertheless, we have started an investigation -we’re under way. We are treating in very seriously as we would when we have these types of investigations. With thousands of employees and the nature of our business we’re going to have claims that are made from time to time. It’s not uncommon for us. We investigate every one of these kind of claims very thoroughly and we will continue to do that.

That is it on that topic and happy to take any questions
Q: There’s a story on the wire today that two of the people involved or named in the lawsuit have been suspended as part of the investigation obviously. Can you comment on that?
France: In our investigation we have put two officials on a leave of absence until we can complete more details and complete the investigation fully. That is correct. The two people have left for the weekend. (The Nationwide Series was scheduled to race Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.)

Q: Was there a meeting (Friday) with officials in the (Cup and Truck series) garages here in Michigan as well as the investigation going on in Kentucky?
France: There was. We wanted to remind everyone about our policy. Everyone should be familiar, should be aware of how to conduct themselves and their behavior. But, obviously, we wanted to make sure once again of exactly what NASCAR’s policy is in terms of behavior in either harassment or certainly in racial discrimination of any kind. That was the nature of those two reviews with our officials.

Q: What did you discover in your investigation in Kentucky that led to the two officials on leave?
France: The investigation is still ongoing. Obviously we found some violations in our policy. I would not jump to conclusions to assume that all the allegations that were made over the many months that the plaintiff made are accurate. I would be very, very cautious to making that leap of faith even if we were to take action on any official in this investigation. We might discover something entirely different that may have been going on that had nothing to do with the claim in the lawsuit but still is a violation of our policy.

That would get you in trouble with us. That’s the nature of investigations. They go on and we’re very detailed. We’re bringing in everybody that we can find to give us the information of what is going on so we can be very clear in our findings.

Q: What does this do to the relatively clean reputation the sport has had? Is that reputation sliding?
France: I wouldn’t characterize it as a sliding at all. We are a big sport with lots of participants at lots of different levels. The idea that everybody is going to act and behave perfectly is just not a reality that any of us lives in. Our job is to make sure that we have really good work policies in place and to react very swiftly if our policies are violated.

We’re going to do that. We found out about this,as you know, on Tuesday with the filing of the suit. By Thursday we were in full investigative mode. We didn’t wait. Some of these claims go back two years or longer.

Here again, it’s very disappointing that would not have been brought to our attention if these claims actually happened that the would have been brought to our attention right when they happened so we could have investigated it right then and taken any action we needed to. And it didn’t happen. It just didn’t happen. She chose to make this about money and about a lawsuit and we’ll deal with that.

Q: In the course of the investigation you’ve done over the past few days you’ve talked to supervisors that Miss Grant says she reported this information to. In your subsequent investigation after you found out about it have you found any instances where her complaints might have not gotten up the chain as far as they needed to. Do you know what I’m asking?
France: I know what you are asking. So far – she just didn’t report anything to anybody. Quite the opposite, she was very pleased with her colleagues, most of the comments that we have heard is she liked her job, enjoyed being there and liked the camaraderie with the other officials. We just have not found anyone that she reported the claim (to). Even if we have not found it yet… There’s a very clear process you go through if there is any discrimination or harassment. Everybody in the company knows what it is and they have been trained to observe it and make sure that the proper officials within the company are notified. You could pull me (aside)-any employee who has an issue can e-mail me directly or certainly go to human resources. There are dozens of ways to report such an incident and it just didn’t get reported.

Q: Will you hesitate to settle the lawsuit out of fear that it could spark other lawsuits of a similar kind?

France: We can’t comment on the developments of litigation. Lawsuits are lawsuits and we’ll deal with that within the court system.

Q: Could you tell us why (the official who filed the lawsuit) was terminated eventually?
France: We don’t divulge that information on any employee so I can’t tell you that.

Q: What does this do to the diversity efforts you and NASCAR have made? Does it affirm a perception that may be held outside the sport that NASCAR is a white guy’s sport?

France: Would we like to not have had a suit filed that makes these kinds of claims? Of course. Would we really have liked to been able to investigate it when these incidents occurred? You bet.
But we have to deal with what we have to deal with. The only thing I will say is that as all of the facts ultimately get on the table is not to jump to conclusions about what actually happened. That’s why we do investigations that’s why we do reviews. We will get to the bottom of it and hopefully nobody will jump to an improper conclusion.

Q: Brian her representation is pulling no punches in this thing at all. There was a statement issued recently where here representation said yes they (NASCAR) have a zero tolerance policy something of the line zero tolerance for women zero tolerance for blacks etc. What is your response to her representation coming out and saying those types of things?
Well, anybody can say anything that you want and hire a PR firm and do all the things that anybody wants to do and say whatever they want. That’s just completely inconsistant with anything that goes on in NASCAR. It’s not the NASCAR that we are building and I would obviously disagree with her.

Q: Brian, perception is reality, can you paint the picture that (you see) is NASCAR right now out on pit road and in the garage?
Well it’s a sport that is evolving and a sport that is reaching out in lots of different ways to be more diverse and not because it’s a socially good idea. It’s a good idea for a whole host of different reasons. It’s an American sport we need to look and feel more like America. You know the many different initiatives that we have from driver diversity where drivers are getting a chance who otherwise wouldn’t have. Crew members, internship programs, the tracks are doing an enormous amount they are trying to attract a new audience and I have helped lead it for a number of years. We’re never happy because we haven’t reached all our goals. But we’re happy with our approach, the road we’re on and what we stand for. You’ve heard me many times and you as the media you know things that were in that claim were absolutely and completely inconsistent with where this sport is going.
That was most of what Brian France had to say. I like to give it to you in full so that you can review it for yourself.
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Talk amongst yourselves on this one:
How about that NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race. Was Ron Hornaday mad at Kyle Busch or What? He ran through the fence into the garage and found Busch. The conversation wasn’t pretty. What did you see? Email me at ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com

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Michigan Blog Brian France to address media- Justin Lofton wins 1st ARCA race June 14, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, NASCAR.
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CBL Blog-MIS

Greetings….I’m in the deadline room at MIS with an update.

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France is going to address the media at 1:30 p.m. EST in the conference room next to the media center. I’ll be headed over there and post an update.

Check out the photo of me broadcasting here at MIS inside the XM Chevy Mobile Dialed In broadcast unit.
claire b lang inside XM Mobile Unit

The winner of the ARCA race – was so excited here at MIS today. He told me he cried in the race car in the final laps. It was his first ARCA win and I sat down with him for a one on one after his collected the trophy. If you don’t know this young racer you soon will. He’s 22 years old, single, and from Westmorland, CA.

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Justin Lofton – Eddie Sharp Racing
Tears inside the race car for young racer – MIS Arca Winner -After crash with teammate last week.

CBL: Justin this is a huge win for you. I think your last win was in 2005.
“This is absolutely awesome. I am speechless. I can’t thank everyone enough for it. There’s a lot of people who have put a lot of hard work into this..the Sharp family, Eddie Sharp Racing, all the behind the scenes people and Brad Parrott has been by my side and the Smith family from Colorado Springs and my parents have been my biggest supporters. This is awesome I cannot thank them enough.

CBL: And it’s Fathers Day weekend. This is a Father’s Day Gift
Yes it is. This is the best one I have given my dad and probably the best one he could ask for.

CBL: What was going through your mind in the final laps?
I heard every creak and crack and ping and pang – and everything in the car. I really didn’t think it was going to happen. You know I have been robbed of a win so many times and last week was a fine example of the luck I have had all year long and I just really didn’t think it was going to happen.

CBL: Because last week you got crashed out by a teammate:
Yes – green, white checkered going into (turn) one at Pocono and a teammate just did a really late move. Complete racing accident – no ones fault. No hard feelings towards it. This is the ultimate revenge though on it.

CBL: Did he come over and congratulate you?
No actually I have not even talked to Scott since the beginning of the Pocono race.

CBL: Ok, so mid week you didn’t even talk.
No we didn’t talk at all. I think we did the best we could to both avoid each other. The only talking we did was you know he came up to me a couple of times before the start of the race (here at MIS) and asked me if I was going to wreck him or not and that was it.

CBL: He did?
Yea he did and I just told him there’s no hard feelings it was a racing accident and it is what it is.

CBL: You got a Karma win!
Yes I did. This is the best revenge I could ask for. Not that I was really looking for any. You know I go out there and race everyone the same. I just race everyone the same – just as clean and as hard as I can.

CBL: What will you remember the most of this win. Drivers always remember their first win in a series?
I think just the whole day in general. You know I woke up and wasn’t nervous, wasn’t anxious and you know the first pit stop where we went back to about 14th or something like that – you know that was kind of heartbreaking. But, when Lauren Ranier , my spotter, said five to go I pretty much started crying and didn’t think it was going to happen.

CBL: You did?
Yea I was tearing up in the car and I was like oh man I gotta get into turn one now and then it just kind of went away. I think the whole day in general – I’m not going to forget this.

CBL: People love to see that emotion –
Yea, this is a very emotional sport. Everyone puts their heart and soul into it. I mean the guys in the shop put 100 plus hours in and me just doing everything putting friends aside, basically putting your whole life aside to do this and this is the payoff for it.

CBL: You got the lucky t-shirt (under the uniform) and cap on -which is luckiest?
Probably my hat. I wore my hat last week at Pocono and even though you wouldn’t think it was lucky – you know we ran up front and you know so …I’m definitely going to have them both on the next race at Cayuga.

CBL: Did you call anyone after you won?
Yes -I’ve been on the phone since victory lane. I’ve got my grandparents both sides. My cousin she just texted me and said that this is the best graduation present for her. She graduated from Cal Poly today in St. Louis and my whole family was up watching the race and it’s just so special.

CBL: What about you and who you are?
Me? I’m very committed, very determined. Probably I scare a lot more people away because of it. You know I do what it takes to win this. I have a lot of good people behind me….

CBL: What do you mean you scare people away? Who do you scare?
I think more emotional wise. Maybe not scare em but more push them away. Try to eliminate as many distractions as I can in my life and just spend as much time in the shop as much time getting myself physically and mentally prepared to do this.

CBL: It takes that.
Yea, last weeked I probably made a couple people mad, made the #2 team mad just because I know a lot of people came up and tried to apologize and felt sympathetic for me but it’s just all the emotions so bottled up inside and when it comes out it comes out in a big explosion and that’s why it scares a lot of people.

I’ll be back with you later. I’m headed into the garage. Back soon.

Claire B
Michigan International Raceway

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