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NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE
January 30, 2014
Q.¬† Brian said y'all have been thinking about this for a long time and you've been running through some simulations.¬† Has there ever been a thought of going back to 36 races?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think we certainly have considered that in the past.¬† But when you look at where does the sport want to be in the future and how do you grow, overwhelmingly, our fans and partners have told us that that's not the way to go.¬† They want to see winning.¬† Even under that old format, you know, it did point more towards points racing at the end of the day.¬† We know our drivers put their best in for each and every race.¬† But by emphasizing winning as often as we could for every race, we thought that was a better way to go.
Q.¬† Speaking of winning I know they mentioned somebody having a medical leave during the Chase.¬† Is there a minimum starts going into it?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† That's a great question.¬† To clear that up, you've got to be top 30 in points and you must have competed in every race.¬† Our rare exception with that, like we have now, I'll take an example of a driver that goes to Atlanta.¬† Final practice on Saturday, he's injured.¬† He receives a concussion diagnosis.¬† The doctor says you have to sit out Atlanta, you have to sit out Richmond.¬† At the end of Richmond, that driver through wins and points would have been eligible, we'll make that exception.¬† But it's got to be a medical exception from a neurosurgeon.
Q.¬† Somebody has a win, is in the top 30 (Indiscernible)?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† It's the attempt to qualify.¬† So as long as you make an attempt to qualify, yes.¬† Just the flip side of that and part of this is you couldn't come in and just participate in a road course win and be eligible.
Q.¬† That would be a major thing, somebody could sit out after getting hurt and still come back?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† It would.¬† I think when we look at it, again, it's going to be in a very rare instance.¬† But as you look at especially the concussion issue nowadays, we are lucky that we haven't had many, and that is due to the safety precautions that have been put in place.¬† But we want to recognize that and recognize our sport and what's involved each and every race, and I think we have.
Q.¬† How much of this is because you don't want drivers to have to make that choice to get in the car?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think it's the right thing to do.¬† When we looked at it, that's where it ended up.
Q.¬† In the 2011 final, how much of that affected the decision?¬† Because there was a rating spike when Carl finished, did that sort of bring up the conversation?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think that's a great question.¬† I think it goes back to when we first started the Chase.¬† Candidly in an ideal world we would have wanted ten drivers going into Miami separated by ten points.¬† Obviously, that can't always happen.¬† When we looked at it, we looked at the Tony Stewart run and how exciting that was.
But over those same years, '10, '11, and '12, we heard more and more talking about points racing and the racetrack saying, look, my fans come for my one race.¬† They want to see their driver win, as do we.¬† So we wanted to emphasize that as much as possible.¬† Put drivers in situations where finishing second was okay, but they want to go for that win.¬† They always do now, but we wanted to emphasize that even more.
Q.¬† In a sport where through no fault of your own you could have a bad day, cut, tie or get caught up in somebody else's mess, does that give you pause in deciding a championship, one race, last race of the season?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† It certainly factored into our decision, but I would say it could happen now, it could happen in our history that it could come down to that one race.¬† Tire failure, engine failure, whatever it may be, it could happen today.¬† So that is something we looked at, but, again, we want to create that environment where fans can come in, understand what is on the line and believe this is the best way to go.
GENE STEFANYSHYN:¬† I think in totality though the system allows a bit more of that, if somebody has wrecks or something, they still have the ability to go on.¬† So if you look at it in totality, I think it's a system that provides more opportunity for drivers to progress?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† That is a great point Gene made.
One of the things, I'll use Joie log know as an example.¬† He goes to Chicago.¬† He finishes 43rd.¬† For all intents and purposes we all know, he's out of it.¬† There is no way he can catch up.¬† So when we looked at it, is there a way to not artificially keep drivers in, but those who have moments to go out and win, to be able to do that.¬† We believe by putting that win and in and be able to move on into the Chase, it allows someone to have a bad race, through no fault of their own, and have that chance to turn the wick up at Dover, so to speak and win.
GENE STEFANYSHYN:¬† The other thing we think will be very good about this is we'll be bringing the crew chief into the strategy.¬† Now the system kind of dissuades you from taking risks, right?¬† If you do something, you can't get it back.¬† So now you have opportunity to do something riskier and you don't throw it the whole season, you can come back.¬† So I think the strategy piece of it will be a lot more interesting.¬† The driver, the crew chief, everybody will be involved and it will make for much more interesting racing.
Q.¬† Can you go deeper into the whole medical exception that Mike was talking about?¬† Can you define what that is?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think I covered that earlier.¬† I think the one example I would use of a potential concussion for one race where a neurosurgeon said a driver needed to sit out, but that driver was eligible based on wins or based on points to advance to the Chase we'd make that exception.¬† Beyond that, I'm not going to speculate.¬† But it would have to be something pretty severe, but with clearance from a doctor that we'd look at, same as we do today.
Q.¬† (Indiscernible) thought with baseline testing you'd see more guys sitting out than when it is necessary.¬† Would you agree with that?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I wouldn't know.¬† I think that's something that we'll have to see.¬† That is speculating on everyone's condition, which we're not going to do.
Q.¬† What defines say somebody is in the Infield Care Center and they're not feeling very well, how do you define that?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think that's pretty clear right now how do you define if someone can race or not?¬† I think if someone has the flu, they race today.¬† We wouldn't expect that to be any different.¬† We're not going to get into the weeds in terms of what‑ifs.¬† But we know we're pretty clear if it's something severe that we need to seek a doctor's advice, which we do today, we'll rely on that medical professional to make that call for us.
Q.¬† With a about the years of research that went into this?¬† When the research started (Indiscernible)?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Tough to say.¬† I can't get in the fans' heads, but I can say there is speculation.¬† You do this because of Jimmie.¬† No, Jimmie performs.¬† We fully expect Jimmie to dominate again.¬† Jimmie has been a champion of NASCAR.¬† You heard Brian say you've got to beat the best of the best in the Chase.¬† If you look back at Jimmie's history, I think we'd be surprised if he wasn't there in Miami.
Q.¬† When Stewart won the championship in 2011 and five Chase races and Edwards didn't win a Chase race.¬† If Edwards had gotten one more point, he would have won and you would have had a situation with Stewart not being in the championship just by winning five races to none.¬† Did that have an influence on you guys looking at this and saying we can't have a situation like that where a guy wins a bunch of races and isn't in the championship?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think the overall influence for us was just race wins.¬† Could we have a scenario that's different from that in Miami?¬† Sure.¬† It's possible today.¬† But ultimately we wanted to base first and foremost everything on winning and having those moments in Miami.¬† We've heard situations get ahead of it from some fans.
What if David Ragan won the championship?¬† Does that make sense?¬† Our answer to that would be if David Ragan wins in Talladega and qualifies for the Chase and for the next ten weeks can beat every one of those drivers, we'd all stand up and applaud him as the champion.
To me, that is no different than Tony Stewart.¬† Tony Stewart got out of the car in Chicago and said I don't belong here.¬† I have never heard a race fan say Tony Stewart doesn't deserve to be our champion because he went on a role in the postseason.¬† So that was the focus.
Q.¬† No, I meant the opposite?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Anything can happen.¬† But, again, I go back to we wanted to emphasize wins not just in Miami, but starting in Daytona all the way through the year.
Q.¬† The question I asked Brian is how do you put 16 and give them an incentive to race?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† That's a great question, and Brian mentioned this.¬† We did talk to every one of the race teams and we got some great feedback, and Kevin Harvick was the driver who said this.¬† When we originally, Gene and the group and all of us looked at the scenario, if you were knocked out in Chicago, we had said the highest you could finish was 13th.¬† Through dialogue with the teams, Kevin said, boy, that's really a tough blow if I was leading the points I'd get you want those agony of defeat moments, but that is a huge swing for myself, my sponsors and my fans.¬† What if I'm able now to compete for fifth?
So we looked at it and looked at each round and essentially if you take the bonus points away after you're eliminated from each round, that pool of drivers is competing for fifth place all the way down to Homestead.¬† So you could have that race for fifth all the way through in Miami still with that to be determined from fifth to 16th place.
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Correct.¬† So say you're in round two or three, and you have that 2000 lift, we'll just remove that.¬† Here's the pool.¬† Same thing.¬† You go back into the pool for fifth.
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Correct.¬† Still working on that.¬† That's a good question.¬† We didn't anticipate that one.¬† Still working on that one.
Q.¬† Right now you do ten, but that could change as well when we get to Vegas?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† It could.¬† It could expand.¬† Could get shorter.
GENE STEFANYSHYN:¬† Yeah, we discussed that.¬† That question came up, we just don't have the answer yet.
Q.¬† We heard you'd give three bonus wins for every point during the regular season at the start of the Chase.¬† Was that off the table at any point?¬† Was that always on the table?¬† Is that on the table to prevent a guy from pretty much letting another one of his teammates win during the race?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† That's a three‑part question there you hit me with.¬† I think when we looked at this, Bob, we wanted winning to be first and foremost.¬† Then you look at folks who say what if I win the Daytona 500, what is the incentive to race?¬† So certainly none of our drivers say that.¬† But we've heard that from race fans.¬† So you look at it and say, well, that's why we have the win bonus currently.¬† We want to continue to incentivize.
We have a rookie driver in Kyle Larson, and he rolls off seven wins during the regular season.¬† That's a big 21‑point lead during the season.¬† What isn't factored in and gets lost is the assumption by some and Gene mentioned this, the driver who wins is going to just coast for the rest of the races.¬† Our drivers don't do that.¬† When you talk to some in the industry, especially the crew members and engineers, what you hear is this gives me a better chance to win.
An example would be if I'm 15th in a race, I probably don't have a winning car.¬† My only way to win is either short pit, take a risk on fuel.¬† If I've got that win in my back pocket, I may do that.¬† Once you get four, five, six winners that creates a whole lot of different story lines and a lot of calls made in the pits.¬† We see it as a positive.¬† We see it as something that will get more story lines out there.¬† But we'll look at that as we go through the year.
Q.¬† You're saying that those running for the championship do not get bonus points, but will the other competitors in that race get bonus points since they're racing for other positions?
GENE STEFANYSHYN:¬† Yeah, that is the way we do it.¬† They're in another stream, yes.¬† We'd keep that the same.
Q.¬† Did NASCAR do modelling on how the system was affected last year, previous years?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† We did.¬† When you look at it, it's not Apples to Apples, because candidly we feel like in all of our discussions with the race teams and the drivers almost to a person they say the strategy changes completely.¬† So you can look at that, but at the end of the day we don't think it's anything that you can look at and project in 2014 by any means.
Q.¬† (No Microphone)?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Again, what I would say is you can do that and do the math, but it's going to fundamentally change how they race.
Q.¬† But you can do that with the current format?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† That's correct.
Q.¬† (No Microphone).¬† Is that part of the sales pitch here and having to reconcile that?¬† (No Microphone)?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think we're always looking to grow.¬† And any change, as Brian said, is going to be tough for some.¬† I can't speak for Kyle.¬† I saw his quotes, but I can tell you that all the drivers we met with, maybe not based on Kyle's quotes, had some great dialogue, great feedback for us.¬† Get what we're trying to do.¬† Understand where we want to be as a sport.
We could certainly stay status quo and just be a Motorsport and compete in that landscape.¬† That's not what NASCAR wants to be.¬† We want our sport to continue to grow.¬† We believe we put on the best racing in the world and deserve that.¬† This is something that we felt really, as Brian said, ticks all the boxes.¬† When you look at talking about drivers, talking about story lines and ultimately talking about wins.¬† That is what the fans want and the racetrack wants, so we felt this is the right time for it.
Q.¬† (No Microphone)?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think that's very fair.¬† I think ultimately it gets lost sometimes.¬† We're talking about ultimately we're about close competition on the racetrack.¬† So you can take all of this away, but we're hopeful at the end of the day, that's what this does and it's really about the product on the track.
GENE STEFANYSHYN:¬† Fundamentally it's anchored in a fan‑centric strategy.¬† That is the foundation element of this.¬† We listen to our fans.¬† We're innovating and evolving.¬† As you know, you need to evolve and adapt to your environment or else you become stagnant and become extinct.
We looked at the tradition.¬† We looked at the history.¬† We tried to find a very good balance to be true to our history and our tradition, yet go to the new world.¬† Again, our key number one was what do the fans want?¬† What are they talking about?¬† What is going to excite them and keep them watching our sport and bring in new fans.¬† So that was the objective of the exercise.
Q.¬† What if the fans don't like it?¬† What if it turns out it's not the right choice, where do you go from here?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Well, I think through all of our research we believe we're headed in the right direction.¬† We can always look at changes or adaptions we can make, but we strongly believe based on all the conversations we've had, this will elevate the sport significantly.
What I would say, and I know you're active on Twitter, there are passionate fans out there and I hear them as well.¬† Those who may not like this are very passionate about it.¬† What I would say instead of dismissing them, we very much value their opinion, and it's okay.¬† I'd say give this a chance because it's still the sport you love.¬† We just think we're going to take the sport you love and elevate it that much more.
Q.¬† Do you think winning will be more about strategy or (No Microphone)?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think it's more about strategy.¬† I think our drivers, and if you sit down and talk to them, and you all do, they'll tell you they give 100% each and every lap.¬† But you've got to make a decision moving forward.¬† Maybe out of Dover where you haven't run, it could change the mentality in do you finish second in the past just because that was a really good points day, and I can use that second place to move on, or I have to win to advance.¬† I think that may change the game at some of the elimination races.
Q.¬† Last year was a year of new team deals being negotiated.¬† Was this part of the discussion for TV?¬† Was this something that helped you land new TV partners?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† This was not based on our television partners.¬† I will say if you look back, and Brian said this over three years of dialogue and looking at models, certainly ESPN has talked to us about a similar model.¬† When we looked at it, it was a factor in the timing of doing something.¬† Boy, how does ESPN feel about it?¬† How would NBC feel about it?¬† How does FOX feel about it?
I can tell you overwhelmingly, which is great for us, we probably wouldn't have gone forward if our television partners and our fans said, boy, I'm not on board.¬† But they were overwhelmingly supportive of this, and overwhelmingly supportive of let's do this now.
Q.¬† The release on eliminated drivers from the reset (No Microphone).¬† I'm trying to get my hands around when they start racing for fifth position, how they accumulate points, how they're scored.
GENE STEFANYSHYN:¬† I think the easiest way to think about it is if they're racing and they're in the 16, they go down to 12 or 8, we'll put them in the pool, the 5 through 16 pool, and we'll even up the points that's equal.¬† So there are some mechanics to be worked out there.¬† But that is the way we're going to do it.¬† So we'll have to equalize that.¬† So when the new four come join the first four, they're in the pool that is all fair.
Q.¬† Do they race for the positions in the race then?¬† Is that how that goes?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Yeah, all the way through.¬† So what you'll have, let's take post‑Dover, four drivers have been eliminated and they go over to the right.¬† After Talladega there are four more drivers and they go to the right.¬† Their points are all back to where they were.¬† So now they're all competing for that fifth place.¬† All the way during the Chase you're racing for fifth to 16th once you're eliminated, all the way down to Homestead.
Q.¬† What might be the medical exception in terms of a driver not‑‑ like Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2012 withdrew from contention for a few races because of a concussion, might that be an exception depending on when it occurs during the year as far as having to try to qualify for all the races?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Yeah, I can't speculate on each one.¬† But if you use Dale Jr. as an example, if, in fact, he was eligible post‑Richmond based on his points or his wins, and if a neurologist said he is now okay to compete for the Chase, that would probably be an exception we'd make.
Q.¬† If he were eligible?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Correct, if he was eligible.
Q.¬† Say for instance that a guy (No Microphone) he's going to get to Talladega.¬† He's already through to the next round, can he start at Talladega with you guys?¬† Would there be a penalty for that to avoid injury?¬† What is his incentive to go out there?¬† He's already made it through.
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I would say his incentive or her incentive is to go out and give 100% like they do each and every race.¬† NASCAR is unique in that all the folks back at the race shops and all the dollars spent on sponsorships for that car and going into that race puts NASCAR in a unique position that you see each and every driver go out and compete at the highest levels each race.
If they make an attempt, first of all, you have to attempt to qualify for that race.¬† I go back to the crew chiefs and folks that we've talked to say this is more of an incentive to take some risks to go out there and win.
Q.¬† Gene, earlier today Michael Waltrip said that he felt like eliminating ride hype was one of the biggest decisions that had been made since he had been in Cup racing.¬† I wanted to know why you reached that decision, and how do you plan to police that to make sure we don't have any more Gary Nelson's letting the buckshot out to lower the ride height?
GENE STEFANYSHYN:¬† We do have our inspection regime in place.¬† We'll continue and we'll adapt that to the new rules.¬† I think for me, the thing that I really like about the new chassis rule is it basically gets us back to fundamental racing.¬† When the guys do go in the pit and when they put in a few turns they'll be affecting the car.¬† So I believe one of the big advances for us is we'll be, in fact, allowing the teams that haven't quite got it figured out to dial their car in quicker and be more competitive in the race, which is what we've said we want to do.
There are also some other technical benefits to it that we'll be giving them more mechanical grip because they're not running around bump stops.¬† So we'll have to see.¬† I'd say thus far most of the feedback we've been getting for the guys that have been testing has been fairly, fairly positive.¬† But the early days, and I wouldn't want to say that we've got it all, but the teams would be heading in the right direction.
Q.¬† So when you put wedge‑in and wedge‑out, they're going to expect (No Microphone)?
GENE STEFANYSHYN:¬† Exactly, yeah.¬† Because right now the springs are so light you essentially go down on the bump stops.
Q.¬† How will you police a driver who wins the first Chase race under your hundred percent rule over the next few races?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Say way we police it today.
Q.¬† How's that?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I'm not sure I understand the question.
Q.¬† Are you going to be listening to radio?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think the drivers are‑‑ the drivers are very clear and the industry is very clear.¬† We met with them in Chicago on how we define 100%.¬† So we're clear with our competitors as to what that means, and that hasn't changed as we look to 2014.
GENE STEFANYSHYN:¬† There is a significant advantage to getting points because you're going to get those bonus points when you go into 16.¬† So if you win one versus winning two or three, you've got a pretty good advantage.¬† So there is incentive to continue running hard.
Q.¬† In the Chase segments, there are no bonus points, right?¬† If I win Chicago, I don't get the three bonus points to reset going into Kansas?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† The last time I checked, if you talked to our drivers and told them that they were going to lay back for a race, I'm not sure who you're talking to.¬† I would say our drivers are going to win to keep someone else from gaining a win and moving on.
Q.¬† So a driver using an experimental car or experimental piece?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Happens today.¬† Can't speculate on it, but all that stuff happens.
Q.¬† You said they're clear on what could happen if they go against the 100% rule (No Microphone), but the championship format does lend itself to possible funny business or maybe somebody trying something.¬† Are you at all concerned that you'll have to keep a closer eye out to make sure that nobody's trying to do anything?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think that's fair.¬† We are well aware that this could potentially put more pressure on race control.¬† But that is our job to do that.¬† We've got to have the understanding from the garage that they believe in us to do that.¬† We think coming out of Chicago, and going back to Richmond, which was very tough for all of us in the industry, but believe the ramifications and how we reacted to that are very clear with what could happen.
We never want to face that again, and we're willing to take on that pressure because we think our competitors understand what is expected of them.
Q.¬† Have you heard anybody in your meetings or have owners ever said to you guys, trust me, that's never going to happen because you guys came down so hard on us?¬† Do you feel that they got the message loud and clear (no microphone)?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think one of the biggest things, and this is a little outside of the Chase, but you'll hear more about it next week, a lot about this Next Gen competition.¬† Part of that is more transparency from our part on how we approve parts with Gene, how we list penalties out in the rule book, how we go about appeals process and just being very clear.
It takes you away from speculation to say how did NASCAR come about with that decision?¬† We'll lay that out next Tuesday.¬† So I think that's helpful.¬† But back to the bigger point is wow, how big an impact this had.¬† That was a pretty big story.¬† I think people understand that in the garage area.¬† Our job is to be as transparent as we can with all the sponsorship that's involved, all the OEM relationships.¬† People saw what could happen and don't want to go through that again.
Q.¬† In the whole process and system had there been any thought that if a guy gets eliminated in the first or second round and gets on a big run in the final four races like Tony did in 2006, was there a thought of having a wildcard entry for that final race if they won three‑‑ say between the third race and the ninth race?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† We did look at that, and what it kept coming back to for us and I'll use Richmond as an example with the wildcard.¬† I think if I was at home and wasn't at the race, I would say, boy, Bob Pockrass just wrote about the wildcard.¬† Everybody is excited.¬† Then you'd get to the race and I'd try to explain it to my 15‑year‑old son.¬† After I did some math equations and said you need to sit by your computer during the race, and you'll understand who is going to be in.
So it was so complicated.¬† Then we looked at Miami and thought what is the simplest and most fairway to award a champion, it came down to doing it the way we came up with, based on wins and having it be that one race.
Q.¬† Do you base it on the final four?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† It's just the championship.¬† I think that's right, isn't it?
GENE STEFANYSHYN:¬† Yeah, it was laid out in the Grid today.¬† We have the four rounds and the last one is the Championship Round.¬† Whoever crosses the finish line first is our champion.
Q.¬† Under your new approval policy of race sponsors, have you rejected any racing title sponsors yet for 2014?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Not to my knowledge, we have not.¬† That process has started.¬† We're not all the way through the year, but to my knowledge, no.
Q.¬† (No Microphone).¬† On the medical thing, the situation like Denny's last year where he gets hurt and sits out four races and he comes back and wins the race before the Chase, is he still eligible?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† In that situation, most likely, yes, he would be eligible because he's qualified based on that win.¬† Again, we'd have to have all the medical clearances and here's what happened and he's got to sit out.¬† But under that scenario, he would.
GENE STEFANYSHYN:¬† We're going to let the experts and the medical community make those decisions for us.
Q.¬† What if a guy wins the race and then something happens and you still have the Chase where something happens (No Microphone) either scenario?
GENE STEFANYSHYN:¬† As long as you meet the criteria.¬† You have to be in the top 30, yeah.
STEVE O'DONNELL: ¬†At the end of the day our objective is not to keep drivers out of races.¬† They want to race.¬† Fans want to see them race.¬† We'll do everything possible to allow that, but it's got to be something that a doctor has said.
Q.¬† So is it just‑‑ do you have to enter every single race with the exception, even if you're in the top 30.¬† Say a driver's wife is pregnant or something, and it turns out the day of the Richmond race she's having the kid and he flies home, misses Richmond.¬† He's obviously still in the top 30, is there a requirement that he has to be in that race to be eligible to make the Chase?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† You've got to attempt to qualify, and that's currently how we define it too right now is make that attempt to qualify.
Q.¬† Okay, so, that was even before (No Microphone)?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Yes.
Q.¬† (No Microphone).¬† Using a substitute driver to win a race?¬† David Gilliland put in Boris Said, do you do a swap out?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† That would not count.¬† Let me make sure I follow you with that example.¬† Denny Hamlin hasn't won a race.¬† I'm going to put in Bob Pockrass for Watkins Glen to get Denny into the Chase, is that what you mean?
Q.¬† No, I would have Denny start.¬† Because technically if Denny starts, he would get credit for the win and do a swap out.
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Again, we'd have to see what happens there.¬† We have looked at that and don't anticipate that and we'd have to address it as it came up.¬† That's a fair question.
Q.¬† (No Microphone)?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think that's the thinking right now.¬† We're still working on some back of the house stuff, but that is the current thinking.
Q.¬† New changes for Nationwide and Truck?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Not that I'm aware of.
Q.¬† All of these sweeping changes in the Sprint Cup Series were just announced.¬† Does that mean maybe next year or later down the road we'll see some more changes to how we determine a champion for the Nationwide Truck Series?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think that's a very fair question.¬† I think we are taking a look at how this plays out for Cup certainly and how that affects Nationwide and Truck.¬† We've certainly had discussions about do you change that going forward as well?¬† We want to have that dialogue this season with the competitors and see how it plays out.
We've had some really good story lines in both of those series.¬† So if we can elevate that, we will.¬† But we're kind of in the process of having that dialogue with the race teams.
Q.¬† Would you have that dialogue with potential new series sponsors in the Nationwide Series for that second series?¬† Would they have any input in that decision as well?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† Fair question.¬† I think they would.¬† We certainly wouldn't dictate our decision based on that.¬† But if we thought a direction that could gain more mentions for a sponsor was the right way to go and ultimately, as Brian said, it ticked all the boxes for the series, we'd certainly do that.
Q.¬† Where do you stand in that search for a new sponsor for the series?
STEVE O'DONNELL:¬† I think the folks in New York, Steve Phelps and Jim O' Connell would be best to answer that one.¬† But actively out talking to a lot of partners.¬† Some great feedback, but they're the guys to ask about that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports