In the past, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France has been accused of being out of touch with the desires of race fans.
But in a recent interview with Broadcasting & Cable, France showed he's in tune with fans on at least one thing following last year's incredible Chase.
"I think I'd be shot if I changed the format, frankly," France told the magazine. "We are not going to change the format."
France also touched on several other topics, including:
• TV contract negotiations. France told B&C that talks for the NASCAR TV contract, which expires in 2014, could "heat up at any time." He said "a lot of our partners" want to renew their current deals – though he didn't say which ones.
• NASCAR wants ESPN to do more. France said the sport is "under-covered" and singled out ESPN as an entity that could do more to help NASCAR. He said NASCAR is working to make ESPN a "better partner" and said NASCAR has even hired people to "service them better." Said France: "We are pushing real hard with them to have a more integrated approach" across multiple ESPN platforms.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. needs to win. France said "it hurts" that NASCAR's most popular driver hasn't won a race since 2008. He acknowledged Earnhardt Jr. is trying, but said "he’s a big franchise...so it would help us if he would win."
• NASCAR does not want drivers to fight. France said drivers can continue to show more personality, but he doesn't want to see them slugging it out, like in hockey. "We don’t want to see things escalate to that," he said. NASCAR's TV partners "are not going to tell us they would like to see a boxing match on the straightaway," he added.
You can read the rest of the B&C interview here.