NASCAR At Daytona: Brian France Talks Commercials, Cautions

In an effort to improve the competition on the track, NASCAR is placing an emphasis on its Research and Development Center and giving it more autonomy, NASCAR CEO Brian France said Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR believes that by splitting off the R&D Center from the competition department, advances can more easily be made.

"Our stated goal is to have the most competitive and close competition as we possibly can," France said. "... So our goal is to use...a lot more science than art for us to keep up, solve issues, create rules packages on intermediate tracks and alike that produce closer, more competitive racing."

NASCAR is also working on ways to dry tracks faster, as well as the development and possible future implementation of glass dashboards.

"Things like drying the racetrack off in a much faster way than we currently do it today, which obviously would have a huge benefit to our race fans and the sport in general," France said.

As for the glass dashboards, France said they would be similar to the ones being implemented by auto manufacturers in street models. Telemetry data could then be transferred to fans.

Others topics of note France discussed during his Q&A include:

• Bruton Smith's idea of mandatory cautions is "gimmicky," France said, and added it was not something NASCAR had interest in enacting.

• NASCAR will continue to work with its television partners to make the viewing experience as enjoyable as possible, France said. This includes looking at the number of commercials run during each broadcast.

"Look, there is a commercial balance here," France said. "There are parameters. All of our partners have very strict parameters of how many commercial units they can run at a given time.

"There aren't TV timeouts, per se, in our sport. So it is understandable where our fans can miss something, feel like they're missing something and be frustrated by it. I understand that."

• On the subject of television, France acknowledged while NASCAR will soon be beginning renegotiations with FOX, ESPN and TNT, they are open to listening to proposals from networks not currently airing Cup, Nationwide or Truck Series races.

• France expects "no dramatic changes" to the 2013 Cup schedule, and there are no current plans to move a road course race into the Chase.

"We only have two (road races), so it would be a little challenging just from a scheduling perspective," France said. "We haven't heard a lot of concern one way or the other why it is or it isn't. So it wouldn't be top of our list."

France did allow for the possibility of more races to be shortened next season.

• The resurgence of Dale Earnhardt Jr., which saw the driver snap a four-year winless streak last month at Michigan and has him second in the point standings heading into Saturday's Coke Zero 400, is "a good thing for him...and everybody else," France said.

• The "encouraging" storylines that are developing as the Chase nears include Jeff Gordon currently being on the outside looking in as he tries to make the Chase for the eighth time in nine seasons.

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