The Rolex at Daytona and Brian France

The Rolex 24 at Daytona is my own personal start to the racing season. That race gets me reignited for the coming NASCAR season. I truly enjoy seeing guys that I rarely hear about racing around Daytona for 24 hours. This year, there won’t be any NASCAR drivers in the mix, but there will be plenty of IRL drivers. If you’ve never watched, I highly recommend it.

Not much has been in the news as far as the upcoming Cup season. Bits of news here and there, but nothing earth shattering. Danica here, Stenhouse there. Kyle Busch this, Ryan Blaney that. Chase winning, Chase not winning. I think many fans will be surprised at the pit road changes since those haven’t gotten big headlines. But those changes will have a dramatic effect especially early in the season as crews get used to the new rules. Of course the teams have been practicing their pit choreography in the off-season, but nothing is like a real race when the pressure is on.

One interesting bit of news I saw was an interview with the ever outspoken Brad Keselowski on the infrequent trackside sightings of NASCAR chairman and CEO “King” Brian France.

You think this isn’t going to stir up some controversy? Sure it is so let’s dive in!

I know that in business, the boss isn’t always going to be at every event, especially in a big company. But as fan friendly and sponsor driver and sponsor dependent as NASCAR is, the boss should really be around a lot. There are always going to be conflicts, but in this day and age with this sport, I think Keselowski has a point and that France should be at the track.

Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr. were fixtures at the track. Mike Helton was a fixture and still makes appearances. For King Brian to delegate that authority and presence to his lieutenants makes it seem as if he either doesn’t care or has better things to do. Granted, King Brian has other business ventures, like casinos, which his family owns. And I am sure being at the casino is more fun that being at the race track, especially if it is sweltering hot in Indianapolis or snowing on a spring race in Virginia.

In my opinion, you are either into racing or you’re not. Maybe King Brian just isn’t into racing all that much. But if you are in charge of the “family business”, the business that in essence “made” your family and made it millions of dollars, then you should be into it.

Keselowksi isn’t the first driver to complain about King Brian. Smoke was also quite vocal. And I am sure these guys won’t be the last. No one really wants to out the boss for being invisible but sometimes you just have to speak up.

NASCAR is struggling and while it has always been about the drivers, the sport needs a strong hand to steer it into the future. It lacks that dominant force in a driver right now and you can’t put all this on the young drivers who are making headway into the sport. These guys may be a flash in the pan, no one knows.

All the more reason for a strong, sensible, firm hand in guiding NASCAR into the next decade.

King Brian has not always shown himself to be those things. If he can’t, then who will?