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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Drivers, teams talk to NASCAR … will they listen?

Something happened Tuesday at NASCAR’s research and development center in Concord, North Carolina, that is very rare for the dictator-like system that is NASCAR.

They held a meeting with some drivers and team owners and fielded questions and concerns about the state of the sport. Topics included the controversial drug testing policy and concerns with the Car of Tomorrow.

Afterward, everyone seemed all pleased with what had transpired inside, but something felt forced about it.

For example, Mark Martin spoke after the meeting and said he now understands NASCAR’s drug policy more clearly.
“I'm very comfortable now," Martin said. "I'm also comfortable with the way they're handling the list [of substances that will be tested for], or no list. I understand why. I'm more comfortable right now than I was, believing that ... if you have something that you're taking as prescribed, I don't think you're going to lose your career. I feel much better now than I did before the meeting."
What I get from that statement is NASCAR told the drivers they will continue to be secretive about the drugs list and there’s nothing anyone can do to change that … so deal with it.
It brings me to a point that I’m pretty confident about: NASCAR probably has no ideas of actually addressing any of the concerns drivers raised during the group meeting.

Just one year ago, NASCAR held a mandatory meeting at Michigan Speedway telling drivers to basically shut up and stop complaining about the Car of Tomorrow. Now, all of a sudden, they want to listen to what drivers have to say?

Call me jaded if you want, but this whole meeting seems to me to be nothing but a public relations move by NASCAR, which is reeling from the negative reactions many fans have had to how they are handling situations like the Jeremy Mayfield drug test.

By “listening” to the drivers and team owners, they appear to be letting off from their normal dictatorial style, but it’s doubtful they plan on changing anything.

Perhaps the session may have done some good, and some good ideas were thrown out that can be used to better the sport in the future.

But don’t hail NASCAR for holding the meeting, as it probably will lead to little or no change in the sport.

Kid Rock headed to MIS
Kid Rock, one of Michigan’s biggest national success stories in music, has been announced as the grand marshal of June’s race at MIS. He will headline pre-race activities, and command the drivers to start their engines, plus ride in the pace car just before the checkered flag.


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