NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Pit Note # 3
France Addresses Substance Abuse, Manufacturers, and Television Ratings - Brian France, chairman and CEO of NASCAR, addressed members of the press on Friday afternoon in the Time Warner Media Center. He spoke on several topics, including the substance abuse policy, manufacturers' problems and declining television ratings.
He stated he was confident in the substance abuse policy and that it was understood by everyone involved.
"We have had, in terms of punishment - if you test positively for a banned substance, we've always had the toughest enforcement in sports. We are testing more often as a result of the industry wanting us to. We made an already tough policy much more difficult."
He also briefly touched on the situation involving Jeremy Mayfield's apparent breach of the drug rule.
"Last weekend, we had a serious violation of our substance abuse policy, which gets you an automatic and indefinite suspension, and that is where we stand with Jeremy today," he said.
When asked if he could reveal the drug that resulted in a positive test, France declined, citing privacy reasons.
"If you look back over the last 20 years of our policy, we just haven't disclosed that. There are a couple of reasons - number one, we did say it is serious; number two, there is a privacy issue because we are talking about someone's medical records or someone's health records," he said.
When asked about the financial woes of Chrysler and other automobile manufacturers, France replied it was too early to tell what the effect would be on the sport.
"We know what everyone else knows: that Chrysler is in bankruptcy proceedings and that they are current with all obligations to our sport. I don't know whether they [have fulfilled obligations] in other areas of sponsorship. I think it's too early to determine what restrictions they are going to have if any," he said.
France was also asked about declining television ratings. He cited several reasons for the decline, including a rain-shortened Daytona 500 and conflict with the Academy Awards early in the season that disrupted the momentum of the sport. He also stated he thinks that decline is turning around.
"That's changing over the last three or four races, because the story lines now are unfolding and a lot of things that we think capture and get the attention and enthusiasm and passion of our fans are coming into play," he said.