What’s next for NASCAR? Its CEO needs time away to work on himself. It bears saying again: regardless of what we may think of his leadership, Brian France is a man with a family and loved ones who count on him and love him. This observer hopes he can shake loose of his demons and experience life free of substances that can enslave you, and pulled your loved ones down with you.
Now what? In the here and now, NASCAR’s first family turns to Jim France’s, Brian’s uncle, the brother of Bill France and the son of founder, the late “Big” Bill France. In his early 70s, Jim France is no young buck. While he can serve ably for a season, if he should take the reins for more than a brief time, there needs to be substantial thought given to an eventual successor.
It’s not saying the elder France won’t have an impact. As has been said more than once, while Brian France is a businessman, Jim France is a throwback, more of a racing man. That’s what NASCAR needs, and NASCAR needs it now. Fans and insiders need a feeling like the family who owns the series actually gives a damn. I don’t care what spin and happy talk Brian France gave us; a ventriloquist dummy could give us that. NASCAR needs a leader pressing the flesh, doing lots of listening and giving those who have weathered the long storm the sense that while the sport didn’t get in it’s current state overnight, it won’t be fixed overnight either. Fans just need to know they are being heard, and that long term, everything is going to be ok.
Fans need to know that they’re being heard, and they need some straight talk in return. Tell us some things we don’t want to hear. We’re big kids, we can take it! We know multiple steps have been taken to make the racing better, and it hasn’t always worked. There’s probably no silver bullet to make it better, so tell us so. That’s what the fans need, a little dose of truth.
A little can go a long way with the fans. Then from there, address those changes that are actionable now. Fixing cars and fixing tracks is a tall order; dealing with our points system is low hanging fruit. Why stubbornly cling to the new Coke formula when the fans want Coca-Cola classic.
Some good short-term work helps buy some time to address the long-term issues. That is another story for another time. Meanwhile, it’s time for some fresh leadership.