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NASCAR's Brian France meets the press


Brian France says Jeremy Mayfield's drug violation was "serious" but still won't reveal the substance (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



   By Mike Mulhern

   Brian France hit Lowe's Motor Speedway Friday and faced a barrage of questions, principally Jeremy Mayfield's suspension.
   And France repeated his insistence that NASCAR will not reveal what substance Mayfield is accused of abusing.
   "Looking back at our (drug) policy over the past 20 years, we have not disclosed that," the NASCAR CEO said.
   "We do say it's serious (with Mayfield).
  "Our view is there is nothing to be gained by disclosing what the substance was that Jeremy tested positive for...other than to say that it was not of the variety, in the wide spectrum
of things that you could test positive for, and in theory be resolved without a suspension.
   "If we thought there was a benefit to revealing the substance, we would probably rethink that. But there is no benefit to anyone to jeopardize someone's privacy.
     "What is important to know that it is serious….and when it is serious, the punishment is going to be serious. To be a deterrent. It is going to be swift, and it is going to be severe.
   "We do have a list, and it's a broad one. And the drivers are free to look at that list. We will certainly discuss talking with the media about that list too.
   "What is important to know about our list is we don't want to make it exclusive. Things in the scientific world are changing all the time.
   "So things (banned) are not just subject to that list."
    France, in the wide-ranging press conference, said the sport is on an upward move, after a rough start to the season, because of the U.S. economy.
   "In light of a number of items going around the sport today, I thought I'd come in and address things and take questions," France said.
   "Ticket sales are ahead of schedule, for Saturday night's All-star race, and for next week's 600. So, about the economy and how it's affecting the teams and tracks, obviously, it's had an effect, but we are seeing things turning around – in ticket sales not only here at Charlotte but in other markets too, as people becoming more comfortable with their jobs and everyday life.
   "And the competition on the track -- Jeff Burton and other drivers were saying the last few races have been some of the most intense of their lives."
   However it was Mayfield's suspension that led the agenda.
   Drivers say they are nervous about what medications they can take and can't take.
   "Let me take that head on," France said. "We have had punishment -- if you test positive for a banned substance, our punishment has always been the toughest in sports.
   "The drivers are encouraged to talk with (NASCAR's independent drug tester) Dr. Black directly, to get an explanation -- and we will assist in this – about what medications they may be testing.
   "Our particular test is very, very thorough. It will pick up almost any substance that should not be in your body.
   "And our drivers should understand if they test positive for prescribed medication, that doesn't result in NASCAR suspending you. But you will undoubtedly be talking with Dr. Black about why a certain substance was discovered in the test. And that has happened a lot. And that doesn't get you suspended.
   "But last week we had a serious violation of our policy with Jeremy.
   "There is a process for the road back. And the process with Jeremy is on-going right now.
   "There is a process of clarification going on with Jeremy. He could have a dispute with the test. And he is entitled to a review of our testing policies and chain of custody. That takes some time.
   "He is entitled to have any number of reviews and direct discussions with Dr. Black.
   "And we are working with Jeremy to ensure he has all the information he needs."
   France also discussed other hot topics:
    -- The problems Chrysler and General Motors are facing? NASCAR has private contracts with Chrysler and GM, but those terms and the length of the contracts are not publicly revealed.
   France did say that "Chrysler is current with all their obligations in our sport.
   "It's just too early to determine what restrictions they are going to have, if any (because of possible government restrictions). They are still going to need to sell cars and trucks, and we are the best place in the country to do that.
   "Obviously those companies will have to make some tough choices. But we hope we will fare at the top of the list. We are obviously in close contact with our teams."
     --- The sluggish TV ratings? France said "It is important to put it into context, and to note that seven of our first 11 events were the top-rated sports events of the weekend…and number one in attendance.
   "We didn't get off to a fast start (the rain-shortened Daytona 500).
    "We are in a momentum business…and we were up against the Oscars in California.
    "So we had a slower than expected start.
     "But that has changed over the last several races, because the story lines are unfolding, and the enthusiasm and passion of our fans is coming into play. Talladega was one of the most exciting races we have ever seen.
    "We are very confident that the sport will be in good shape going forward. And I'm confident the All-star race will continue that momentum.
   "We don't like to be down in our ratings, but it's important to know our fans can get their information from other mediums that are in play. And our ratings there are at an all-time high.
   "We know it is expensive to get here, and difficult….and I applaud all our tracks for their creative ticket promotions and all they've done with hotel rooms."
    -- Kentucky Speedway, as a NASCAR Sprint Cup tour event? France indicated that was still up in the air, but probably not for much longer. Bruton Smith, who owns most of the tour tracks that the France family doesn't own, wants to move one of his current Cup race dates to the Kentucky track, which he bought last year. However France has said repeatedly that NASCAR would not consider putting that track on the Cup tour until a lawsuit against NASCAR  brought by the former owners of the track is resolved…and some of those owners just repeated this week they do not plan to drop their suit.
   "We are close to getting the 2010 schedule behind us, in terms of where races are going to be," France said. "That's not been completed yet,  but we are certainly way down the road to trying to figure out if there are going to be any changes.
    "As far as any realignment requests that have been made, we are past the deadline on that particular issue.
    "We are working with everybody to figure out if realignment is an option for one of our track companies."
    -- And France also noted that Friday is "NASCAR Day," a focal point of a week of festivities in the Charlotte area raising money for The NASCAR Foundation and its family of charities, and he thanked the media for its support.

Brian France spent this day

Brian France spent this day basically saying nothing. They won't disclose whatever they don't want to disclose, they will always spin poor ratings/attendance issues, and the Kentucky battle will continue until Bruton Smith grows up.

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