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NASCAR's Brian France hints at "interesting changes" looming for 2011...and what's up with Marcos Ambrose?

 The boss speaks again: Change is in the wind (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR) 

  By Mike Mulhern

   Brian France, the NASCAR CEO, held a surprise press conference here Sunday morning, to briefly repeat points he made at Daytona a few weeks ago that change is coming and offer enticing hints.
   But again, he wasn't very specific, only hinting at things.
    "We're doing a review of things we think we can improve on, and the chase is one," France said.
   "But things aren't as easy as they were in the past.
   "You'll have peaks and valleys, and when you're in a valley, that's when you can make changes.
   "This is the time the industry can 'reposition' things...to give us some changes in some areas."
   -- Carl Edwards-Brad Keselowski at Gateway?
   "Carl went too far," France said.
   "Some contact late in the race is part of NASCAR. But there are limits to that. You can't just send somebody around, especially intentionally.
   "Carl had a history with Brad, so he wasn't going to get any benefit of the doubt.
   "There have to be limits.
   "But this is the big leagues and you're going to have contact.  You saw contact at Loudon a few weeks ago; that's part of it."
   -- The 2011 Sprint Cup tour schedule?
   "All the requests are in. And we are digesting that, to see how it fits in with all our TV partners and everyone in the industry.
   "When anything moves around on the Cup schedule, it creates a ripple effect.
   "We'll be close to wrapping that up in a week or two, and there will be some changes. Some pretty impactful changes in our schedule that will be good for NASCAR fans. Some good, interesting changes to the schedule, on how fans get to the events."
    The schedule usually comes out in September, and France it probably will again. But he said it might be released in a different form.

   The 2011 championship playoffs?
   -- "We're going to make changes in the chase that we think will serve us well for many years. It's not something we're reacting to, like lower ratings.
   "Whatever we do, a lot of people in the industry will be able to weigh in. Focus groups, like another we're having Aug. 11th."
    The goal, he said, is to create "more of a playoff feel than we currently have, if that's the way we go.
     "And not changing the chase is definitely a viable option.
    "Options on the table, the only ones we would consider are those that would make winning more important.
   "....Certain races in the chase you have to win or do very well in order to move on (advance).
    "...A 'transfer' event, like we have at Richmond (in September)."
    "The truth is whatever we do won't be that much different.
   "Everything we've run (in simulations) Jimmie Johnson would have won anyway."


   Team owner James Finch, the fun-loving guy from Florida's west coast, has been a NASCAR fixture for years, but 2010 might be his last, as sponsorships run dry (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



  -- At least two rival team owners are taking a look at Marcos Ambrose for 2011, if the always-smiling Aussie/Tasmanian racer decides to move on.
  Ambrose' 2009 rookie NASCAR season was so spectacular, with several near-wins. But he has struggled through the past few months, to put it mildly. And that lost victory at Sonoma last month was all the more biting.
   How to spell frustration? Since the May race at Richmond, where he finished ninth, Ambrose has finished 25th, 36th, 36th, 30th, 15th, sixth (Sonoma), 13th, 32nd and 28th, coming into Sunday's Brickyard 400.

  -- Car owner James Finch's hopes of putting together a deal with fellow owner Rick Hendrick for driver Kasey Kahne for 2011 appear to have fallen through.
   Now Finch appears back on plan to shut down his entire NASCAR operation. He first raised that possibility in April.
   Bobby Labonte is currently driving for Finch.
   -- Questions continue to swirl around Team Red Bull, while Scott Speed continues struggling, while Brian Vickers continues his medical recovery from blood clots, and while Vickers' subs continue to perform rather mediocre.
   Casey Mears, first fill-in for Vickers, finished 22nd, 29th, 23rd and 36th; Mattias Ekstrom, the surprising road racer who took the wheel at Sonoma, ran extremely well but got shuffled back to 21st at the end; and Reed Sorenson, currently at the wheel, sandwiched an eighth at Daytona between a 24th at Loudon, N.H., and a 27th at Chicago.
   Vickers himself hasn't spent much at the track since he was hospitalized briefly in May. He was at Chicago two weeks ago, but he isn't expected back at a Cup track until Michigan next month.
   Some of the questions:
   Will Speed's contract be renewed? In his two seasons on the tour, he has had a few decent runs but nothing really spectacular. However team owner Dietrich Mateschitz appears to be on his side; when Speed's Formula 1 career didn't really take off, Mateschitz moved him to the NASCAR operation.
   How is Vickers progressing medically, and when can he get back in a car?
   And is rival team owner Rick Hendrick maneuvering behind the scenes perhaps to pair Mark Martin with team manager Jay Frye? Any such Frye-Martin pairing could make sense, since the two have worked quite well together before. However Red Bull just renewed its contract with Toyota, which would take Chevrolet out of any such equation. And of course Martin is quite insistent that he hasn't made any plans except to continue driving for Hendrick and crew chief Alan Gustafson in 2011. (In fact when Ray Evernham, the legendary crew chief, then car owner, now ESPN TV analyst, said here Friday he expected Martin to let Kasey Kahne take over that No. 5 ride next season, Martin angrily lashed out at the media for even bringing that issue up again.)

  -- Ron Dennis, the long-time McLaren boss, had dinner the other night with NASCAR executives, including Brian France, making a pitch for NASCAR to let McLaren handle the proposed engine changeover to fuel injection.
   NASCAR officials first raised the possibility last summer of eventually dumping the venerable carburetors and switching to more modern fuel injected engines. However NASCAR has done little more but talk about that – until now, when it has suddenly gotten "hot and heavy," according to one engine man, about the fuel injection project.
   Teams have been told to put together a package of ideas and specs about fuel injection over the next two weeks for NASCAR to consider.
   The NASCAR goal at the moment is to put fuel injected engines in these stockers at next season's All-Star race, which is a non-points event in May. And Jack Roush says he wouldn't be surprised if NASCAR didn't go with fuel injection too for the Daytona Bud Shootout in February, also a non-points event.
   There is no particular need to switch to fuel injection, of course. Of all the problems NASCAR and its teams may face, carburetion is the least important. However the image of NASCAR still using carburetors under the hood, when passenger street cars have long-since switched over to fuel injection, could be considered too 'old school.' And a switch might also entice another carmaker to consider signing on to the NASCAR bandwagon, with Ford, Chevy, Toyota and Dodge.
   France said the fuel injection project is just part of changes coming: "We're on a slow, steady march toward more technology in the cars....provided it doesn't burden the teams with additional costs.
   "No question about it, fuel injection is something we're going to.
   "It fits into our 'green' initiatives."

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  Tough season so far for Marcos Ambrose, but he's suddenly drawing attention from some rival team owners who might want to pick him up for 2011 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

No Brian, Fuel injection

No Brian, Fuel injection won't be coming because it's more expensive, less efficient, and harder to police than carburation. NASCAR has a problem with engine monopolies now, it can only be made worse if they go to fuel injection, because there are no independent engine shops that I can find in any series that run fuel injection - engine deals are all centralized. And your "green" initiatives are based on a lie - the lie that the environment is so fragile that burning fuel will help ruin it.

"We're on a slow, steady

"We're on a slow, steady march toward more technology in the cars....provided it doesn't burden the teams with additional costs." - Brian France

This guy is such a "silver spooned retard" it's incredible. Don'tcha kno' if you think ahead & plan vs procrastinating that fuel injection and other technology would have been in NASCAR years ago and more efficient today (save money). They made the same assertion of saving money with the COT. Teams would have a few cars to race on different tracks, so on. Teams have just as many "fleets" of COT today than the "old" car. It all comes down to NASCAR not wanting to "invest" but want the teams to do their work for them in R&D.

Marcos Ambrose to the UPS #6 next year. Look at the marketing opportunities for the land down under or Chip Ganassi. Imagine Marcos Ambrose not only behind the wheel of a EGR COT, but their Grand-Am racers too.

What happened to King Richard Petty & the Saudis? Guess things didn't work out, huh?

Ambrose with EGR? I like

Ambrose with EGR? I like that; keep JPM's and Jamie Mac's teams intact, but change Jamie Mac's number to #8 and put Marcos in the #1.

Dude get out of the dark ages

Dude get out of the dark ages ,it can be policed all you need is a control ECU like in other series in the world and a control injection manifold to save on rd costs . With a control ECU its possible to achieve a lot of things such as pit lane speed, RPM and so on.

Get on with it you backward hillbillies

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