AVONDALE, Ariz. — NASCAR President Steve Phelps touted the game’s progress in his state of the game Friday at Phoenix Raceway earlier than addressing questions concerning the racing at quick tracks and street programs, officiating, staff possession mannequin, the 2024 schedule and extra.
Phelps famous the record-tying 19 totally different winners, together with the primary three playoff races gained by non-playoff drivers, the response to Ross Chastain’s online game transfer at Martinsville, how Sunday’s Cup race at Phoenix would be the season’s ninth sellout, up from 5 final yr, and that ticket gross sales had been up this yr from final yr by greater than 20%.
MORE: Full transcript of state of the game session
Here’s what Phelps and Steve O’Donnell, chief working officer, needed to say on a wide range of topics:
On the 2024 schedule:
Phelps: Can we imagine there’s curiosity north and south of the border particularly? Yeah, there’s curiosity. You speak concerning the Chicago road course. Ben Kennedy and Steve O’Donnell, their telephones are ringing from cities throughout the nation which might be like, We might like to host a NASCAR race at our metropolis. We do have calls coming, as I stated, north and south of the border.
Whether or not that occurs in 2024 or not, I don’t know. What I do know is we’re going to have continued schedule variation in 2024.
On enhancing the racing at quick tracks and street programs
O’Donnell: For positive taking a look at some aero adjustments for each quick tracks and street programs. We now have a variety of dialogue occurring with the drivers when it comes to doubtlessly taking a look at some energy issues. I feel that’s somewhat extra sophisticated. There are some issues we’ve checked out even via Storage 56 (the modified Cup automotive NASCAR will run at subsequent yr’s 24 Hours of Le Mans) that we discovered from an aero standpoint that might be put in place as early as subsequent yr for each quick tracks and street programs.
The excellent news is constant to dial in on the intermediates which we imagine we’re in a very great spot, however then actually deal with the quick tracks and street programs.
On how groups might be extra financially viable
Phelps: We absolutely imagine that having worthwhile groups does result in extra aggressive racing. If you happen to take a look at it, there are two areas to do it: growing income, which we now have each intention of doing with our race groups, and controlling bills, proper?
The groups have requested us to regulate bills. The place these come from, I don’t know. That might be as much as the race groups to find out one of the best ways to determine how they’d management these bills.
I’m not suggesting that we now have a particular dialogue round what that might be or the mechanisms that we put in place. The groups, the thought of getting caps, flooring, ceilings, luxurious taxes.
We’ll proceed to have dialogue with our race groups. The charters undergo the tip of 2024. We may have significant dialogue with our groups subsequent yr, I’m positive. We’ll determine what’s going to be a good alternative for all stakeholders. Shifting ahead in 2025, what that appears like, I don’t know. It’ll completely need to be round each income will increase in addition to some sort of expense restriction indirectly.
On if NASCAR needs the constitution system to proceed after 2024 when present association expires:
Phelps: I feel the constitution system has been excellent for NASCAR. I feel if you happen to take a look at it, there are a lot of constructive issues.
What do you get whenever you purchase a constitution? You get three issues. You get assured entry into the race, which helps the groups from a sponsorship standpoint. You get two items of income: mounted income after which income you compete for on the racetrack. The third piece is governance.
Steve (O’Donnell) and the highest competitors guys, they’ve acquired conferences on a regular basis with the race groups to maneuver the game ahead from a aggressive standpoint.
So I might say the constitution system, though not excellent, has labored very well. You take a look at the enterprise worth, which I’m not going to get into what charters are going for, what they had been at, however the quantity proper now could be a major a number of of what it was three years in the past.
We now have individuals on the market that need to get charters who’re each within the sport and are exterior of the game that may’t get them proper now as a result of the groups are holding them. That’s their proper. Whether or not we would like that to occur or not, there’s nothing we are able to do about that.
To reply your query absolutely, do I feel we’ll lengthen the charters? I do. Do I feel it’s a superb factor for the game? I do.
On media rights deal, which expires after 2024 season
Phelps: With respect to the place we go from a tv standpoint, our relationship with FOX and NBC has by no means been higher, ever. It’s at a stage that we haven’t seen from a tv perspective for the reason that early 2000s when form of this complete new mannequin got here to be. That’s achieved via a variety of laborious work. It’s achieved as a result of the game, its scores have stabilized and grown.
You take a look at our share over the past simply two years, share this yr for NASCAR Cup races, plus 11%, share final yr for NASCAR Cup races, plus 14. Our share has elevated in two years by 25%, whereas our associates at FOX and NBC have offered out their stock.
The game is having a second on tv, nevertheless it’s additionally having a second on our personal digital and social channels, our personal channels. On NASCAR digital, we haven’t seen numbers this excessive since 2005. There’s one thing that’s coming right here.
I’m undecided the place the long run’s going to be with respect to our media companions. I do know that it’s going to undergo NBC and FOX. Whether or not there are further people that need to come bid and we get to that exact level, I don’t know.
I do know there’s a important quantity of curiosity in NASCAR from these that aren’t our incumbents. That’s a superb factor for our trade, proper? Frankly, our media deal, it feeds a variety of mouths on this trade. It’s essential to do this. It’s the way forward for what more healthy groups seem like. It’s the way forward for continued funding in capital at our racetracks, continued funding in bills round creating higher fan experiences that we talked about earlier than.
On NASCAR’s officiating this season
O’DONNELL: All in all I might say for the quantity of races that we now have, the variety of calls we now have to make or not make, fairly good success document.
Having stated that, you may at all times do higher. One of many largest challenges in our sport is there’s no timeouts, we don’t ship it again to New York or some place else. We now have to make an prompt name and we’ve acquired to reside with that.
That’s actually reliant for us on the know-how in race management, we depend on our tv companions who do a fantastic job, nevertheless it’s not their job to officiate the race. If we’re lacking a digital camera angle, that’s on us to repair and ensure we’re these issues in place.
If you happen to take Texas, as an illustration, one of many angles we should always have had in race management, we didn’t. Subsequent week we did. We now have each single in-car the place we had been in a position to see it.
We’ll return and ensure the place will we make errors, what know-how do we have to actually make these choices in a extra well timed trend as a result of we need to make these on the racetrack versus through the week.
The second half was round our drivers. We’ve been very vocal on we don’t need to see anybody utilizing the automotive as a weapon on the observe, proper? That’s primary. The drivers have been vocal in saying, Allow us to deal with our enterprise ourselves.
With that comes a steadiness, although. I feel you noticed that steadiness final week. I might say that’s proper on the line, if not crossing the road, when it comes to the Xfinity Collection.
If you happen to take a look at how we now have officiated these calls this yr, we now have not issued any penalties. So our job within the low season might be to speak to the drivers, get their suggestions on the place ought to that line be. Nonetheless as much as us to make the choice. However I feel you’ll see some extra consistency when it comes to what we could do and react to what occurred final week with a penalty of some type for 2023.