NASCAR chief wants more emotional drivers

December 2, 2008

Can you drive really fast around tight corners? Do you lose your temper and burst into tears when other drivers cut in front of you?  If you answered yes to both questions, NASCAR might want to hear from you.

The motor racing sport could do with more exciting, emotive personalities, NASCAR Chief Executive Brian France told reporters at the Reuters Media Summit in New York.

France said some drivers might feel restricted by their sponsor contracts and not want to show too much emotion when they step out of their cars — even after a major incident like a crash.

“What we need to do more with our athletes is to bring out their emotions because one of the things [that’s] a drawback is we’re so sponsor-dependent and [the drivers] represent all these companies, their merchandise sales are based on doing the right thing,” France said.

People like to see the emotion in athletes, he said. “If you’re running 200 miles an hour, racing somebody who wrecks you and spins you out, you don’t need to hop out of the car and act like you’re in the library.”

NASCAR is perhaps best known for the stoic, monochromatic personalities of some of its best known drivers, such as Jimmie Johnson.

“He’s a very nice guy, a cool customer, obviously very talented in our sport… but he’s not gonna do a lot of things that are gonna wow you or stun you or surprise you in the way that sometimes other athletes make their mark. ”

Of course, character cuts both ways. One imagines that other sports commissioners would be grateful to have a boring Jimmie rather than an exciting Plaxico.


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Nascar, whats Nascar, I haven’t watched a race since Dale Earnhart was killed.

Posted by Brad | Report as abusive

While it is ok to display emotion, athletes are given far too much attention in the media for their behavior as it is. Jimmy Johnson is a gentleman, and it is very sad to read that, because of that, he may not “make his mark”. It is especially disturbing to read a comment like that coming from an executive in the sport. Yes NASCAR is big business now, but does it have to go the way of football and basketball with the athletes acting out like a bunch of oversized, under-disciplined teenagers???

Posted by katie | Report as abusive

The Daytona 500 is on and I just turned it off. I am fed up with the warm and fuzzyness. I car spins out and that is a problem NOT AN ISSUE. Competition Yellow is the dumbest thing I ever heard off. If the tires arn’t safe then don’t start the race or maybe get another tire company to supply tires. The race commerntators are teerrible and really boring with thier political correctness.

I started watching NASCAR in the early seventies.I can’t take it anymore ZI’m done.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive