In an effort to improve the sport, NASCAR drivers have formed a council that met with officials on Saturday night in Dover.
The group consists of Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick in a collection of about nine drivers. Hamlin has been organizing things on the drivers side with the Race Team Alliance formed last July by several NASCAR owners.
“We’ve been trying to get all of our drivers together for about a year now, trying to get all of our ideas in one room together,” Hamlin said. “NASCAR knew we were trying to form a line of communication, so they helped us start a driver council which gives us that forum to allow us to talk about things we want to talk about.
“It was good. In my opinion, the first process to making our sport better is to have open dialogue, you’ve got to get all the ideas out there as to what could make our sport better and safer. All those things kind of came to the forefront yesterday.”
While the move to get officials and drivers together seems like a huge step, NASCAR senior vice president Brett Jewkes noted it’s a normal occurrence.
“NASCAR meets with drivers frequently on a wide range of topics,” Jewkes said. “As part of our ongoing commitment to foster dialogue between all stakeholders, we’ve met formally with drivers on several occasions this season, including here at Dover.”
The actual purpose of the meeting, which took place at a Dover casino the night before the FedEx 400, was not shared by drivers or Jewkes. But it was a good starting point for the two sides to have dialogue moving forward when either sees issues.
“NASCAR asked us to do that, so we could just get together and have a better ability to communicate, driver to NASCAR, NASCAR to driver,” Earnhardt said, via Lee Spencer of Motorsport.com. “It’s just a better platform, a better way to have discussions—everybody wants the same thing, so we’re just trying to work together. There’s better communication and better dialogue that way.”
Drivers have voiced their frustration with the sport recently, including Harvick wanting to see drastic changes to the schedule. Now that a council has been formed, it should be interesting to see if any moves actually take place to improve the sport as a whole.
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