NASCAR drivers meet with officials to discuss issues

BY DAVID SCOTT
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER/TNS

DOVER, Del. — A group of several drivers met with NASCAR officials the night of May 30 to discuss key issues in the sport.

NASCAR truck series driver Darrell Wallace Jr., center, jokes around with Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, left, as Denny Hamlin looks on during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Media Tour on  Jan. 30, 2014 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C. (JEFF SINER/CHARLOTTE OBSERVER/TNS)
NASCAR truck series driver Darrell Wallace Jr., center, jokes around with Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, left, as Denny Hamlin looks on during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Media Tour on Jan. 30, 2014 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C.
(JEFF SINER/CHARLOTTE OBSERVER/TNS)

The meeting, which was held in a hotel on the grounds of Dover International Speedway on the eve of the FedEx 400, was part of what drivers hope will be a continuing dialogue to address matters such as safety, aerodynamics and attendance.

Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. both spoke about the meeting before Sunday’s race.

“Overall, this is a good process to make our sport better,” Hamlin told reporters. “Everyone (from NASCAR) that was needed to make decisions was in there. The drivers were young to old, inexperienced to experienced, top of the standings to the bottom of the standings. It was very productive.”

Productive and valuable
NBC Sports reported that NASCAR was represented by vice chairman Mike Helton and executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell.

“NASCAR meets with drivers frequently on a wide range of topics,” NASCAR senior vice president Brett Jewkes said in a statement. “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.

“We’ll meet with them again later in the season as normal course of business. The meetings have been productive and we find the dialogue very valuable.”

Open dialogue
Hamlin was pleased with the reception the drivers received from NASCAR officials.

“It was good,” Hamlin said. “In my opinion, the first process to making our sport better is you’ve got to have open dialogue, you’ve got to have all the ideas out there as to what can make our sport better and safer.

“All those things came to the forefront (Saturday) … You look around the room, and it’s like, ‘Wow, this is a monumental time to where you’ve got the powers that be with some of the greatest drivers to talk about how we can make this sport better.’ ”

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