Defending champ Edwards out of All-Star race

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“We are very attentive to the fan base,” he said. “We look at it a lot of different ways. You can look at lead changes and cycles of things and more green flag laps than at other times. But we look at it overall and look at things very carefully, and we have a hard job, and it’s hard to put the rules forward that allow the best competition to come forward. That’s what we’ve done for 60-plus years.

“It’s not getting any easier with all of the technology and great teams and great innovators but we’re zeroed in on what we have to get done.”

All four manufacturers will introduce new cars in 2013, and France called it an opportunity to “make the racing better.”

He has tasked senior vice president of racing operations Steve O’Donnell with repurposing the research and development center, which should help NASCAR “increase our focus on things that can make the racing better.”

With that comes taking a hard look at aerodynamics, which many drivers have said is what’s effecting the racing. NASCAR this week added a side skirt to the cars, which four-time Jeff Gordon called “a baby step” in addressing aero issues.

France said NASCAR is looking at everything.

“We’re zeroing in on if there’s an aero issue,” he said. “From time to time, there’s going to be other issues that we’re able to get at those faster.”

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NASCAR JOINS BEYOND SPORT: NASCAR officials announced Saturday that it would join Beyond Sport, a global organization that promotes, develops and supports the use of sport to create positive social change.

“We’re obviously very honored to be a part of what’s going on at Beyond Sport,” France said. “The idea is that teams, leagues, athletes come together to share best practices of what they’re doing. It puts us on a big stage, which we’re excited about. And frankly, it matches perfectly with directionally where we’re going. We’re investing a lot with kids. We’re certainly focused on the environment and giving back to different communities.”

NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Juan Pablo Montoya also attended the announcement.

“Pretty much every driver has a foundation or does something to support other charities and other drivers’ foundations,” Johnson said. “This is a perfect fit. I’m very proud of the effort and the work the Jimmie Johnson Foundation has done, and I look forward to sharing our best practices and just trying to give back. There’s a huge void out there, and if it wasn’t for the nonprofit world, there would be even a larger gap.”

Beyond Sport Founder Nick Keller officially extended the invitation to NASCAR prior to the start of the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“We are very excited to welcome NASCAR to Beyond Sport and look forward to promoting and supporting the NASCAR community’s collective efforts to make a difference in the world,” Keller said. “Sports are one of the most powerful platforms in any culture to promote good, and the combined strength and collective commitment of these leagues is coming together to drive important change. NASCAR makes the movement even stronger.”

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