HOMESTEAD, FLA. (AP) - NASCAR chairman Brian France sent an open letter to fans, and here it is:
Dear NASCAR fans,
In a few short days, a dramatic 2013 season will end _ as will the milestone 10th Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
I have said a number of times that we created the Chase to provide fans with more high stakes, late season competition that goes right down to the final event. Now 10 years into the Chase, we can point to a number of instances which fit that description. You can look back at Kurt Busch’s tight victory over Jimmie Johnson in the very first Chase. Revel in the epic back-and-forth between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards in 2011. And now this year, Jimmie Johnson continues his march toward history, attempting to fend off Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick in Sunday’s finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
As good as the Chase has been for our sport, we want more. We want more excitement, more passing, more drama. We want to give you more reasons to go to the race track and continue to follow our sport week after week. Rest assured that we as an industry are working hard to accomplish this goal. We’re on a mission to make the racing the best it can be. Frankly, your passion and commitment to NASCAR warrant our resolve to continuously pursue ideas that will make the best racing in the world even better.
The debut of the Gen-6 race cars _ the Toyota Camry, Chevrolet SS and Ford Fusion _ led to a number of highlight-reel moments on the race track this season. They not only look better but they have delivered significantly more passing across the season and some incredible moments in the capable hands of the best drivers in all of racing. But again, we want more. Our team at the NASCAR Research & Development Center, in concert with all of our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race teams, is testing a number of rules packages in order to improve upon this season’s on-track product for 2014 and beyond. I’m proud of the effort and care put into this mission from all involved.
In terms of the 2013 season, we have had some very special moments and great accomplishments at all levels. Our first Nationwide Series race at Mid-Ohio was a great success for our sport near the home of valued series sponsor, Nationwide Insurance. In the Camping World Truck Series, the highly successful return to dirt at Eldora Speedway and the series’ first race outside of the United States at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park stand out as huge milestones. The Canadian Tire Series, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and Toyota Mexico Series all delivered spectacular moments to NASCAR fans in all of those regions of the world, and the first Toyota Mexico Series event held in the United States at Phoenix International Raceway earlier this year will go down as a memorable, landmark moment in NASCAR’s rich history.
Darrell Wallace Jr. made history, becoming the first African-American driver in 50 years to win on the NASCAR national series stage. Kyle Larson’s win at Rockingham Speedway earlier this year, Darrell’s victory and innumerable great young drivers taking the spotlight in the K&N Pro Series ranks show that our Drive for Diversity, NASCAR Next and development series initiatives are bearing fruit on the track. These programs are filling the talent pipeline with emerging stars we’ll someday see chasing the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Finally, we are thrilled with the unification of sports car racing in North America and look forward to the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship beginning next year.
Of course, this season has not been without challenge. As a sport, we were presented with a number of unprecedented moments. In each instance, we met our responsibility to act in what we believe was in the best interest of the sport as a whole. We recognize there are times when you have agreed and others when you have not. Please know, wherever you stand on these issues, we appreciate your passion for NASCAR. It does not go unheard or unnoticed.
Now, as we head into the season-ending races at Homestead-Miami Speedway and begin the countdown to Daytona, on behalf of the entire NASCAR team, I thank you for your continued passion for our sport. You are the greatest fans in the world and we wish you the very best during this coming holiday season.
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