France: Later starts, more points for winning mooted for NASCAR

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NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said changed race start times or points structure could be in play for the Sprint Cup Series down the road, in a season-opening interview Tuesday night on MRN Radio’s “NASCAR Live.”

France, who is now into his 11th year as head of the sport, responded to fan questions that weren’t really that wide-ranging a selection.

Points changes could come, not for 2014 but possibly 2015 at the earliest, if France opts to add more points for winning.

“We are not satisfied that we have the exact balance we want with winning, consistency, points, running for a championship,” he explained. “We think we can make some tweaks to continue to incentivize risk taking and racing harder and so on. I made some remarks about that in Las Vegas and we’ll undoubtedly be coming with some things that put the incentive on winning races and putting things at the highest level.”

Regarding start times, when asked if he’d consider moving some races earlier, France responded, “If anything, we’re trying to go a little bit later. We’re, obviously, trying to get more prime-time events and be in the widest possible audience that’s available on television, although I certainly understand that creates some hardships as well with people trying to get back.”

The bright side of that, France said, was that traffic is bound to be less later into the night.

Other key points from the hour-long interview: France said he is committed to further rule changes to create more side-by-side racing, he liked the way Richard Childress is bringing back the No. 3 to Sprint Cup, he is pleased with the development of NASCAR’s diversity program, mentioning Danica Patrick, Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr., and said if Dodge or any other manufacturer was to look at coming into NASCAR as a fourth one that they would need a long-term plan and be ready for a tough first couple years.

Verstappen picks illegal Raikkonen pass as favorite F1 2017 overtake

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Max Verstappen has picked his illegal pass on Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the United States Grand Prix as his favorite overtake of the Formula 1 season.

Verstappen was one of F1’s most prolific passers through 2017, making 22 overtaking moves as per Pirelli’s end of year data.

When asked to pick out his favorite in a post-season interview on his official website, Verstappen picked his bold move on Raikkonen at the Circuit of The Americas that sparked controversy when he was penalized for completing the overtake off-track.

The Red Bull driver had charged from 16th on the grid to cross the line third, only for a five-second time penalty to deny him a podium and drop him to fourth in a snap call made before the post-race ceremony.

“Of course, at first your initial reaction is something like: ‘Why? It was a great move.’ But when you look at the rules, it was not correct,” Verstappen said.

“Nothing was by the book that whole weekend. Drivers were getting off track without being penalized for it. But you always need to focus on the positives: it was still a nice race and everyone enjoyed the excitement all the way down to the final lap.

“It’s always nice to be on the podium, but to finish fourth after having started sixteenth, is still a great result.

“It wasn’t as painful as most people thought it was. In the end I made my peace with it.”

Asked if it was his best move of the year, Verstappen said: “Yes, because this year I actually didn’t have that many overtakes.

“With this car you are actually only able to overtake on the straights, which is really not that satisfying compared to last year.”