Tony Stewart offered both praise and criticism for NASCAR today, saying the sanctioning body’s openness to working with drivers and race teams is paying dividends.
In recent weeks, NASCAR officials have met with both the Race Team Alliance and the newly formed Drivers Council, soliciting input on topics from aerodynamics and cost containment to the possible franchising of the Sprint Cup Series.
"It (used to be) all right to walk in the trailer and give them an idea, and that's as far as it always went," he said. "Now we're actually having meetings, working hand‑in‑hand with NASCAR. That's something that I've never seen in this sport, which to me is really exciting as a driver and owner. I think it's great."
Stewart stopped short of complimenting NASCAR CEO Brian France, however, chiding the grandson of series founder Bill France, Sr. for not taking part in those discussions.
"I'd love to see Brian France show up at some of these council meetings and stuff," said Stewart, with more than a hint of sarcasm. "But I'm sure he's busy."
Sources close to the situation say France has intentionally stayed away from those meetings, feeling that drivers and team owners are more open, honest and communicative without the boss in the room.