It didn't take long for new Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski to draw the ire of NASCAR officials.

NASCAR Chairman Brian France and Vice Chairwoman Lesa France Kennedy met with Keselowski on Friday after he made public comments questioning the NASCAR business model.

Keselowski, who is known for his outspoken opinions, was quoted in a USA Today story Friday saying the NASCAR business model of teams relying heavily on sponsorship is flawed, that there is too much fighting between the teams and that the tracks and the sport in general is not television friendly.

Keselowski tweeted his own confirmation of the meeting Friday, which allowed him to ask questions of NASCAR’s top officials and for them to provide the sport’s new champion with more information on issues in the sport.

"Spent some time with the Lesa and Brian from the NASCAR team after yesterday's article, the passion we all share for our sport is amazing!," Keselowski said.

Keselowski will not be penalized for his comments. NASCAR fined him in 2012 for comments critical of its new fuel injection system and for carrying his cell phone in his car during races.

In the USA Today story, Keselowski said Bill France Jr., father of Brian and Lesa, had a better relationship with the shareholders in the sport. France Jr. gave up day-to-day control of NASCAR to Brian in 2003. He died in 2007.

“France Jr. had relationships with the sponsors, drivers and teams,” Keselowski told USA Today. “Now we don't have that. Those three other pieces are segregated. Those three pieces need to get together. And until all three of those can unite, we're a house divided, and we're making bad decisions that are affecting how to generate revenue for the sport.

“In today's sports world, you have to be very powerful in drawing people to TV, and we're not TV-friendly. That's one of the key areas for success. Part of that is we're not delivering a product. And we're fighting the tracks.”

NASCAR, run by Brian France and owned primarily by his sister Lesa and uncle Jim, sanctions the Sprint Cup Series. The France family also owns a majority of stock in International Speedway Corp., which operates 12 tracks that have Cup events. Lesa France Kennedy also is the Chairwoman of ISC.

Keselowski also was critical that NASCAR has given Sprint exclusive access to track property to help with connectivity for its customers. Other wireless companies must find an off-track alternative if they want to bring in portable antennas and other equipment to help service.

“The fact I can go to a race with a Verizon phone and not have service when the race starts is a major problem,” Keselowski told USA Today. “What needs to be done to fix that is you need to allow other carriers to come in with their boosters and what-not, and that's not happening. That's not acceptable.

“You can't tell a fan that doesn't have service, ‘We're working on it.’ They bought their ticket already. That money they spent was for ‘worked,’ not ‘working.’ We have to open our eyes to the big picture.”

Leave a Reply.