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Phelps says NASCAR is in transition

Asked if NASCAR is in a flux or transition, [NASCAR president Steve] Phelps didn't hesitate with an answer.

"We're in a transition and I'm excited about the transition we're in," he said during a lengthy telephone interview Thursday. "I think the industry - broadly - understands what we are trying to do, which is put on the best and most compelling racing we can and grow this sport."

Phelps confirmed NASCAR has moved out the concept-and-discussions phase and into actively putting a new business model in place.

"We're going to a new sponsorship model," Phelps said. "It's really more to make the sponsorship buy as easy as possible. As an industry, we are fairly fragmented. You have the sanctioning body, different tracks, race teams, drivers and broadcast partners; all these different groups you can contract with as a sponsor.

"We are out in the marketplace right now selling these tiered sponsorships for 2020," Phelps said. "We won't get everybody signed on for 2020, but this will be the start."

While he can't discuss the whereabouts of Brian France, who stepped down as chairman/CEO after a DUI arrest in New York this summer, or NASCAR's bid to outright buy sister company International Speedway Corp., he is willing and able to address almost any other topic.

NASCAR is going to a new competition package for tracks longer than 1.5 miles in length, excluding Daytona and Talladega, which will knock the horsepower of these mighty V-8 engines from 750 horsepower down to 550.

Next year's Cup Series cars will be built so they are not like arrows being shot from a bow. The 2019 cars will feature a larger rear spoiler and air ducts in the front bumper designed to create turbulence.

"The package is loosely based on the package we used at this year's All-Star Race," he said. "Our research, from a fan's satisfaction standpoint, was the single-highest race we had all year.

"It was great to watch. Will every race next year be as good as the All-Star Race? Probably not. With that said, we saw some great racing in 2018 in all three (national) series."

See much more at Daytona Beach News-Journal.