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Brad Keselowski says NASCAR's Brian France needs to be at the track

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Brad Keselowski certainly isn't the first one to say NASCAR chairman Brian France needs to show up at the track more often.

But the fact he said it would be the one thing he would change about NASCAR (he was asked that question) shows just how controversial France's leadership style is as the sport continues to face challenges.

"If I could make one change it would be that the leader of the sport is at the race track every weekend," Keselowski said Wednesday during the NASCAR preseason media days at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "That would be my change."

Tony Stewart similarly criticized France two years ago during the media days. And the issue has hounded France for years since he took over as NASCAR chairman in 2003. He appears at prerace driver meetings on select race weekends but not the majority of them.

In 2011, in his season-ending news conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway, France was asked about whether he needed to attend more races.

"I frequently say, and I've said this before, if I thought that I was the last one out of every event and I turn the light off on the way out that that would grow the sport in some way, I would do it," France said.

"What we have is a different sport than it was 10, 15 years ago, and that's real clear. I don't publish my schedule, but it's pretty busy. We feel like we're managing the sport. We know we're managing the sport the best way that we need to to grow the sport."

Keselowski indicated that to grow the sport, France needs to be at the track.

"It's important for any company that relies so heavily on outside partners to have a direct interface -- this is such a big ship with so much going on week to week," Keselowski said.

"With some respect, I would say that it's impossible for the sport to be managed with someone being here every week because of the travel situations being what they are and the different things that come up and I completely understand that. But I think, on the other side of that, to some extent, you have to be here."