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NASCAR CEO Brian France backs aggressive driving ... within limits

NASCAR CEO Brian France backs aggressive driving ... within limits

Brian France, NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer, addresses reporters during a news conference Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

(Alan Diaz / Associated Press)

Brian France wants to make one thing perfectly clear: There is a distinct line between aggressive competitiveness and unethical shenanigans in stock-car racing.

“We have a very clear line, very clear, about exactly where things are, where they need to be, and when they are not, we will step in and we will deal with it,” NASCAR CEO France said Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, addressing the media on Championship 4 race weekend.

The topic has set off a flurry of discussion, rants and raves in cyberspace and other places recently, all focused on the nasty back-and-forth between Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth. Logano is out of championship contention because of Kenseth’s retaliatory payback bump in Martinsville that also prompted NASCAR to suspended Kenseth for two races. Kenseth will be back behind the wheel this weekend.

“We were very disappointed, as you know, with what happened in Martinsville,” France said. “We reacted to that. We were coming down here to a championship weekend, and I wanted to make sure that that matter was behind us with Matt, with Joe Gibbs and so on. I’m assured that it is.”

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Now France moves onto more immediate concerns, like playing meteorologist. The forecast calls for thunderstorms and 90 percent chance of rain on race-day Sunday, bringing up a disconcerting thought bubble:

A NASCAR champion may be crowned in a rain-shortened race.

“We’re trying to think through what would be the best way to do it, knowing that our long-standing rule is, after the halfway point of completion, it’s a completed event,” France said.

“We’re looking at everything. Our view now is that like a lot of things that aren’t necessarily perfect, so to speak, that’s part of the game. That’s part of racing that it’s part of the strategy. You saw that last week in Phoenix — that you have to anticipate weather as being a factor in deciding things, as unfortunate as that is. Hopefully it won’t be a factor on Sunday.”

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