CRANDALL: No need for panic

Image by Miller/LAT

CRANDALL: No need for panic

Insights & Analysis

CRANDALL: No need for panic


A lot can be learned from how drivers are taking the news of a potential sale of the France family stake in NASCAR.

In this case, it’s either very subdued, or there’s no reaction at all.

Among the drivers who were asked over the weekend about the France family working with Goldman Sachs Inc., it was clear there is little concern. Or if you’re Aric Almirola, none whatsoever.

“For me, as long as there’s a platform and a ride available for me to go race, I don’t really care who owns it,” he said. “That’s just the truth. I know that’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, but I could give a crap less.”

But outside the garage, the reaction has been either excitement or concern about what the future of NASCAR racing looks like. I had a lot of time to follow fan reactions on SiriusXM and social media during the drive back to Charlotte from Dover when the news of the possible sale first broke. A popular sentiment among some fans has long been that the France family is ruining NASCAR and needs to go, but now that a possible change in ownership is on the cards, some of those same people are worried about what’s going to happen.

Those looking at it from a positive standpoint usually follow it up with eagerness to see the France family, specifically CEO and chairman Brian France, on their way out. On the other side, there are those who suddenly find the idea of NASCAR without the Frances equating to the sky falling.

Defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. tackled that idea.

“I think the people who are thinking about the doom and gloom and racing [is] coming to an end is just nonsense,” said Truex. “There is a real opportunity that if it [a sale] does happen for some good things to happen.

“We’ll just have to see where it goes, but I’m not too worried about it. We have to find out if there is even any truth to it and get more details. It’s hard to give much of an opinion when we really don’t know much of what’s going on.”

Martin Truex Jr at Talladega. Image by Harrelson/LAT

Overreacting is human nature, and it’s very easy to do with sports. Between its three national series, NASCAR holds almost 100 races a year, has nearly as many drivers and never lacks for a story. So, it’s natural we often find ourselves in routine hysteria, quick to judge, or flat out assuming we’ve got it all figured out.

But as Truex says, so little is known about what may or may not happen here. Yes, the France family is exploring its options to see what NASCAR might be worth and it’s a smart move regardless of when they might decide to act on it.

Little is also known about what a sale would include other than the majority stake in the family-owned series that was founded in 1948.

“I think if you look at the sales of business, and NASCAR is a business, at some point there’s always going to be talk about sales and there’s always going to be talk about transition of ownership, and it’s something that happens in every business,” said 2014 Cup champion Kevin Harvick.

“You look at that the opportunities that come about when you have those situations, people don’t buy companies to make them worse,” Harvick said. “I think that there’s always opportunity if there were a sale for something to get better.”

But that doesn’t mean the sky is falling, though. Racing is not going to disappear. If someone does come in and buy NASCAR, it won’t be done with ill intentions. So, let’s continue to listen to those like Truex and Harvick, and for once, take a wait-and-see approach with a headline.