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NASCAR drivers want changes on the schedule

Associated Press
Driver Jeff Gordon practices for the Brickyard 400 Sprint Cup series auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Friday, July 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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Driver Jeff Gordon practices for the Brickyard 400 Sprint Cup series auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Friday, July 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — NASCAR Chairman Brian France says nothing drastic will be done to next year's schedule.

That's unfortunate for drivers who are ready for big changes.

They would love to blow up the schedule, from moving dates, slicing the number of races, or just adding more time off.

Six-time champion Jimmie Johnson wanted an off week before the final 10 races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

"I buy into the philosophy that we have a bit of oversaturation with race distances and how often we compete," Johnson said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I think we could trim that stuff down. I don't know where I would go to first, but I think adopting a little bit of 'less is more' would be beneficial."

Ryan Newman, the 2013 Brickyard 400 winner, said NASCAR should hold Wednesday night races in the fall to showcase the sport and move away from a clogged NFL weekend.

"We can still run 36 or 38 races, but we don't need to be at the racetrack, especially for Daytona and Talladega for three, sometimes four days with the inspection process," he said.

France had said there would be "robust discussion" about the schedule at Daytona International Speedway in a midseason state of the sport question and answer session. But he downplayed his earlier remarks this week in an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR.

"There's not going to be a dramatic change, but there may be some things that are a little different — that's not unusual," he said. "You come back to moving dates around ... we don't do a lot of it, but we do a little of it from time to time and this will be one of those moments."

France said the schedule will be released in September.

Of course, none of those suggestions is likely to be implemented. NASCAR chief communications officer Brett Jewkes tweeted on Friday, "Armchair schedule-makers at full froth this week. Amazing how simple, quick and easy it sounds. #ItsNot."

How's this for drastic? Kurt Busch advocated putting the site of the final, championship race of the season up for bid. Track would bid for the finale just like teams and cities do for the Super Bowl or countries for the Olympics.

He also wanted to mix the Chase schedule by taking Talladega out of the equation and making it as the Chase cutoff race. He'd swap it with the Richmond date.

"It works because NASCAR owns both those tracks," he said.

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