Changes coming to 2015 schedule?

JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer Published:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Saturday "robust" discussion will go into setting the 2015 schedule.

A revamped format to the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship this season, coupled with NBC taking over the second half of the television schedule next season, gives NASCAR an opportunity to make scheduling changes.

France also noted multiple weather delays this year at several race tracks as reason for considering tweaks. Saturday night's race at Daytona was delayed by rain, and the season-opening Daytona 500 was stopped for more than six hours.

Bristol had a significant rain delay in March and Texas was postponed a day in April.

"There's been some weather issues, as you well know, in the last several years at Bristol as an example, and then some other things that we would naturally look at as we go along in the schedule, and now that the Chase format is changed, there's additional interest to move from one place to another," he said.

But, France said there are no current plans to award a coveted Sprint Cup race to Iowa Speedway. The track was acquired last year by NASCAR sister company International Speedway Corp., but only hosts the Nationwide Series, Truck Series and IndyCar.

France also indicated the season finale is staying put for the "foreseeable future" at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The track recently extended its sponsorship agreement with Ford Motor Co. through at least 2019, with an option to extend through 2024.

Here are five other things France touched on Saturday at Daytona:

DRIVER LIMITS? Sprint Cup regular Kyle Busch has won all five Truck Series races he has entered this season and been nearly as dominant in the second-tier Nationwide Series, posting 12 top-five finishes in 13 starts. Fans have taken notice, with many of them crying foul play. But NASCAR doesn't sound as if it's close to limiting Cup drivers to a certain number of starts in lower series.

CHASE CHANGES: France is so far pleased with the on-track competition and credits the emphasis placed on winning for an uptick in action. There have been 10 winners through 17 races, and NASCAR this season has set a win-and-get-in model for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

The 16-driver field will be set following the September race at Richmond, so there are nine more opportunities for drivers to gain berths into the field.

DOVER DILEMMA: Dover International Speedway had swaths of empty seats last month, continuing a trend of declining attendance at the Delaware track. Longtime observers said the crowd was the smallest in years, and France acknowledged that Dover is a market that's under "a lot of pressure."

Dover has two races annually, and with attendance sagging, it's unclear how long NASCAR will continue with that model. Several other tracks, including Las Vegas, Iowa and Road America, would love to add a Sprint Cup race.

SOUVENIR SALE: France acknowledged NASCAR is exploring new ways to sell souvenirs, which are done at race tracks in rows of haulers located outside of the facilities. Reportedly under discussion is overhauling the entire experience and creating a sort of super store -- a tent that would include all driver memorabilia in one spot.

WORLD CUP LESSONS: France, a noted sports fan, has taken in some of the World Cup action as the tournament captivated Americans. But he wasn't sure there was a takeaway that could be applied to NASCAR or how the sport could resonate the same way with fans. He called the fervor surrounding the World Cup "organic," which makes it impossible to copy.

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