June 07, 2015

LONG POND, Pa. (AP) NASCAR CEO Brian France said the new drivers' council is just one more way to listen to feedback that could help improve the sport.

About 20 top drivers met last weekend with NASCAR officials at Dover International Speedway. Competition, the 2016 rules package, attendance and safety were among the topics discussed.

''That's my style, to be collaborative, to do more communications not less,'' France said before Sunday's race at Pocono Raceway. ''If we have to formalize them to get more input, then we'll formalize them. Whatever it takes to get everybody to be able to express what's important to them.''

France did not attend last week's meeting.

France referenced annual meetings with track operators as one way NASCAR has reached out for feedback. Team owners banded together last season and formed the Race Team Alliance.

''When anybody has things that can improve the sport, we're going got be open to that,'' France said. ''It doesn't really matter how the exact form of communications happens. What matters is that it does happen. We're getting the stakeholders as close us as we can because there's a lot of good ideas that come out of these discussions.''

Drivers were apparently grouped in three different classes for the vote, and all three manufacturers had to be represented.

Confirmed to have been present at last weekend's meeting are Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson and Tony Stewart for Chevrolet; Denny Hamlin for Toyota; and Joey Logano for Ford.

Drivers who were there feel the meeting was long overdue, and finally comes at a time when everyone seems to be grasping at how to improve the racing.

''I know everybody in that room and everybody in the garage wants to make this sport better,'' Larson said Sunday. ''That is pretty much what that meeting was about. I thought it went well. I'm sure we will have more meetings and hopefully try to make the sport better than it is right now.''

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