Todt watches NASCAR races at Daytona, says something curious about USGP

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Jean Todt, the FIA’s president, is at Daytona this weekend, taking in the sight, sounds and pageantry of the NASCAR races being held there.

Why?

“You know, simply, why all those people are here,” Todt said. “It’s very interesting to see what the others are doing, and it’s always something to learn about.

“Of course, there are reasons why NASCAR is so big in America and why Formula One has never really been able so far to do something out here while doing a lot in other countries around the world. It’s a fascinating experience.”

That’s according to Fox Sports, which has right to both NASCAR and, by extension, to Formula 1. American viewers are in the middle of the run of grand prixs that Fox broadcasts, taking the telecast away from baby sister station Speed.

Todt watched the Nationwide race on Friday night, the Grand-Am Sports Car race on Saturday afternoon and then the big Sprint Cup race on Saturday night.

(For what it’s worth, Todt was at one of two NASCAR tracks where restrictor plates, which cut cars’ speed and acceleration — and maybe is what David Coulthard was talking about here, I guess — are in use, creating huge packs of cars that can’t pull away from each other. This often leads to crashes and lead changes aplenty. Last night was a case in point: a record 18 leader, 47 lead change and a 20-car pileup, according to Fox. Maybe Todt will get some ideas.)

It sounds like Todt also was able to attend the drivers meeting.

He also had this to say about the proposed 2012 U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas: “At the moment, it’s just a project. I don’t think something will happen next year.”

What the….? What is that supposed to mean? Of course it isn’t going to happen “next year,” it isn’t supposed to. But did he mean he doesn’t think it will happen in its first year?

This is the kind of messed-up communications and messaging about the race I’ve been complaining about.

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