From their struggle to receive information about the Next Gen car during its development to not being sought for advice on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s reconfiguration, the NASCAR Cup Series drivers are frustrated by the lack of communication with the sport’s decision-makers and have decided to take action.
The full-time Cup drivers have united to form the Drivers Advisory Council. The organization aims to improve safety in motorsports further, grow and enhance the sport, and maximize the opportunities for drivers to achieve success both on and off the track. Certain part-time drivers will also be eligible to sit alongside the full-timers on the council.
The Drivers Advisory Council is led by former driver and current NBC Sports commentator Jeff Burton as director. The council’s board consists of six drivers evenly spread across the Cup Series standings as well as one other former driver. The council’s initial members are Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Corey LaJoie, Joey Logano and Daniel Suarez with Kyle Petty as the other former driver.
In the release announcing the council’s formation, driver and team owner Denny Hamlin stated, “The new council will deliver a unified, collective voice from the drivers to help address any challenges we face and help accomplish the common goals the industry share.”
Unlike the competitors’ unions in the four major North American sports leagues, the Drivers Advisory Council isn’t a union and won’t be collectively bargaining with either NASCAR or the team owners. This would make the drivers council similar to the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association in Formula One.
The organization should allow the drivers to have a more significant role in shaping the sport as NASCAR enters a new era of competition. The Drivers Advisory Council will hopefully last longer than the council of the last decade, and let’s not even get into the NASCAR-crushed Professional Drivers Association of the 1960s.