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Drivers want schedule changes

– 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 over-saturation 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 run Wednesday night races in the fall to showcase the sport and move away from a clogged NFL weekend.

France had said there would be “robust discussion” about the schedule at Daytona International Speedway in a midseason state of the sport Q&A. 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.

1 race for Busch

Kurt Busch is slacking at Indy.

He’s only entered in one race, scheduled to drive just 400 miles, and has no reason for a dash to the helicopter to catch a ride to another track.

Busch returned to Indianapolis for the first time since he finished sixth in this year’s Indianapolis 500 and then left for the Coca-Cola 600 that evening.

Petty backs alliance

Richard Petty said the newly formed Race Team Alliance is necessary because NASCAR hasn’t done enough to help team owners slash costs.

Petty said his two-car organization joined the RTA to explore cost-cutting measures and likened the alliance’s ideas to a farmers’ cooperative.

“We are all independent contractors and we have no voice to the general public,” he said. “That’s my main objective. Can I save on insurance? Can I save on travel? … Stuff like that to keep from having to overpay what we are doing now.”