Don't worry about the direction of NASCAR under the leadership of Brian France. Let me put it to you in a way I think most of you will understand. NASCAR is our country store. It is our lifeline to the outside world. It always has been, and I hope it always will be.

We fuss and cuss sometimes about the way NASCAR does things. You fans out there get vocal at times when the sanctioning body rules against something you like or your favorite driver. I remember when word came down that Big Bill France was turning everything over to Billy. "Why, he can't run NASCAR," people were saying. "Without Big Bill, that's the end of the sport as we know it."

I also remember going straight to my daddy and telling him that Billy would be the new leader. Daddy shook his head. "You will not know the difference," he said. "The organization is up and running, and the boy will do fine. I'm just glad Big Bill is stepping down. Maybe he can spend the rest of his life enjoying himself and the things he has accomplished."

I feel the same way about Brian and Billy. I wish Billy the best, and I have confidence that Brian will keep the ship running. We have the best organization in racing. None of the other sanctioning bodies can touch NASCAR. Through the years, our group has overcome the odds and emerged as the leader in all of auto-mobile racing.

The future looks good for our sport, as long as we can hold it all together under one leadership. The France family has done an excellent job, and there is little reason to believe things will change. What we don't need is a Big Bang that leaves parts of the sport scattered all around the country. We really don't need the racetracks separated from the sanctioning body. It all works well the way it is run today.

At the country store, everybody is better off whittling wood under one roof. We don't need folks scattered around under different sheds. Should something ever happen that breaks up NASCAR and part of it goes to a public company or something like that, we'd be just another CART or some other sanctioning body.

Right now, whether or not we like our management, we do have a management that is so engrossed in the total system that it carries itself along. We don't need unqualified and unknowledgeable people trying to run the show. NASCAR is our lifeline, and we need to protect it.

Let me say, however, that I have been there. I have complained and fussed about this and that. But now I realize what a good organization we really have. I get upset at times when a driver is on TV and criticizes the sanctioning body. It really burns me up to hear one of these first- or second-year drivers talking about going to another circuit to race because he's mad at NASCAR.

Go ahead, buddy, please. Take your wonderful talents and go find fame and fortune. Don't ever come back to NASCAR, either. You are bigger and better and know so much more than the people running our sanctioning body that I am certain you will enjoy success. We have a couple of drivers who have been in Winston Cup only a couple of years, and to hear them tell it, they know everything there is to know. We also have a couple of whiners who have been around several years. They have made more money than they ever knew was in the world, but they still love to complain. They try to come across on TV with philosophical answers to why things should be this way or that. I wonder if they ever listen to themselves.

It reminds me of a story I once heard. This kid was 18 or 19 and going off to college. He thought his father, who had scraped and saved to send his son to school, was about the dumbest person alive. He made fun of his father a lot, sometimes to his face. The boy went off to school for four years and returned home. His father asked him what he learned. "It's not what I learned, Dad," he said. "It's just that I am amazed at how smart you have become while I was gone."

We don't want to take four years of doing something else to discover how well NASCAR is run. Believe me, the country store is OK. Let's help keep it that way.