POWER PLAYERS for the week of March 15: This week's 10 most influential people in the Business and Politics of Motorsports, as selected by long-time journalist/publicist and industry insider Michael Knight.
1. Bernie Ecclestone -- The most powerful, influential -- and one of the riche$t -- figures in worldwide motorsports sees his Formula One season begin with more Mercedes domination, Ferrari improvement, Honda disappointment, and the financial struggles of several teams amid debate for (yet again) new car rules, cost controls and more entertainment value. His next move will be . . . ?
2. Kevin Harvick: -- Defending Sprint Cup champion is driving the series' on-track agenda, now with four consecutive Phoenix International Raceway wins and seven straight 1-2 finishes.
3. Brian France -- Green-lights decision to reinstate Kurt Busch and declares Busch Chase eligible. The bottom line is NASCAR is a family business and, ultimately, one man has the final say.
4. Gene Haas -- Gets Kurt Busch back into his No. 41. And announces European base and key hires (team manager, designer, aerodynamicist) for first U.S.-led Formula One team in 30 years. (I was part of PR for the last one, the Beatrice-sponsored Team Haas USA.)
5. Joie Chitwood -- Daytona International Speedway president outlines specific safety improvement plans for July NASCAR event and confirms full SAFER installation for 2016 Speed Weeks.
6. Beaux Barfield -- Sebring is one of the most difficult races anywhere in motorsports to officiate. Barfield's back in IMSA race control after a few years in IndyCar.
7. Dave Allen -- New Auto Club Speedway president gets his first Big Test in charge of this weekend's NASCAR events. And ticket sales will be . . . ?
8. Davey Hamilton -- Indy 500 veteran driver joins USAC as racing executive director; says he seeks to increase series/event sanctioning and business opportunities.
9. Claire B. Lang -- Everyone in the garage area talks with SiriusXM NASCAR channel 90's VERY hard-working reporter. Then she talks to fans post-race -- and that's not always an easy thing to do.
10. Rick Benjamin -- Hosts CBS Sports Network's Trans-Am series coverage starting Tuesday, 8 p.m. EDT. Amy Ruman won the Sebring opener in a record-setting field of 69 cars.
Links to all of my NASCAR-in-Phoenix Arizona Republic stories are on Twitter: @SpinDoctor500 .
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