The Nascar Charter Crisis Explained

Lately you may have heard about the slow-moving and often contentious negotiations between Nascar and its team owners about renewing its charters.  Or you may actually have a life.  Well, for those of you with a fulfilling existence outside of racing, here’s a quick breakdown of the…well, breakdown.

Q: What are charters anyways?

A: Charters are guaranteed spots in the field for 36 different entries currently controlled by 14 different owners.  OK, OK—15, I’ll count JGR and 23XI separately.

Q: Why don’t they just call them “franchises”?

A: Fear of Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr. climbing out of their graves to stalk the earth.

Q: What’s the biggest issue?

A: Nascar wants to keep them to a limited time period (concurrent with their tv rights deals) while team owners want to have them in perpetuity (concurrent with Kevin Harvick’s level of patience with Clint Bowyer).

Q: What’s the other big issue?

A: Teams want a bigger “slice of the pie” when it comes to media rights.  Currently Nascar “double-dips” with payouts to itself and ISC, tracks owned by the France family.  And we all know that Nascar drivers would NEVER double-dip on anything—isn’t that right, Kyle Busch?

Q: What’s the oddest thing to come out of the negotiations?

A: The France family wants to retain the right to purchase charters, because I guess they want a repeat of Vision Racing from IndyCar.

Q: Is this a case of Nascar showing a reluctance to adapt to the way much more successful series like Formula 1 operate, or just team owners seeking ways to gain even more control despite most of them showing they probably should be kept far away from the rule book?

A: Yes.

Q: Is there any chance of the team owners starting a CART-like breakaway series?

A: Not really, although teams could conceivably leave the sport entirely—but what would we do without Rick Ware Racing coming in 35th? updated four times weekly

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