Charter System Coming to the Sprint Cup Series

by Tucker White On Tue, Feb. 09, 2016

Photo: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There will be a new ownership model in the Sprint Cup Series.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will now have a “franchise” system that goes into effect this weekend. It’s a change from the independent contractor model that had been in place since the sport’s inception. The charter system guarantees a starting spot for 36 teams and the field will be reduced to 40-cars as a result. The teams that received a charter are those that have been racing full-time since 2013. This means that teams like the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet didn’t receive a charter.

The four remaining spots will be open to teams who don’t currently own a charter. If a perspective owner wishes to get a charter, they must purchase an existing one from another owner. NASCAR must approve the sale. They’ll charge an administrative fee but won’t get a cut of the transfers of ownership. Each owner is limited to four charters each and set the sales price for their respective charter. When asked, Rob Kauffman said that each charter is “single-digit millions.”

The charters can be sold once every five years and it must be for the full season. They run the duration of the current television contract with an option to extend every four years.

“The new team owner agreements will offer a more appealing environment for both current and prospective team owners at the NASCAR premier series level,” France said. “I’ve always stressed that if we can do things to improve the business of our stakeholders, we will pursue it. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished today with this agreement.”

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice-president and chief racing development officer said that the point allocation would remain the same. This means that the 40th-place car will receive four points at a minimum. He also said that how this would affect the qualifying process, especially for the Daytona 500, will be announced on Thursday.

O’Donnell was also asked about a possible relegation type system down the road where the lowest ranked charter team would lose their charter to the highest non-charter team. He said that NASCAR “is not in the business of taking charters away.”


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