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The White Zone: I’d like to see a relegation system with the charters

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“The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading…” and I need to unload my thoughts on the idea of a relegation-esque system for the charters.

While I was sitting in the media workroom yesterday at the Charlotte Convention Center in the Queen City, I came across a tweet that peaked my interest from @RaceTalkRadio. They tweeted “New Charter system SHOULD have performance clause with some meat in it, lowest ranked team loses spot + highest non-charter gets it.”

I tweeted him back saying I could get behind that idea. I liked it so much that I asked NASCAR Executive Vice-President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell about it during the news conference. I asked if there was “a chance in the future where we could see a system where the lowest charter team in the points could lose that charter to the highest non-charter team in the points, i.e., a type of relegation system you would see in European soccer leagues.” He said that NASCAR “did study a lot of different sports, including the [Barclay’s Premier League].

“He said that NASCAR “did study a lot of different sports, including the Barclay’s Premier League. For us the best model is where we landed.” O’Donnell also added that the sanctioning body’s goal “is to have sustainable charters. We’re comfortable with the number that we have and believe that the number 36 in terms of charters, we don’t want to be in the business of taking any away, we want to see them go out and compete; one through 36 have the opportunity to go win a championship.”

For those of you not familiar with the concept of relegation, here’s a crash course. In England, there are 23 levels of professional soccer. The Premier League is the top of the chain. At the end of every season, the lowest ranked team in the league gets relegated to the Football League Championship and the champion FLC team gets promoted to the Premier League. The only real difference between the two leagues is the distribution of television revenue.

Basically, what I’d like to see NASCAR do down the road is use a system where the lowest ranked charter team loses said charter and it goes to the highest ranked non-charter team. This would provide extra incentive for the non-charter teams to put their all into the season and give perspective new owners just starting up a chance to “live the good life” should they be the highest non-charter team in points.

I know this would cause some ire with the charter holders because there’s no guarantee that they’d get any of their money that they paid for said charter back, but I believe that if NASCAR would compensate the team that finds themselves on the short end of the stick with relegation, this is a system that could work and make for interesting storylines with us in the media.

My plane is about to take off so I must wrap this up. Until next time, I’ll leave you with this fact. More people speak English in China than the United States.

The opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the author and may or may not represent the views of Speedway Media.

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Tucker White
My name is Tucker White. I'm currently majoring in journalism at the University of Tennessee. I started getting into NASCAR around 1998 and started following the sport full-time in 2001. I live and breathe everything related to NASCAR. I also have a burning passion for all things auto racing. I've been following Formula 1 since 2011 and am slowing getting into IndyCar. I do my best to keep up with the World Endurance Championship. But at the end of the day, NASCAR is my primary beat. Being both a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and a student at UT, I'm naturally a die-hard Tennessee Volunteers fan. Especially when it comes to Tennessee Volunteers football. While I'll never stop being one, it can be the most heart-wrenching thing ever. Since 2005, this team has delivered more than its fair share of heartbreaking moments and inhuman frustration. I've stuck with the Vols from the best of times - 1998 National Champions - to the worst of times - 2005 to present - because I know that it'll make it all so worth it when the mighty Vols finally return to the top of the college football landscape. In the last few years, I started to really get into baseball. This past season, I decided to pledge my sporting allegiance to the Atlanta Braves. It didn't turn out too well as they finished 67-95 and finished fourth in the NL East. I do see great potential with the young roster and they might be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

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