NASCAR Reallocates Winnings In Effort To Discourage Start and Park

By Christopher Kimball On Tue, Feb. 05, 2013

Photo Credit: David Yeazell

Photo Credit: David Yeazell

Just weeks after SMI chairman Bruton Smith called start and park teams a “disgrace to the sport”, NASCAR president Mike Helton has released news of a change in the way that purses would be paid out to competitors in positions 39 through 43 of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

In a statement on Tuesday, Helton said, “We moved prize money higher in the purse, so if someone’s intent is solely to run a lap or two and park, the revenue stream shrinks.” The reduction is an incremental $4,000.00 reduction, per position, from 39th to 43rd. The total purse per race is not reduced. Instead, the additional money shifts to higher ranking finishers, paying winners and those higher in the finishing order a little more. Basically, it works like this: 39th place is reduced by $4,000, 40th is $4,000 less than 39th, 41st is $4,000 less than 40th, and so on until you get to 43rd.

The immediate question is whether this will do anything to discourage small teams from starting and parking in an effort to get a payday. When some races pay upwards of $70,000.00 just to start, small teams can often use these mini “paydays” as a way to fund the next race and keep their hopes alive. There has been a lot of discussion about this over the last few weeks and the reality of the situation is that some of the small teams who have little to no sponsorship would not continue in the sport without the ability to do this.

Whether you believe it is, as Mr. Smith says, “…a disgrace to the sport,” or feel that it is okay if not abused, don’t expect to see start and park teams to disappear from the sport anytime soon. NASCAR has been very clear that they do not intend to change the rules to eliminate the practice any time in the near future.

Christopher Kimball (11 Posts)

An avid sports and breaking news photojournalist, Christopher Kimball has been chasing news and action all over the south eastern US since 2006. Chris has been behind the camera for over 25 years. His images and written work has been featured in several newspapers, magazines and online news outlets and is distributed through a major wire service based in the U.K.


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  1. jj says:

    Nice going NA$CAR, squash the little guy. You are doing nothing to promote new teams. You still favor the big guys, who kiss your a–, and wouldn’t dare hurt them.

    Just don’t dip into your individual billions to make this a better sport.

  2. Russ Edwards says:

    Like so much today its perception not reality. One of Nascar’s problems which isn’t often talked about is the dearth of new teams. So they are going to take money away from teams that are struggling and give it the mega teams who don’t need it. A curious approach unless the goal is, as I was told, to end up with 10 teams 4 cars each. Or to drive up the resale value of the existing teams.

  3. Sue Rarick says:

    With a drop of between 4,000 and 20,000 dollars per race there are definitely going to be races where there are less than 43 cars making up the race field. Add to that the added cost of building a new car with the regulation body parts.

    The rich get richer.

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