NASCAR Reallocates Winnings In Effort To Discourage Start and ParkBy Christopher Kimball
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.