Report: NASCAR contemplating ‘charter’ system with 40-car field

21 Comments

A proposal by NASCAR to Sprint Cup team owners, if approved, could result in the reduction of the race field from 43 to 40 cars with 36 teams guaranteed a spot because of a “charter,” according to a report by ESPN.com’s Bob Pockrass.

The proposal is part of discussions that began in June and involved a meeting between NASCAR and owners on Sept. 29. The goal is having a plan in place for 2016.

The charters, NASCAR’s term for what commonly is known as a “franchise” in professional sports, would be eligible to teams that have been competing in the Sprint Cup Series full time since 2013, according to the report. It potentially could impact Stewart-Haas Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, which added fourth teams in 2014 (for) Kevin Harvick) and 2015 (Carl Edwards), respectively.

The proposed charters could be sold by a team owner looking to leave the sport or reduce the number of cars they own.

A Tuesday morning post on ESPN.com says two of these charters, owned by Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner and Race Team Alliance chairman Rob Kauffman, would be up for sale with MWR closing at the end of the 2015 season.

The cost of charters would be determined by how much a potential buyer bids for them.

The guaranteed spot in a 40-car field also would be accompanied by guaranteed money, taken from NASCAR’s TV contracts, according to the report. Teams currently receive 25 percent of the TV money through race purse winnings based on where they finish in a race. The report says an issue in the proposal would be “whether a team with a charter earns a certain amount of guaranteed money throughout the season, regardless of finishing position.”