NASCAR, Sprint Cup teams meet on charters; sides ‘close’ to deal

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CHARLOTTE – NASCAR officials and Sprint Cup car owners have been meeting this week, moving closer to resolution on a new charter system intended to guarantee financial stability and security to teams. 

A source who was present for a meeting Friday told NASCAR Talk that no deal had been signed, but that the sides were “close.” The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the talks.

Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal tweeted that the system was likely to be unveiled in two weeks, which would point to an announcement during Speedweeks. NASCAR teams will arrive Feb. 11 at the Daytona International Speedway garage in preparation for the Feb. 21 season-opening Daytona 500. Stern also tweeted the charter system deal would be for five years with a four-year option.

Asked for comment, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said in a release: “NASCAR and NASCAR Sprint Cup team owners have continued to make progress in our discussions. There still is work to be done, but we remain very optimistic that we’ll have agreements completed prior to the start of the 2016 season.”

Rob Kauffman, chairman of the Race Team Alliance consortium that has been brokering the deal on behalf of the owners, also tweeted he felt positive about negotiations.

Speaking Jan. 19 during the preseason Media Tour in Charlotte, NASCAR Chairman Brian France said he was “very optimistic that we’re going to get that new ownership structure completed.

“We wouldn’t do anything that we didn’t think in the long run would make racing better, would field more opportunities, create an environment for more owners, more capital in this very expensive sport, to have a better experience in fielding the race teams week in and week out,” France said. “And I’m very optimistic that shortly we’ll be able to share those details of what that looks like.”

France declined to put a timeframe on the deal or offer any further details.

“I’m not going to get into specifics of the plan because we don’t have it finished yet, and it’s still moving around a little bit,” France said. “The timeline is sooner rather than later. … This is a very complicated plan and structure that will require some time to phase in many aspects of it.”