Answers to questions about NASCAR charters

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Questions and answers about the new ownership model that NASCAR unveiled Tuesday.

What is a charter?

A team with a charter is guaranteed a spot in every Sprint Cup points race and a significant portion of annual revenue. Unlike the qualifying system used since NASCAR’s inception 67 years ago, there will be 36 cars guaranteed slots in every points race. Only four slots will be up for grabs each week, and those will be competing for a lesser share of the purse.

How many cars will be chartered and what is the size of the field?

There are 36 charters in a 40-car field (three fewer entries than previously).

Why is a charter valuable?

Because it will guarantee more money through a four-pronged determinant of revenue streams: increased share of the race purse (divvied among 40 cars instead of 43), historical performance (a better team is awarded more money), a fixed distribution for chartered teams and a higher distribution from the season-ending points fund. Essentially, instead of teams being rewarded based on performance-based purses, the balance will shift to teams being rewarded for full-time participation.

How much money are teams guaranteed?

There weren’t many numbers provided, but the money probably is in the range of at least the low seven figures annually.

Is there a minimum requirement for maintaining a charter?

Though NASCAR didn’t clarify, teams must “remain in good standing” to keep a charter, probably via a minimum average finish or accumulated points to eliminate the possibility of a team becoming a start and park.

What are the qualifications for receiving a charter?

All of the 36 chartered teams have been competing full time since the beginning of the 2013 season.

What teams would meet those qualifications?

Hendrick Motorsports (4): No. 5, No. 24, No. 48, No. 88.

Joe Gibbs Racing (3): No. 11, No. 18, No. 20.

Roush Fenway Racing (3): No. 6, No. 16, No. 17.

Richard Childress Racing (3): No. 3 (previously No. 29), No. 27, No. 31.

Stewart-Haas Racing (3): No. 4 (previously No. 39), No. 10, No. 14.

Team Penske (2): No. 2, No. 22.

Michael Waltrip Racing (2): No. 15, No. 55 (both teams defunct for 2016; charters likely to be transferred)

Chip Ganassi Racing (2): No. 1, No. 42.

Richard Petty Motorsports (2): No. 43, No. 44 (previously No. 9).

BK Racing (2): No. 23, No. 83

Front Row Motorsports (2): No. 34, No. 38

JTG Daugherty Racing (1): No. 47

Germain Racing (1): No. 13

Furniture Row Racing (1): No. 78

HScott Motorsports (1): No. 15 (previously now 51)

Tommy Baldwin Racing (1): No. 7

Premium Motorsports (1): No. 62 (previously No. 36)

Go Fas Racing (1): No. 32

Circle Sport Racing: (1): No. 95 (previously No. 33 but has merged with Leavine Family Racing)

Can teams transfer charters to one another or outside investors?

Yes. And some will change hands before the Daytona 500. Stewart-Haas Racing (No. 41 of Kurt Busch) and Joe Gibbs Racing (No. 19 of Carl Edwards) both need them, and HScott Motorsports apparently is leasing a charter for a second team (which is allowed in a one-year arrangement).

Who has charters to sell?

Race Team Alliance chairman Rob Kauffman is the owner of defunct Michael Waltrip Racing’s two charters, which likely will be transferred to SHR and JGR. There are a few other teams (Premium Motorsports, Go Fas Racing) that might consider deals.

Who needs a charter?

The No. 21 Ford of Wood Brothers Racing is planning to run full time but doesn’t have a charter because it has been part time for several years. Rookie Ryan Blaney probably won’t be worried about failing to qualify for races, though, because there aren’t expected to be many teams vying for the four non-chartered spots.

What is the length of the charter deal? 

Nine years (five, plus a four-year option). Concurrent with the years remaining on NASCAR’s contracts with Fox and NBC Sports.

What is the going price of a charter that is transferred?

That will be determined by the market, but Kauffman estimated the going rate initially would be in the “single-digit millions.” The value lies in the amount of guaranteed revenue over the course of nine years and an assured spot in every Sprint Cup race.

Will chartered teams have a bigger say in NASCAR decision-making?

Yes, though it’s somewhat nebulous precisely how much sway NASCAR will allow. Each of the 36 chartered teams will be on a “Team Owner Council that will have formal input into decisions.” Though teams say they still want NASCAR to run the show, they will be included on long-term strategic planning, such as rules changes and marketing.