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.

NBC Sports Power Rankings: Kyle Busch ends the season No. 1

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The 2019 season is over and Kyle Busch is the NASCAR Cup champion. And not surprisingly, the younger Busch brother also ends the season as No. 1 in this week’s Power Rankings.

Busch received 39 of 40 possible points to take the No. 1 spot, followed by the other three Championship 4 contenders: Martin Truex Jr. (35 points), and Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick (tied for third place with 28 points each).

The biggest surprises in this week’s standings were Xfinity Series champ Tyler Reddick in fifth and Gander Outdoors Truck Series champ Matt Crafton in sixth.

Here’s this week’s Power Rankings:

1. Kyle Busch (39 points): Finally gets that second title. Last week: Second.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (35 points): Inexcusable pit mistake left him as the championship runner-up for the second year in a row. Last week: Fourth.

(tie) 3. Denny Hamlin (28 points): Came so close to his first championship, only to be fall short yet again. Could this be the closest he’ll get? Last week: First.

(tie) 3. Kevin Harvick (28 points): Needed a bit more help than he got going against the Joe Gibbs Racing juggernaut. Still, a very strong season regardless. Last week: Third.

5. Tyler Reddick (18 points): It’s hard enough to win one championship, but back-to-back championships with two different teams? Last week: Unranked.

6. Matt Crafton (14 points): Wins the championship without even winning a race (in fact, his last win was more than two years ago). Thrived on his underdog status. Last week: Unranked.

7. Ryan Blaney (12 points): Finished 11th or better, including a win at Talladega, in five of the last six playoff races. Last week: Fifth.

(tie) 8. Joey Logano (11 points): Ends year with four consecutive top 10s, but he fell short in making it to the championship round and defending last year’s title. Last week: Eighth.

(tie) 8. Erik Jones (11 points): Ends season with four top 10s in last five races. That bodes well for next season. Last week: Seventh.

10. Christopher Bell (6 points): Missed his chance to add an Xfinity title to his Truck championship. Still, with eight wins, had an outstanding season. Up next: a promotion to the Cup Series. Last week: 10th.

Others receiving votes: Kyle Larson (5 points), Clint Bowyer (5 points), Cole Custer (4 points), Austin Hill (2 points), Brad Keselowski (1 point), Brett Moffitt (1 point).

Zane Smith joins GMS Racing for full-time Truck Series ride

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Zane Smith will compete full-time for GMS Racing in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series next year, the team announced Tuesday.

Smith, 20, joins the team after competing part-time with JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series this year, where his best result in 10 races was fifth twice.

He will be GMS Racing’s fourth full-time entry next year, joining Brett Moffitt, Sheldon Creed and Tyler Ankrum. Sam Mayer will compete part-time.

Smith will have veteran Kevin “Bono” Manion as his crew chief.

“When I got the offer from Mike Beam asking me to run a truck full-time for GMS Racing, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” Smith said in a press release. “GMS is a championship-caliber team and to be a part of an organization like theirs is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m looking forward to working with Manion again. He has a lot of experience and I know we will be a great team.”

Manion, who has 24 wins across all three national NASCAR series since 2003, joins GMS Racing after serving as a crew chief for DGR-Crosley in 2019, including working with Rookie of the Year Tyler Ankrum. Manion was crew chief for Smith in 2018 when he made his Truck Series debut at Gateway and finished fifth.

“I am really excited to join GMS Racing and Zane (Smith) for the 2020 season,” Manion said in a press release. “With GMS Racing’s championship caliber equipment and Chevrolet support, we have all the resources to win some races and be in the hunt for the 2020 Championship. I got the opportunity to crew chief Zane (Smith) in his first Gander Trucks start in 2018 at Gateway and we worked really well together. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish next season.”

Sponsorship and an assigned truck number for Smith will be announced at a later date.

Penalty report from Homestead-Miami Speedway

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NASCAR issued four fines and one suspension for lug nut violations during its championship weekend in Miami.

Cup Series

Mike Wheeler, crew crew chief on Matt DiBenedetto‘s No. 95 Toyota, was fined $10,000 for one unsecured lug nut.

Xfinity Series

Mike Shiplett, crew chief on Cole Custer‘s No. 00 Ford, was fined $5,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

Truck Series

Steve Lane, the owner of On Point Motorsports and crew chief on Danny Bohn‘s No. 30 Toyota, was fined $5,000 and suspended one points race for two unsecured lug nuts. The No. 30 truck competed part-time this season and made 16 starts. The team told NBC Sports it will not appeal the penalty.

Trip Bruce III, crew chief on Stewart Friesen‘s No. 52 Chevrolet, was fined $2,500 for one unsecured lug nut.

Other

NASCAR issued an indefinite suspension to Jeffrey Schmidt for violating its substance abuse policy.

Truck Series gets minor name change for 2020

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Four days after the end of the Gander Outdoors Truck Series season, NASCAR announced the series will receive a minor name change for the 2020 season.

The series will be called the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series when the season starts in February at Daytona International Speedway.

This is the second name change for the series in two years.

This season saw the name change from the Camping World Truck Series, which had been the title from 2009-2018.

Gander Outdoors and Camping World are owned by the same company.

Next year will also see a different name for the Cup Series. With the series going to a new sponsorship model, it will simply be called the NASCAR Cup Series.