NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Thursday that he hopes the Wood Brothers eventually get a charter, which would guarantee the team a starting spot in every Sprint Cup points race.
Without a charter, driver Ryan Blaney will be forced to qualify for one of four spots designated each race for non-chartered teams.
“My hope is that they’ll be able to obtain a charter at some point down the road,” France told “Tradin’ Paint” co-hosts Jim Noble and Chocolate Myers. “The criteria that was ultimately used obviously didn’t permit that, and that is disappointing because they are such an iconic part of NASCAR.
“Look, they’re going to compete at a high level all year long. That is the nice part of this new arrangement. Some of the things that are very important to NASCAR in our history is if you’ve got the ability to show up with a team that can compete and do well, you can still do that with the open positions. In the end, my hope is they’ll be able to get a charter and we’ll have to see how that plays out.”
NASCAR and teams agreed to issue charters to teams that had competed full-time since 2013. Since that season there have been an average of 36 teams that have competed in every Sprint Cup race. Thirty-six charters were issued.
The Wood Brothers, who first competed in NASCAR in 1953 and have had nine NASCAR Hall of Fame members drive for them, were not eligible for a charter. They last attempted to run a full schedule in 2008. They will run a full schedule this year after securing additional sponsorship.
Another option for the Wood Brothers would have been securing a charter from another team.
Michael Waltrip Racing’s two charters will go to Joe Gibbs Racing (No. 19 of Carl Edwards) and Stewart-Haas Racing (No. 41 of Kurt Busch). Premium Motorsports will lease its charter this season to HScott Motorsports (No. 46 of Michael Annett). No other teams appear willing to sell or lease their charters, leaving the Wood Brothers without one for this season.
Blaney isn’t focused on what the Woods didn’t get, though.