NASCAR ends tradition of providing race winnings

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ending a practice of more than six decades, NASCAR has stopped disclosing winnings in Sprint Cup box scores because of its new charter system, whose financial details are emerging.

NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar told NBC Sports the decision was made to stop disseminating total purse and individual winnings for each race because “it’s not contemporary” under the new system announced Tuesday that guarantees revenue and race attendance for 36 teams with  charters. Another four “open” cars – which don’t have charters that guarantee making the race – could round out each field for a maximum of 40 cars.

“It’s a new foundation and a new era,” Dewar said. “We’ve changed a lot of things from that old model to this model. That’s one of the things that was from a different time and place.”

The move, which began with Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited, essentially ends career winnings as a calculable and comparable statistic. For example, Jeff Gordon was listed as winning a record $153,703,667 over 20 seasons in the No. 24 Chevrolet. His replacement, Chase Elliott, won’t have a publicly released career winnings total for his starts in the No. 24 Chevrolet.

NASCAR has supplied race winnings virtually since its 1948 inception (Jim Roper is credited with earning $2,000 for winning the inaugural Strictly Stock race at Charlotte Speedway) and also listed each race’s total purse on entry blanks and box scores.

The 2016 Daytona 500 entry blank didn’t contain a total purse or a breakdown of payouts by position. Those standard elements remain on the entry blanks for the truck and Xfinity series – both of which still have a race purse that includes money based on myriad contingency plans and finishing order.

Under the new system, NASCAR has set aside guaranteed revenues for chartered teams based on entering each race and on their performance over the past three seasons. They also will compete for a points fund with more cash.

The fourth and final source of income for chartered teams is what traditionally has been called “the purse,” but in this case, it’s dependent solely on finishing position — carved out from the previous contingency plans that rewarded the most competitive teams.

The chartered and open teams compete for the same pool of money in what is known as the “variable” purse that is based on results (in addition to the “fixed” purse that offers guaranteed money in much larger amounts for the charter teams).

Dewar said it didn’t make sense to provide winnings that are listed according to drivers, which was misleading because the money actually was awarded to teams. Dewar contrasted it to a PGA event, where the listed winnings actually go directly to the golfer.

“Whether you divide it and say it’s a little bit of this, little bit of that and publish it on Monday, we don’t think it’s value-added because it’s not like golf,” he said. “Golf publishes that. We don’t publish at the end of the NBA score that LeBron made $4 million for free throws. It’s not contemporary. Our fans get change.”

IndyCar takes a similar approach, publishing none of its winnings for races aside from the Indianapolis 500.

NASCAR outlined much of the framework for charter teams Tuesday during a ballyhooed news conference, but there wasn’t as much information provided about the open teams. A fan outcry erupted on social media when a charter wasn’t assigned to Wood Brothers Racing, which has competed in NASCAR since 1950, prompting many questions about the deal.

Dewar provided some details about how the system would work for the four slots available to teams without charters:

–Open teams also will receive a guaranteed amount (referred to as a “fixed purse) as the charter teams do, but it will be much smaller. Dewar said it was roughly 30 percent of the guarantee for a chartered team.

–If fewer than four open teams compete in a race (meaning a field of fewer than 40 cars), the leftover money will be placed in a year-end pool that will be distributed among the top three open teams based on performance. Wood Brothers Racing, which plans to field Ryan Blaney full time in the No. 21 Ford, is the only open team that has announced intentions to run the full season.

“A field for us is 36 (cars), not 40,” Dewar said. “So if we get 38 cars at California and Phoenix, we’re not disappointed.

“We anticipate the logistics model for some of the smaller teams doesn’t make sense to go to all the races, based on the distance and purse.”

–Dewar said NASCAR isn’t expecting many open teams to employ a start and park strategy (which usually was dependent on the higher purses available to teams that would have been considered open under the previous system). Chartered teams are disincentivized from the controversial practice, risking the loss of a charter if they don’t meet performance standards that haven’t been made public.

Dewar said the Daytona 500 would remain the highest-paying race of the season and said the amount of money provided to teams would increase each year over the nine years of the term.

Though the winnings won’t be disseminated to the public anymore, teams have been provided extensive documentation that explains how much they’ll receive for finishing in each position of every race.

NBC Sports has learned that some “open teams” are expecting to earn a minimum of roughly $160,000 for finishing last in the Daytona 500. Last year, under the race purse that included contingency plans, the last-place finisher earned $262,000.

Helio Castroneves rules out Daytona 500

Helio Castroneves Daytona 500
Robert Scheer/Indy Star/USA TODAY NETWORK
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Helio Castroneves might be at the 2023 Daytona 500, but the four-time Indy 500 winner won’t be in a race car.

During a news conference Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, Castroneves confirmed in response to a question from NBC Sports that he essentially has ruled out attempting to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Feb. 19 season opener.

As recently as last Thursday at Rolex 24 Media Day, Castroneves, 47, said he still was working on trying to piece together a deal.

The Brazilian had been negotiating with the Cup team co-owned by boxer Floyd Mayweather and would have been in an “open” entry that lacked guaranteed entry to the Great American Race. That potentially would leave him in the precarious position of needing to make the race on qualifying speed or a qualifying race finish (as action sports star Travis Pastrana likely might need in his Cup debut).

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“Unfortunately for me, lack of experience, no testing,” Castroneves said. “A lot of things. I believe it would be a little bit tough throwing myself in such a short notice, and to go in a place that you’ve got to race yourself into it. So as of right now, yes, it’s not going to happen.

“But we did have an opportunity. We just got to elaborate a little bit more to give me a little more experience on that. So there is more things to come ahead of us, but as of right now, I want to focus on the IndyCar program as well and (the Rolex 24 at Daytona).”

Castroneves, who has a residence in Key Biscayne, said he still might attend the Daytona 500

“I might just come and see and watch it and continue to take a look and see what’s going to be in the future,” he said.

Castroneves enters Saturday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona having won the event the past two years. He made his signature fence-climb after winning last year with Meyer Shank Racing, which he will be driving for full time in the NTT IndyCar Series this year. He became the fourth four-time Indy 500 winner in history in his 2021 debut with Meyer Shank Racing.

The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champion also has indicated an interest in Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 car that aims to place international drivers in a Cup ride (such as Kimi Raikkonen at Watkins Glen International last year). Team co-owner Justin Marks recently tweeted Trackhouse wouldn’t field the Project 91 car at the Daytona 500.

After winning the 2022 Superstar Racing Experience opener, SRX CEO Don Hawk had promised he would help secure a Daytona 500 ride for Castroneves.

Castroneves has been angling for a NASCAR ride for years, dating to when he drove for Team Penske from 2000-20. After winning the Rolex 24 last year, he said he had been lobbying Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart for help with getting in a Cup car.

Though Castroneves is out, Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern reported that Mayweather’s The Money Team Racing still is considering IndyCar driver Conor Daly for its seat.

Fire at Reaume Brothers Racing shop injures three

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A Thursday fire at the Reaume Brothers Racing shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, injured three individuals, according to Mooresville (North Carolina) Fire-Rescue.

Firefighters were dispatched to the shop, which is scheduled to field entries for driver Mason Massey in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season, at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

The fire department extinguished the blaze quickly. The department stated on its Facebook page that one individual was transported to Lake Norman Regional hospital for smoke inhalation, and another was transported to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. with burn injuries. A third was treated and released.

The team stated Thursday night on social media that Taylor Collier and Devin Fokin had been treated and released. The team stated that Taylor was treated for smoke inhalation and Fokin was treated “for serious burns.”

The Mooresville Fire Marshall’s office is investigating the cause of the fire. The fire department said the shop sustained “significant fire damage.”

In a tweet, the team said it is determining the extent of damage to the building. “More importantly,” it said, “a few of our team members did sustain injuries during the fire and are being transported for medical treatment.”

 

Trackhouse, RFK Racing, Front Row Motorsports sign sponsorship deals

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Trackhouse Racing, RFK Racing and Front Row Motorsports announced sponsorship deals Thursday morning.

Trackhouse said WWEX, a Dallas-based global logistics group, will increase its sponsorship presence with the team this year, serving as the primary sponsor in 21 races for drivers Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez.

WWEX will appear on Chastain’s Chevrolets in 19 races and will sponsor Suarez twice. The organization was a Trackhouse sponsor in 11 events in 2022, which was a breakout season for both Chastain and Suarez.

RFK announced that Solomon Plumbing, which joined the team last season, will expand its presence this season and in future years. The Michigan-based company will serve as the primary sponsor for several races on driver Brad Keselowski‘s No. 6 Ford.

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Solomon specializes in plumbing and fire services for new development and construction. It initially sponsored Keselowski last season in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Front Row Motorsports has signed Quincy Compressor, a Bay Minette, Ala.-based compressor manufacturer, as a sponsor for four races.

Quincy will sponsor Todd Gilliland‘s No. 38 team in three events and Michael McDowell‘s No. 34 team in one race.

 

 

Stewart-Haas Racing signs Chase Briscoe to contract extension

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Chase Briscoe has signed a multiyear contract extension to remain at Stewart-Haas Racing, the team announced Thursday.

The length of the deal was not announced.

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Briscoe is entering his third Cup season with the team. He won his first series race last year, taking the checkered flag at Phoenix last March. That victory put him in the playoffs. He finished the season ninth in the standings. 

“It’s huge to have stability, with my team and my partner,” Briscoe said in a statement from the team. “It just gives you more confidence. Stewart-Haas Racing is where I want to be for a long time. It’s the place I’ve known longer than anywhere else in my NASCAR career.

“I remember getting signed by Ford in 2017 and I told people, ‘You know, if I could pick one place to be, it would be Stewart- Haas Racing. And if I could drive one car, it would be the 14 car. That would be the ultimate dream.’ And now, here I am.

“SHR has such a great group of people, from the Xfinity Series to the Cup Series, and they’ve all just guided me in the right direction. From drivers to crew chiefs to crew members, they’ve always had my back, and that’s been a huge help – just having people believe in you.”

The 28-year-old Briscoe has been with SHR since 2018. He split a limited Xfinity schedule that season between what is now RFK Racing and SHR. He ran full time with SHR in the Xfinity Series in 2019 and ’20 before moving to Cup in 2021.

“Chase has made the most of every opportunity and the proof is in the results. Keeping him at SHR was a priority and we’re proud to have him in our racecars for many more years to come,” said Tony Stewart, who co-owns SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas, in a statement from the team. 

Briscoe’s signing comes two weeks after teammate Kevin Harvick announced that this will be his final season in Cup. 

The Cup season begins Feb. 5 with the Busch Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before going to Daytona for the Feb. 19 Daytona 500.