Report: Lower-tier charters sell for $2-3 million; Front Row withdrew from Race Team Alliance

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Charters belonging to smaller NASCAR Cup teams have, on average, been sold or leased for between $2-3 million, according to a report by the Sports Business Journal.

The charter system was introduced before the 2016 season and guarantees the team that owns one a starting spot in a Cup race.

There are 36 charters. With fields reaching a maximum of 40 cars in races, the cars without charters are considered “open” teams.

Eight charters were sold or leased during the last offseason. Among them SBJ reports, Tommy Baldwin Racing sold its charter to Leavine Family Racing for $3.5 million. BK Racing also sold one of its charters to Front Row Motorsports for about $2 million.

With three charters, FRM turned around and leased one to TriStar Motorsports for this season. It will revert back to FRM before the 2018 season, allowing it the opportunity to field a third car.

“Probably halfway through this year we’ll have to get serious on a direction,” team general manager Jerry Freeze told Racer.com last week.  “But right now we’re just really more focused on trying to get these two cars as competitive as we can.”

An anonymous NASCAR official told SBJ that the cost of a charter for larger teams could reach as high as $8 million more than what a team like Front Row Motorsports would get for on its charters.

This price increase is based on the historical performance of those more successful teams. The charter transactions this offseason also included larger deals involving equipment or debt assumption according to the report. But charters themselves don’t include “hard assets” of  “real estate, intellectual property, technology and equipment.”

SBJ also reports that Front Row quietly exited the Racing Team Alliance in the offseason and that its place was taken by Leavine Family Racing, which owns the No. 95 of Michael McDowell.

Freeze told SBJ it had “internal reasons” for leaving the group, which still includes 14 race teams with the addition of Leavine Family Racing. Wood Brothers Racing and Furniture Row Racing are also not part of the group.

Founded in 2014 in an effort by teams to help lower costs and unify the team’s voices, sources told SBJ teams pay a five-figure annual fee to be part of the RTA.

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NASCAR Open starting lineup at Bristol

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Michael McDowell will start on the pole for the NASCAR Open at Bristol Motor Speedway after a random draw. Aric Almirola joins him on the front row.

Click here for NASCAR Open starting lineup

The winners of each segment advance to the All-Star Race, along with the fan vote winner. Last year, Kyle Larson won a segment in the Open to advance to the All-Star Race and then won that event. Other segment winners last year were William Byron and Bubba Wallace. Alex Bowman advanced through the fan vote a year ago. Bowman has already qualified for this year’s All-Star Race.

 

NASCAR Open at Bristol 

Race Time: 7 p.m. ET Wednesday

Track: Bristol Motor Speedway; Bristol, Tennessee (0.533-mile speedway)

Length: 85 laps over three segments, 45.3 miles

Segments: Segment 1 is 35 laps. Segment 2 is 35 laps. Segment 3 is 15 laps.

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Performance Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); goprn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Xfinity race: Saturday at Texas (200 laps, 300 miles), 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Next Truck race: Saturday at Texas (167 laps, 250.5 miles) 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Martin Truex Jr. to start on pole for All-Star Race at Bristol

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Martin Truex Jr., who is seeking his first All-Star Race win, will start on the pole for Wednesday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway after a random draw.

Truex will be joined on the front row by Alex Bowman.

Rookie Cole Custer, who earned a spot in the All-Star Race with his win Sunday at Kentucky, will start eighth.

Click here for All-Star Lineup

  • Positions 17-19 will go to segment winners from the NASCAR Open. The 20th starting spot goes to the fan vote winner, which will be announced after the NASCAR Open

Among the special rules for the race:

# The Chose Rule will be used. As drivers approach a designated spot on the track, they must commit to the inside or outside lane for the restart.

# The car number will move from the door toward the rear wheel to give sponsors more exposure.

# Cars that have automatically qualified for the All-Star Race will have underglow lights on their cars.

 

NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol 

Race Time: 8:30 p.m. ET Wednesday

Track: Bristol Motor Speedway; Bristol, Tennessee (0.533-mile speedway)

Length: 140 laps over four segments, 74.6 miles

Segments: Segment 1 is 55 laps. Segment 2 is 35 laps. Segment 3 is 35 laps. Segment 4 is 15 laps (only green flag laps count in this segment).

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Performance Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); goprn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Xfinity race: Saturday at Texas (200 laps, 300 miles), 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Next Truck race: Saturday at Texas (167 laps, 250.5 miles) 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Xfinity playoff grid after Kentucky doubleheader

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The Xfinity Series went to Kentucky Speedway for a doubleheader and Austin Cindric left the track with two wins and a spot in the playoffs.

Cindric, who claimed the first oval track NASCAR wins of his career, is now third on the playoff grid among the six drivers locked into the postseason. He has 15 playoff points.

Noah Gragson, who is second on the grid, won three of four stages in Kentucky and has 18 playoff points.

Six spots remain to be filled on the playoff grid. The last two drivers currently in the top 12 are Ryan Sieg (+57 points above cutline) and Brandon Brown (+14).

The first four drivers outside the top 12 are Myatt Snider (-14 points from cutline), Jeremy Clements (-30), Alex Labbe (-42) and Jesse Little (-47).

Cup playoff grid after Kentucky Speedway

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Cole Custer delivered the first curveball to the NASCAR Cup Series’ playoff chase Sunday when he won at Kentucky Speedway.

Custer entered the race 25th in the points, nine spots back from the cutoff line for 16-driver field.

Now, Custer is one of nine drivers locked into the playoffs, meaning the cutoff for the postseason is 15th in points.

Among those currently in the playoff grid who are not locked in, the last two are William Byron (+30 points) and Jimmie Johnson (+24).

The first four drivers sitting outside a playoff spot are Austin Dillon (-24 points from cutoff), Tyler Reddick (-41), Erik Jones (-42) and Bubba Wallace (-84).