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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