CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Front Row Motorsports was the winning bidder for BK Racing at $2 million it was revealed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday, but the judge did not approve the sale.
Instead, Judge J. Craig Whitley continued the hearing to Thursday after objections from Glenn Thompson, attorney for Race Engines Plus (BK Racing’s engine supplier) and BK Racing car owner Ron Devine.
Thompson told the court that “I think everyone is upset with the outcome except the buyer.” He asked for the extension to see if there was a better solution.
Devine said in court: “The outcome is exactly what I predicted. We ought to slow the train.”
Judge Whitley responded: “You’re the one who started the show.”
Said Devine: “I started the show because of creditors. I started this to stop Union Bank.”
Devine put the team in Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Feb. 15 — three days before the Daytona 500 — to keep Union Bank & Trust from trying to take control of the team. Trustee Matt Smith was put in charge of the team March 28, relieving Devine of decision-making control.
With the extension, Judge Whitley stated in the court Tuesday: “Don’t read … that I’m opening bidding. This is a continuance and nothing more.”
David Schilli, attorney for Union Bank & Trust, which has stated in court documents that BK Racing owes the bank $9 million in loans and accrued interest, objected to the extension.
“The bank is not willing to let the bird in the hand go,” Schilli said in court. “We were hoping for a spirited competition at the auction and it didn’t happen. It’s time for the process to come to an end.”
The bid from Front Row Motorsports topped the $1.8 million bid from Mike Beam, president of GMS Racing. That was set as the minimum for Monday’s auction.
Although Trustee Matt Smith had said earlier this summer in court that there had been 29 interested parties that contacted him about the team or some of its assets, his attorney, Michael Martinez, said: “Frankly your honor, we’re disappointed in the outcome of the sale.” But Martinez asked the judge to approve the sale of the team.
Monday’s auction was said to have lasted about three minutes.
Jerry Freeze, general manager of Front Row Motorsports, said after the hearing that the team had plans for taking in BK Racing but was not ready to announce them. Front Row Motorsports already owns three charters, fielding the teams for David Ragan and Michael McDowell. The team leased its third charter to TriStar Motorsports. Front Row Motorsports bought a charter from BK Racing for $2 million in December 2016.
Devine said the court hearing ended: “I think we have a better offer than that. You can’t have the whole courtroom disappointed with the outcome of sale and then say somehow it worked. I like Bob Jenkins (owner for Front Row). If I don’t have it, I hope he gets it.
“Hopefully, the bank comes to its senses. I felt like the courtroom is finally coming around to realize that this is not the right thing to do.”
In court, Martinez, the attorney for Smith, stated that all that had been sold: Front Row Motorsports bid $2 million for BK Racing and $80,000 assets claimed by Champion Tire and Wheel.
Also, Martinez affirmed the previous sale of equipment to Obaika Racing for $265,000, which included a transporter and 19 chassis in various form from bare chassis to partial body and full body. It also was announced a sale of assets for $35,000 to Rick Ware Racing.