Race Team Alliance

Race Team Alliance

Race Team Alliance purchases Speed51.com site

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Speed51.com confirmed Sunday night that it has been purchased by the Race Team Alliance, the organization of a majority of the NASCAR Cup teams.

Chris Knight first reported the deal on Twitter.

Speed51.com streams a variety of short track races from across the country.

Speed51.com’s statement read:

“Speed51 confirms that it has been purchased by the Race Team Alliance. Post-acquisition, Speed51 will continue to operate in the manner as it always has and remains committed to providing the best in live, short-track racing to the racing fan base. The RTA, with its mission to promote North American stock car racing, is ideally suited to provide Speed51 with access to an overall larger racing fan base over time.  Founder,  Bob Dillner, will continue is his role as the President of Speed51.”

Cup teams in the Race Team Alliance are: Stewart-Haas Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Team Penske, Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, Germain Racing, Leavine Family Racing, Go Fas Racing and Wood Brothers Racing.

The Race Team Alliance issued a statement to NBC Sports on the purchase of Speed51.com:

“Race Team Alliance confirms the purchase of Speed51, a leading live, short-track racing distribution company based in Concord, NC.  The RTA, which represents the common interests of its 13 NASCAR Cup Team members, looks for strategic opportunities which both compliment the RTA’s core principles of promoting and growing the sport and advancing the common interests of the member Race Teams. The RTA identified Speed51 as a growing company with strong synergies to RTA’s commitment to the racing community and aligns with our fan bases’ enthusiasm for grass roots racing. The Speed51/RTA combination will explore ways to create and distribute to race fans exciting new Team related content, and allow the Teams to better connect directly with their fans.

“Speed51, which first started operating as a short-track news and information site in early 2000’s, has become a prominent player in the live, short-track world, streaming over 400 races each year to a dedicated fan base.  Founded by racing and sports broadcasting personality, Bob Dillner, Speed51 has consistently grown throughout the years and the RTA identified the company as one with great potential.  Post-acquisition, Bob will continue in his role as the President of Speed51 and report to RTA’s Executive Director, Jonathan Marshall.”

Rob Kauffman, chairman of the RTA said in a statement: “On behalf of our Member Race Teams, we are very excited about  our new initiative with Speed51. Bob Dillner and his team have created a great platform to cover grass roots racing , which touches the core fanbase of our sport – as well as many of our past, current and future racers and team members. We are looking forward helping him grow the business and plan to work together to create even more interesting content for our fans.”

Bob Dillner, founder and president of Speed51 stated: “Speed51 has always had an intense passion for short track racing and the RTA shares the same desire to bring more attention to this style of racing.  The RTA member teams are undoubtedly some of the most influential race teams in the world and at the same time understand grassroots racing because it’s where they came from.  I am thrilled to be partnered with this group of owners and with their help, not only will Speed51 be able to grow, but so will the industry surrounding short track racing, from track owners and promoters, to series organizers and the racers themselves.  This initiative will create better access for fans to witness the rise to stardom of some of the sport’s future prospects.”

 

 

 

Rick Hendrick wants Jeff Gordon ‘in my place’ when he steps away

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In an interview for an Autoweek story detailing NASCAR teams and their plans for ownership succession, Rick Hendrick dropped news about who he sees as being the future leader of Hendrick Motorsports.

Hendrick, 69, said his former driver, Jeff Gordon, would someday take charge of the team he started in 1984.

“That’s the way we’re going. Whenever I finally step away, it’ll be Jeff Gordon in my place,” Hendrick told Autoweek.

Gordon, 47, is already a long-time minority owner of the team, a result of a contract he signed in 1999.

But don’t expect Hendrick to give up the reigns soon.

“I love this and still enjoy it so much, and it’s tied to my automotive businesses,” Hendrick said. “My health is good, so I expect to be around for a long time.”

But it’s possible Gordon’s heart wouldn’t be into being sole owner of the race team he competed for from 1992 – 2016, or at least as the owner of his own team.

Gordon discussed the possibility of ownership on Tuesday during a Q&A related to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s podcast, “The Dale Jr. Download.”

“I would not be an owner if it weren’t for Rick Hendrick and being there for such a long time and the contract that I signed that helped me be an equity owner,” Gordon said. “I want to be partners with Rick in the business. I certainly would never want to go out and do this on my own. Nor would I even be capable of (it).”

Gordon has a history of ownership outside Hendrick. He and his former crew chief, Ray Evernham, co-owned Gordon-Evernham Motorsports, an Xfinity Series team they fielded from 1999-2000.

Gordon went on to explain what keeps him from being more involved in Hendrick Motorsports: the state of the NASCAR business model.

“I’m always so interested in what’s happening from the business aspect,” Gordon said. “I’ve got to say, (Interim CEO and Chairman) Jim France and the France family and the involvement they have right now, (President) Steve Phelps. I’m seeing some momentum of some thing things, what’s happening with the (Race Team Alliance). There’s just some cool things that are happening and it all got started I think talking about Comcast coming in and buying NASCAR.

“Whether that was ever a reality or whatever was going to happen, what it’s generated is concerted efforts where people are coming together to try and take the sport to the next level from a business viability standpoint. That’s what I’m excited about. If it could do that, you would see me far more involved. But right now, if you look at the business model on paper, no, it doesn’t make sense. We’re lucky to have racing as more of a hobby and do it the level we do it because of our partners.”

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eNASCAR Heat Pro League to debut in 2019

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NASCAR, the Race Team Alliance and 704Games announced the eNASCAR Heat Pro League on Thursday.

The eNASCAR Heat Pro League is the first NASCAR esports league on video game consoles and is powered by NASCAR Heat 3.

The league, which will begin in spring 2019 and culminate during the playoffs, will feature 16 races with up to 16 teams and 32 drivers. Each team will be owned and operated by a NASCAR race team. Each team will field two drivers, one competing on Xbox One and the other on a PlayStation 4.

Fans who own NASCAR Heat 3 can now start to qualify for the first eNASCAR Heat Pro League Draft, scheduled to take place early next year.

Teams participating in the league include: Chip Ganassi Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, JR Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.

“We look forward to taking this first step with our teams to introduce NASCAR-style racing to the massive esports audience on consoles,” said Craig Neeb, NASCAR’s Executive Vice President of Innovation and Development in a press release. “Our partners at 704Games have delivered an incredible product and we are enthusiastic about engaging gamers to create new fans and grow our sport.”

Cup team’s debut stirs debate on value of smaller part-time teams

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The entry of NY Racing for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 has stirred talk about the value of smaller teams unable to compete a full season in Cup after a comment from the chairman of the Race Team Alliance.

NY Racing is entered in its first Cup race of the year. JJ Yeley is the driver. The team announced Tuesday a multi-year deal with Steakhouse Elite as sponsor. The team is owned by John Cohen, whose previous Cup teams ran 16 races between 2012-15. His team’s best finish was 32nd in the 2015 Daytona 500 with Reed Sorenson. His teams also failed to qualify for seven races and withdrew five times.

The entry of NY Racing means one car will fail to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600. The five teams going for the four spots available for non-charter teams are those of BJ McLeod (No. 52, Rick Ware Racing), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 55 Premium Motorsports), Timmy Hill (No. 66, Motorsports Business Management), Parker Kligerman (No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing) and Yeley.

NY Racing’s entry drew the ire of Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing and chairman of the Race Team Alliance. Kauffman tweeted about NY Racing’s entry and then responded to a few who questioned him.

Kauffman’s tweet drew a response from Xfinity driver Tommy Joe Martins, who has been vocal about the importance of smaller teams in NASCAR’s national series and the need to raise the profiles of such teams. Martins responded to Kauffman’s comments with a series of tweets.

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Race Team Alliance hires executive director

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The Race Team Alliance, which represents a majority of NASCAR Cup teams, has hired Jonathan Marshall as its executive director.

Marshall, who had been the chief operating officer and general counsel for the World Surf League from Nov. 2013-March 2018, starts work with the RTA immediately.

“The RTA has matured to a point where its Board and Members determined it was time to have a full-time executive who wakes up every day thinking of how to move the collective interests of the RTA member teams forward,’’ said Rob Kauffman, Chairman of the Race Team Alliance and co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing, in a statement.

“During the process of finding our new executive director, we were fortunate to have met with a number of highly qualified and talented individuals which made our decision that much more difficult. Ultimately, we selected a candidate who had a range of experience across sports, intellectual property and media rights, operations and sponsorship. I think Jonathan’s diverse background will be a big boost to the organization.”

Members of the RTA are: Stewart-Haas Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Team Penske, Joe Gibbs Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, Germain Racing, Leavine Family Racing, Go Fas Racing, BK Racing and Premium Motorsports.

The RTA was formed in 2014 to “preserve, promote and grow the sport of stock car racing and to advance the long-term interests of the racing teams.’’

Furniture Row Racing, Front Row Motorsports and Wood Brothers Racing are not part of the RTA.

“I’m a race fan, first and foremost, and I’ve been impressed by what the RTA has been able to accomplish in its short history,’’ Marshall said in a statement. “It shows the strength of the teams working together on common goals. There is no doubt that stock car racing, like all major sports, is evolving and working on new ways to engage their fans in deep and meaningful ways. I am beyond thrilled to have been selected as the RTA’s executive director and am looking forward to working with all of the member teams and other industry stakeholders to advance the sport of stock car auto racing.”

Marshall, who will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina, also was senior vice president of business, development and strategy for the USA Today Sports Media Group from Jan. 2011-Oct. 2013. He was president of Metro Television and SVP of business affairs for Westwood One from April 2008-Jan. 2011.

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