NASCAR Changes Purse Structure
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone on February 5, 2013 | 4:33 P.M. EST
NASCAR has modified the payout distribution in the Sprint Cup Series in an effort to address teams on the “start-and-park” plan. (Photo: Getty Images)
NASCAR has modified the payout distribution in the Sprint Cup Series in an effort to address teams on the “start-and-park” plan.
Beginning with the 2013 season, each position from 39th through 43rd will receive $4,000 less than the prize money awarded for the spot just ahead of it. For example, 39th place will receive $4,000 less than 38th, 40th place $4,000 less than 39th, and so on.
NASCAR president Mike Helton addressed the issue Tuesday during a panel discussion hosted by Autoweek Magazine in Detroit.
"We moved prize money higher in the purse (structure) so if someone's intent is solely to run a lap or two and park, the revenue stream shrinks,” Helton said.
The issue of teams using the business model of starting a race and then parking after only a few laps of competition has been a source of contention for some inside the industry including Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith.
"Start-and-park should not be a part of what we do. I think this is derogatory for our sport," Smith said during last month's annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour. "I'm going to try my best, and I hope you'll join me, and see if NASCAR can't do something about this because it's certainly not adding anything to our sport and it does take away."
But some teams have used the system as a means of building for the future including Tommy Baldwin Racing, which began as a sometimes-start-and-park operation only to evolve into a full-time organization in 2013.
"He's like one of those mad politicians who gets pieces of paper handed to him before he speaks," Baldwin said of Smith. "He has no idea what he's talking about.
"It’s a Catch-22. Hendrick (Motorsports), (Richard) Childress (Racing) and Roush (Fenway Racing) all started very small, just like TBR. If NASCAR didn’t give me the ability to start this process slowly and build, we wouldn’t be in the position we're in today."