Multi-Car Cup Teams Form Alliance
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on July 7, 2014 | 10:41 A.M. EST
A group of nine multi-car Sprint Cup Series teams has formed a collaborative business association called the Race Team Alliance. (Photo: Getty Images)
CONCORD, N.C. – Nine multi-car NASCAR Sprint Cup teams have formed a business association called the Race Team Alliance with Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, elected to be the chair.
Kauffman told Motor Racing Network on Monday that the group’s focus is to find ways to collaborate with business decisions that can help cut costs such as with travel or insurance.
There certainly could be other bigger issues the group could address with members including Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.
Those teams fielded 25 of the 43 cars in Sunday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International and tied to a few other teams competing.
Kauffman said the key is working together.
“I think the priority for the (Race Team Alliance) is going to be things that Richard Childress put it as the teams need to help themselves,’’ Kauffman said. “We don’t have a tally yet of how many do all of us employ in total. How much do we all spend on travel? How much do we spend in parts and equipment?
“To me the key word is collaboration. People in the media, a fight is always more interesting coverage than nothing, but we’re really focused on collaborating and working on things we can do. The extent that any of the stakeholders want to ring us up and discuss something, we’re happy to do so. We’ve got plenty of stuff on our own plate. As Chip (Ganassi) said this is a long-term process, our goals for this organization is to be around for a long time.’’
NASCAR issued a statement about the group Monday:
“We are aware of the alliance concept the team owners have announced, but have very few specifics on its structure or purpose. It is apparently still in development and we’re still learning about the details so it would be inappropriate to comment right now. NASCAR’s mission, as it has always been, is to create a fair playing field where anyone can come and compete. Our job is to support and strengthen all of the teams, large and small, across all of our series and we’ll continue to do that. NASCAR is a unique community with hundreds of stakeholders. They all have a voice and always will.”
Among the big topics the group could look at is the new TV contract that begins next year with Fox and NBC. The deals are for a reported $8.2 billion over 10 years. NASCAR has divides the TV money with teams and tracks. Tracks receive 65 percent of the share with teams getting 25 percent and NASCAR 10 percent.
NASCAR Chairman Brian France was asked Saturday at Daytona if changes were being looked at with the distribution of the TV money.
“We are looking at that because we start, of course, a new TV agreement beginning next year so naturally we are rethinking that a little bit, and in particular with the Nationwide teams, as well,’‘ he said. “But that'll be something that we will consider and we will look at to make sure that the appropriate values are where they need to be.’’
Asked about changes to TV payments, Kauffman told Motor Racing Network: “I think those are excellent ideas and points, but I think where we are is kind of many, many, many miles from anything like that where we have just formed a new organization, day one, so we have a little baby that was just born. We’re going to focus primarily on the things that the teams can control because we haven’t even organized that yet. All those other issues are interesting issues but at some level beyond the control of the teams.’’
Kauffman said that teams will vote on various issues and some votes will require three-quarter approval and others two-thirds approval and that the results are binding to the members.
“What we’re trying to do is maybe more close to Formula One where there is a structured process and we can put things on the table, discuss, debate on it and vote on it and agree with it and that’s the position of all the member teams,’’ Kauffman said. “That could be pretty handy. Certainly you see that in a lot of other sports and other business. That’s the direction we want to take it.’’