Monday, April 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

In the Pits: RTA could close disconnect between teams, NASCAR

By
July 23, 2014 |

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There is no clearer example of the disconnect between NASCAR and its teams then the fight earlier this year over the procedures to cool cars down during qualifying.

NASCAR refused to allow the use of cooling boxes, so teams had jerry-rigged a system that created a dangerous on-track situation for the drivers.

NASCAR summoned the crew chiefs from every Sprint Cup organization to hash out a solution. The teams were almost unanimously in favor of using the cooling boxes, but NASCAR officials on that conference call in March wouldn’t budge. They were OK with using fans, but smaller teams were against having to go buy them.

Exasperated, NASCAR reminded the participants on the call that the engine manufacturers were against the use of cooling boxes. Two of the top engine builders in NASCAR immediately denied that claim, while one said nobody from NASCAR had even talked with them.

The call had turned comical. In the end, NASCAR allowed the cooling boxes in a small victory for the teams.

The battle to get that win was absurd.

The Race Team Alliance, at its core, hopes to prevent those fights going forward.

Announced two weeks ago, the RTA was described as “a collaborative business association” between nine teams that for the first time creates “a single entity to engage with stakeholders on creative ways to market and experience the power of the sport’s teams and drivers.”

Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman is the elected chair of the RTA, and thus the mouthpiece. He has talked of banding the RTA teams together for purchasing power, creating travel partners and finding a common insurer. The RTA is not, Kauffman insists, a union. And if the goal is to seize a larger share of the TV money, that’s not a topic any members of the RTA are openly discussing.

“That’s a big obvious issue that’s out there that the teams really have no influence or control over,” Kauffman said of the $8 billion in TV money that is split with the tracks (65 percent), teams (25 percent) and NASCAR (10 percent). “We’re going to focus on stuff we can do. If someone wants to discuss any big picture issues, we’re happy to discuss and engage in a constructive way.”

NASCAR has made it clear it isn’t talking to the RTA about anything. Despite NASCAR President Mike Helton’s dismissal of any animosity between the two sides, the RTA was informed all communication must go through NASCAR attorneys. International Speedway Corp. issued the same command, for reasons NASCAR Chairman Brian France on Monday called “legal mumbo jumbo.”

In his first comments about the RTA, France said he didn’t think the team alliance was necessary “and we thought the benefits they would arrive at with this association would be much smaller than they do.”

“The one thing that is central to NASCAR, is when you hear one voice, that probably would be the worst thing we could ever do, is to listen to one voice, even if it was a consensus voice,” France said on SiriusXM NASCAR. “Every decision we’ve ever made that’s important, the more people we’ve heard from, the better the result. That will never change in the business model of NASCAR because good ideas come from all over the place and that’s the strength that we have. Our communication has never been better … and we need to keep building on that and get the best outcome we can.”

Sure, it is NASCAR’s court and nobody has to play NASCAR’s game. But it’s the only game in town for high-performance, profitable racing, and being part of the show means playing by NASCAR’s rules.

Only NASCAR seems to have gotten so big that it’s lost sight of the plight of its primary “stakeholders.” The teams have always existed under an owner-operator model. It’s risky. It’s dangerous.

Bill Davis once won the Daytona 500 and the Southern 500 as a Sprint Cup Series team owner. He entered drivers in all three of NASCAR’s national series, but when the economy collapsed in 2008, his sponsorship evaporated and his NASCAR participation came to a halt. In the cruelest twist of all, he won the Truck Series championship on his final weekend of NASCAR participation.

When it was all said and done, he had a building and some used parts and a little bit of equity in the owner points he’d accumulated that season to show for his 20-year NASCAR career.

It’s a fear every NASCAR owner loses sleep over. When a sponsor pulls out, the whole house of cards can come crashing down. Kauffman lived it last fall when NAPA Auto Parts left MWR and the organization was forced to lay off one-third of its workforce.

So who can actually blame these owners for not resenting the NASCAR model just a little bit? After all, the Buffalo Bills may sell for at least $1.1 billion — a far sweeter golden parachute than listing used car parts on EBay.

It’s unclear if altering the landscape to a franchise model is on RTA’s ultimate agenda. For now, the owners insist it’s about creating one voice to benefit every team — and there’s a need.

Several years ago, Rick Hendrick organized a meeting between many of the top owners, who all put together lists outlining their concerns. After debate, the group whittled it down to roughly a dozen ideas on how NASCAR could help them save some money. Nothing spectacular — maybe $1 million a team in savings.

The list was presented to NASCAR, which heard the ideas with deaf ears.

Perhaps the RTA will soon have the authority to step up and demand cost-saving measures. But for now, the question is not what the RTA is out to accomplish, but what took the team owners so long to get their act together.

 

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

County action speeds Solano fairgrounds plan to next phase

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Vacaville eyes ban on medical marijuana grows

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

Paint the Town Purple; and Roxie

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
White minister fought for civil rights in the south

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Farmers markets herald return of summer

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
City Coach hosts first block party

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Bid Corderos Park, city staff recommends

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Denim and Diamonds fundraiser set May 16

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Crash claims life of Concord teen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Biz Buzz: NorthBay offers extended hours for primary care

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Biz Buzz: Retail store helps those with autism

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

Biz Buzz: Committee schedules contractors breakfast

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7

 
Biz Buzz: Budweiser kicks off new parks campaign

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

Biz Buzz: Dutch Bros. plans ALS fundraiser

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

 
Biz Buzz: Company schedules pasta class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

 
.

US / World

Picture it: A 1,000-year exposure showing a changing Earth

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
‘Batman’ killer studied brain disorders before mass murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Image from the quake: Heavy damage in Nepal ancient city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Fighting rages in Yemen’s 3rd-largest city, strikes continue

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Mountaineers, guides stream from Everest after avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Putin accuses US of supporting separatists in Russia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Death toll in Nepal quake rises to more than 3,200

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Late spring complicates already perilous amphibian migration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Quake agony revealed quietly on trip from Nepal airport

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Corinthian Colleges to shut down all 28 remaining campuses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
No time to lose: Global response to Nepal quake gears up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Japan’s prime minister goes to US to showcase close ties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Israel says airstrike on Syrian border targeted militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Family, friends in Baltimore mourn death of arrested man

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
.

Living

Today in history: Monday, April 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Parenting: How to set boundaries on screen time

By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

 
Horoscope: April 28, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

Horoscope: April 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
My husband doesn’t want me to redecorate home he had with first wife

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

Warriors confident after sweep of Pelicans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants-Rockies game postponed by rain

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Motorcycle rider from Livermore killed in Nevada race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Billy Andrade and Joe Durant win Legends of Golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cavs sweep Celts as James scores 27 in 101-93 victory

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

It’s here: Fight week begins with Pacquiao caravan to Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
American Pharoah completes final pre-Kentucky Derby workout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Newgarden claims first IndyCar Series win not far from home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Justin Rose wins in New Orleans for 7th PGA Tour title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Wall, Beal lead Wiz past Raptors 125-94 in Game 4 for sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Paul, Clippers even series with 114-105 win over Spurs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ko wins Swinging Skirts for 2nd straight year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Kirk Noonan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Sandra King

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Janis Ruth (Sefzik) Skinner

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Elizabeth Cepeda

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C. April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Rose is Rose April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sally Forth April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C. April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Bridge April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku April 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7