Sunday, November 23, 2014
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

Fairfield-Suisun sits between bay, valley

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 10 Comments | Gallery

 
Teens at Boys & Girls Clubs get their own place

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

Salvation Army gets ready for Thanksgiving

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New mobile office adds reach to The Salvation Army

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1

Time to start a local hall of fame

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2, 5 Comments

 
Conservancy plans Quail Ridge Walk in December

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Film festival brings people together for good causes

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Advance preparation mitigates frost damage

By Kathy Low | From Page: C4

 
Sudden Infant Death awareness and prevention

By Susan Whalen | From Page: C4

Weather for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
 
Two injured in Fairfield shooting

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A12, 8 Comments

.

US / World

Storms raise hope in California drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Gambling nuke commander linked to fake poker chips

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Winners and losers under Obama’s immigration plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Kohler introduces odor-eating toilet seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Civic group: No Ferguson grand jury decision yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
WWII mementos found in suitcase at thrift store

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Hawaii airline tells pilots to return $4,000 bonus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Dogfighting thrives in years since Vick case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Man sets house on fire, kills responding deputy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Report: Washington toddler shot playing with gun

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police: Pregnant woman, 3 others fatally shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Official: SD man kills 4, including self, wounds 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Pope meets with autistic children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Biden announces new aid for Syrian refugees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
AP sources: Obama broadens mission in Afghanistan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Somalia’s al-Shabab kills 28 non-Muslims in Kenya

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
Kerry says gaps remain in talks about Iran’s nukes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Iraqi forces, Islamic State group battle in Ramadi

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Japan earthquake collapses homes, causes injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
State Capitol braces for budget battle

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Act of kindness at Raiders game

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Give the gift of gratitude this holiday season

By Dalia Adams | From Page: C3

 
Buddhist community builds shrine in Pineville yard

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Caught up in the spirt of the music

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Hackers can get into everything, including your camera lens

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

Horoscopes for Nov. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
Library project puts 50 years of yearbooks online

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6, 1 Comment

Metrosexuals be gone: Europe is agog for beards

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Graphic novel teaching history at Mississippi schools

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Lamott offers healing words in ‘Small Victories’

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Eddie Izzard has book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Whoopi Goldberg writing book about marriage

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Bryan Cranston reads profane hit nursery rhyme

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

49ers host Redskins looking for third straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cousins lifts sluggish Kings over Wolves, 113-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Stanford routs rival Cal 38-17 in 117th Big Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Sacramento State downs UC Davis 41-30

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Vermette nets winner for Coyotes vs. Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Green says he’s ready to return to lineup for Broncos

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bills practice in Detroit prepping for Jets game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

No. 4 Duke tops Stanford to win Coaches vs Cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vacaville Christian’s Kenyon voted Sierra Delta League MVP

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Suzy Whaley becomes 1st female officer at PGA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Giants World Series exhibit goes on display Monday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Oklahoma’s Perine runs for record 427 yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Rivalry 150 goes to Lafayette, 27-7 over Lehigh

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Harvard beats Yale 31-24 in The Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Bowling results for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Bocce results for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Bicycle racing for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Granada clings to 1-shot lead at LPGA finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Swiss lead France 2-1 in Davis Cup final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

 
Tips on getting deals during Black Friday blitz

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Most US unemployed don’t get benefits: Here’s why

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Businesses cash in as women chase bigger butts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

At a Glance: Pros, cons of mobile-payment systems

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
Review: No cash, cards, just mobile pay for a week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Recalls this week: strollers, candles, chargers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Leslie “Esi” Gros

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Norah Dean

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Florentina R. Dulay Florendo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Albert M. Ranzani

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Arthur Irving Weiner

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Comics