Thursday, December 18, 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

Solano College trustees move back ‘home’

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Needs of small dog give Solano man life’s mission

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Christmas comes early for prenatal program participants

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Police chief: Suisun crime up 3 percent in 2014

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Council OKs $65,730 pact to advocate for Travis base

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Fairfield pays $42,500 to settle soil suit

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Jury convicts teen for role in 2012 DeBartolo’s heist

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: Dec. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Fairfield police log: Dec. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

 
Fears fanned by hackers bring down Sony film

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Like Iran, secret diplomacy leads to US-Cuba thaw

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Pope played crucial role in US-Cuba rapprochement

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

US travel industry carefully eyeing Cuba tourism

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US-Cuba thaw could benefit farmers, energy and travel firms

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Cubans cheer historic renewal of US relations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Freed American endured years of declining health

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

US, Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Bay Bridge light sculpture to keep on shining

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

Study: Huge wildfire supports need for controlled burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
A fresh setback for efforts to cure HIV infection

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

14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Nigerian court sentences 54 soldiers to death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Colombian rebels announce unilateral cease-fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Russians flock to stores to pre-empt price rises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Pakistan buries victims of school massacre

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

.

Opinion

Asia needs to prepare for a possible China crash

By William Pesek | From Page: A7

 
Editorial Cartoons: Dec. 18, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crime Witness Protocol 101

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7, 8 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 18, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
My siblings don’t want to replace abusive mother’s pacemaker

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

25 movies chosen for the National Film Registry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Saving Private Ryan’ among films being preserved

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
.

Sports

Falcons cruise by crushers in girls basketball

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
49ers release McDonald amid further legal trouble

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Carr faces another tough test in rookie season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
For MLB, changes in Cuba will take time to sort out

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Garcia resigns as FIFA prosecutor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Chattanooga women stun No. 7 Stanford 54-46

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Track coach Drummond gets 8-year doping suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warriors’ Bogut out with knee injury vs. Thunder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP source: Romo close to $15M, 2-year deal with Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Baseball monitoring White House Cuba decision

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

APNewsBreak: Judge rejects NCAA concussions deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Painkillers lawsuit against NFL dismissed; may be appealed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

McDonald’s in Japan limits orders of fries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Amid scrutiny, Uber says it will focus more on safety

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Health care exchange sign-ups exceeding last year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Fed to be ‘patient’ about a rate hike; stocks soar

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

Jennie Ponce Reyes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Marian L. “Chicki” Downs

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9