Before the 2023 season ended, it was announced McLeod was selling his Live Fast Motorsports charter to Spire Motorsports.
Financial details weren’t discussed, but it was estimated that the charter McLeod purchased from Go Fas’ in 2021 in the range of $10 million was reportedly sold to Spire for about $40 million.
The current owners maintain NASCAR’s charter system makes investment in the organizations more attractive.
B.J. McLeod, citing his desire to no longer compete in NASCAR’s Cup Series full-time due to a lack of competitiveness on his part, has sold his team's charter and says he has no problem with the team owners in stock car racing’s top level becoming an elitist group of millionaires due to the charter system.
“I like Cup headed the direction it’s headed because it guarantees its security,” McLeod says. “I think the sport growing to the level that it has and everything being as particular and perfect as it is for Cup is great for Cup. Then we have Xfinity and Trucks where you can have a real shot at building a competitive Xfinity team. That system is there for us to go do that with that platform.”
Charters don’t exist in the NASCAR Xfinity and Craftsman Truck series.
NASCAR Cup racing’s foundation was driver/owners or owners who had been drivers, but in recent years, non-competitors have invested in the sport, such as retired NBA star Michael Jordan and entertainer Pitbull. The current owners maintain NASCAR’s charter system makes investment in the organizations more attractive.
The Charter System Explained
In 2016, NASCAR instituted a charter system that guarantees 36 teams a starting position in its 36-regular season point races. NASCAR determined the original charter teams by analyzing which organizations attempted to qualify for every race for the three previous years. Unchartered teams can still attempt to qualify for Cup races, but they are not guaranteed a starting positing—depending upon number of entries.
NASCAR’s version of a franchise is set to expire at the end of 2024, but team owners want it to continue for perpetuity.
Charter owners may transfer their charter to another team for one full season once during the first five years of the agreement. Teams may also sell their charters. However, NASCAR can take a charter from a team if it doesn’t meet a minimum performance standard. If a charter team finishes in the bottom three of the owner standings among the 36 charter teams for three consecutive years, NASCAR can remove the charter. McLeod’s team finished 32nd in 2021 and 36th the last two years.
Before the 2023 season ended, it was announced McLeod was selling his charter to Spire Motorsports. Financial details weren’t discussed, but it was estimated that the charter McLeod purchased from Go Fas’ in 2021 in the range of $10 million was reportedly sold to Spire for about $40 million.
McLeod says that since acquiring the charter three years ago, he has received at least one offer a month from someone wanting to purchase it. He believes people called them first because the team was always at the bottom in the standings.
Matt Tifft, who will no longer be McLeod’s business partner, said those wanting to purchase the team’s charter was a “hot, hot market for a long time.”
“We had no interest in selling for a long time,” Tifft says. “The market finally got to a place where we’re like, you know, we really have got to sit down and have a conversation.”
McLeod says he “definitely believe in the business side of the charter system.”
“We at least tripled or quadrupled our investment on our side,” McLeod says.
McLeod says NASCAR’s Next Gen car costs more than he anticipated, but it eliminates the need to find more money for research and development. It also makes the field so close that McLeod couldn’t make any gains.
“From first to 36, it is the tightest field I’ve ever seen in Cup in my life,” says McLeod, who has been involved in the sport for 20 years. “I, unfortunately, live that 35th to 36th spot a lot. What caught me by surprise was the speed at the which the sport advanced around Matt and I and team Live Fast (Motorsports). That’s the part I didn’t anticipate and … simply wasn’t in a strong enough position financially to be able to keep up with our surroundings. That happens in other businesses, too, but I didn’t see that we were gonna end up getting pushed to 36th on speed.”
For 2024, McLeod plans to field a part-time entry in NASCAR’s Cup Series, focusing on the superspeedway races and road courses with the No. 78. He has yet to determine if his involvement in the Xfinity Series will be full-time or part-time.
“The sport comes down to funding, and that’s really where the speed comes from,” Tifft says.