Live Fast Motorsports started the year with no intentions of selling its charter and still looking at being in the NASCAR Cup Series field for years to come. But co-owner B.J. McLeod admitted Tuesday that its plans changed with the realization of how fast the sport was moving and that the organization wasn’t meeting its goals.
“What caught me by surprise was the speed at which the sport advanced around Matt [Tifft, co-owner] and I and team Live Fast,” McLeod (pictured above) said. “That’s the part I didn’t anticipate and it just simply wasn’t in a strong enough position financially to be able to keep up with our surroundings. That happens in other businesses too, and you have to shift to make decisions and move, and it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing for everybody.
“But that is the part that caught me the most off guard. I knew the sport was growing, and I knew the excitement around it, and that’s the reason for the investment. But I didn’t see that we were going to end up getting pushed to 36th on average at most of the racetracks this quick.”
From previous experience in the Cup Series, McLeod felt it wasn’t hard to run 30th on speed. But when the Next Gen car was introduced in 2022, while it helped some close the gap and created parity with 16 different winners in the regular season, it changed the benchmark of performance. McLeod’s No. 78 car, no matter the driver on a given race weekend, was pushed deeper into the field.
“And we didn’t improve much off that for 2023,” he said. “So, the surprise was the advancement of the sport around us happened quicker than we were able to build our partners with our team, because we’re such a new team. It just happened that way.”
Live Fast Motorsports announced the sale of its charter in September to Spire Motorsports. Neither side has confirmed details of the sale, but it was estimated at $40 million.
The organization debuted in 2021. It is co-owned by McLeod, former driver Tifft and Joe Folk. Next season, the car will run part-time on superspeedways and potentially road courses. However, Tifft is leaving the ownership group and will pursue opportunities to get back behind the wheel in late models or on dirt.
Live Fast Motorsports finished 36th in the owners’ championship.
“We definitely started out the year with big expectations and hopes we’d made a lot of improvements over the offseason, and we did switch to Chevrolet and got a little bit of help from RCR,” McLeod said. “That being said, we knew we were going to be a 30th or worse average team. We know where we’re at budget-wise and tenure-wise in the sport, and that’s just where we’re at. But we showed a couple of different times that we had really good speed, and we had made improvements.
“Then overall, with the competition in the sport right now, we just couldn’t see the repetitiveness and consistency that we wanted performance-wise to really live up to what we expected we could do in ’23. So that ultimately led to the charter sale.”
While pleased with his team’s efforts, McLeod didn’t see a way forward to fulfill expectations in the Cup Series given the realities it was facing. Gavin Baker/Motorsport Images
McLeod has no regrets about being a Cup Series owner, which fulfilled a life goal. He is still bullish about the sport and being a part of it going forward.
“Oh, absolutely; I’ll always be proud of this opportunity and this journey that we took with Matt, Joe and (wife) Jessica,” McLeod said. “Being a full-time Cup owner is something I’ll be proud of the rest of my life, and it was definitely pretty wild that we were even able to get there. Everybody knows my journey and has seen it, and it’s awesome that we pulled it off. I am definitely just thankful that it all worked out to where we got to do it for a couple of years.
“(We) didn’t check that goal of winning a Cup race yet, but you never know, we’re going to run some speedways so we might get lucky. But regardless, I am definitely still proud of what we accomplished and really, the businessman is what put me in this spot, and it’s what I’ve been since I was 19 years old. It’s a huge accomplishment what we all have done here, and that’s the side we’re all so proud of too.”