NASCAR's Charter Talks Could Break The Cup Series

Photo: James Gilbert (Getty Images)
Photo: James Gilbert (Getty Images)

The negotiations between NASCAR and its Cup Series teams to renew their charter agreement is nearing a stalemate. The Associated Press broke down the current state of proceedings on Monday. From making charters permanent to allowing private equity firms to buy charters and NASCAR to own teams, there are divisive demands being made by both sides and no one is budging. The idea of a boycott or breakaway series is a possibility if progress isn’t made, but it’s a route that none of the teams want to take.

NASCAR is currently offering the teams a seven-year extension on their 36 charters, the Cup Series full-time entries. This would also include a cost cap and two controversial provisions: The France family, NASCAR’s owners, would be allowed to buy charters and private equity firms would also be able to buy charters. Other than the guaranteed entry, charters have no intrinsic value.

Charters also have no fixed price, and the cost to buy one has soared since their introduction in 2016 as teams bought and sold them between each other. In 2018, Spire Motorsports bought a charter for $6 million, and in 2023, it bought another charter for $40 million. This is precisely why the teams want the charters to be permanent. If NASCAR decides that it’s done with the charter system and lets the agreements expire, then all the millions spent by the team owners will just evaporate.


With the charters set to expire after this year and NASCAR unwilling to yield, the teams have to consider their options. The AP explains:

“The teams don’t want to start their own racing league, and believe NASCAR would move on without the likes of Hendrick Motorsports or Joe Gibbs Racing or Team Penske if they decided to boycott races. Such a scenario would leave it to fans to decide if the replacements — likely drivers and teams from lower-level series — provide a watchable product.”

“I think there’s still a ton of work to do. Not a little bit of work. Quite a bit. So that’s going to be the priority over the next few months to get this thing a little closer,” Denny Hamlin, co-owner of 23XI Racing, said after NASCAR’s offer was reviewed.

NASCAR and the teams need to reach some form of agreement. No deal could cause irreparable damage to stock car racing. IndyCar still hasn’t recovered from the Split, the divide between team-run CART and Indianapolis Motor Speedway that led to the track forming its own racing series in 1996.

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