NASCAR Looked the Other Way
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and a warm and heartfelt “Hey there” to our assigned reader of all things NASCAR. It’s Monday afternoon as I pull up to the keyboard and start to collect some coherent thoughts from the cobwebs of my mind. Once again, something intended to be good… and I truly believed it was good, has fallen prey to the rule of unintended consequences.
I speak of NASCAR’s Charter System, only two years old and already sullied by unwritten rules or unchallenged moves that seem to fly in the face of everything we’ve been told about the “rules.” NASCAR has always been quite adept at “looking the other way” when not wanting to deal with something that just looks plain wrong. It used to be things like swapping car numbers and trading points… all on paper, of course, but it got a lot of cars into races on someone else’s hard work. NASCAR looked the other way.
There was a rule in place for many years that said the first 5 races of each year would be seeded on last year’s points. That was an effort to have the best cars in the race, regardless of weather. Teams otherwise not included made great effort to hire any previous Champion, regardless of age, because there was a provisional for previous Champions. They would simply put someone like Terry Labonte in the car until the 5th race was run, then revert to their regular driver. NASCAR looked the other way.
Now it appears that some teams are playing fast and loose with how their Charters are awarded or assigned. The rules as given said that a Charter could be leased for one year. Then it had to be used or sold. A Charter can only be leased once every 5 years. That’s pretty simple… but it’s not what’s happening. I saw some of this last year, but not as blatant. It’s confusing as all get-out, but I’ll try to make some sense from it. On second thought, as always, Jay Adamczyk, aka Jayski, has done some of it for me. (Thanks Jay!) I wish they’d use something but car numbers to delineate the Charters because this is a mess… as intended, I’m sure.
Charters that were sold / leased
/ changed for 2017
#7-Tommy Baldwin Racing has sold Charter to #95 Leavine Family Racing, #7 will run open car part-time
#15-HScott Motorsports has sold the Charter to Premium Motorsports, which goes to the #98 team, but keeps the #15 and will use it.
#16-Roush Fenway Racing, Biffle leaves, team to lease the Charter to a 2nd JTG Daugherty team, #37.
#32-Go FAS Racing, leases their Charter to #21-Wood Brothers Racing and in-turn leases the #44 Charter from Richard Petty Motorsports.
#33-Circle Sport, was leased to #95 Leavine Family Racing, merged with #30 TMG, will run #33 Chevy.
#44-Richard Petty Motorsports leased their Charter to #32 Go Fas Racing which also bought 6 cars from RPM, RPM scales back to one car in 2017, the #43.
#46-HScott Motorsports, team leased Charter from Premium Motorsports who sold it to Furniture Row Racing #77 new team.
#55-Premium Motorsports (ran #55 & #98 in 2016), leased to #46 HScott Motorsports in 2016, then sold it to Furniture Row Racing #77 in 2017, a new team.
#83-BK Racing sold their Charter to Front Row Motorsports who leased it to the new #72 TriStar Motorsports team.
#98-Premium Motorsports, bought the #15 HScott Motorsports Charter and will run the #15, dropping the #98.
And that, gentle readers, is just for last year. Now, let’s look at what’s been lined up for 2018.
Charters that were sold / leased
/ changed for 2018
#12-Penske Racing bought the #16 Roush Fenway Racing Charter (will use #37 owners pts)
#21-Wood Brothers Racing partners with Go FAS Racing #32 and obtains the #32 Charter
#32-Go Fas Racing retains their Charter from #21-Wood Brothers Racing (cannot be leased)
#32-Go Fas Racing partners with #21 Wood Brothers Racing, which will use #32 Charter
#32-Go Fas Racing partners with #33 Circle Sport and obtains the #33 Charter
#33-Circle Sport partners with #32 Go FAS Racing, which obtains the #33 Charter.
#37-JTG Daugherty Racing, gives #16 lease back to RFR, buys the Charter from the #77 Furniture Row Racing team (will use #77 owners pts)
#43-Richard Petty Motorsports leased their Charter to #51 Rick Ware Racing, #43 will use #44 Charter.
#44-Richard Petty Motorsports will be used by the #43-Richard Petty Motorsports team in 2018 (cannot be leased).
#77 Furniture Row Racing sold their Charter to #37 JTG Daugherty team
Well cut off my legs and call me “Shorty”, but a whole lot of that just doesn’t pass the sniff test! Apparently, the lower echelon has figured a way to keep trading back and forth, using someone else’s Charter to race on while leasing out their own. Then something new and different enters the picture. “Partnering.” I look at those numbers and I see a whole lot of the #32 and #33, dealing fast and loose and everyone coming out rose-scented. The deal seems to be that if you can’t lease a Charter because it was leased last year, you can “partner” with another team and that somehow makes it OK. Not to my mind it doesn’t. Archie St. Hilaire (Go Fas Racing) seems to be partnered with both Joe Falk (Circle Sport Racing) and with Wood Brothers Racing. Keep it up Archie and you’ll own a tiny bit of every team on the grid.
NASCAR, can you really, in good conscience, look the other way again? This nonsense does nothing but devalue the very thing that was supposed to give a team value. Isn’t it time that you took notice of what goes on in the sport you claim to “sanction?” What you’re sanctioning here is nothing short of laughable and diametrically opposed to the intent of the Charters in the first place. Nowhere in the stated rules for Charters has anyone seen the word “Partnering.” Maybe it’s in the “grey area” and not quite illegal, but shouldn’t it be outlawed, just in good faith?
This scribe has always been on the side of Charters, because I saw the benefit they were intended to give to team owners. Two years ago, before the start of the 2016 season, I wrote an article extolling the virtues of the Charters and explaining to my gentle readers how they worked and why I felt they were a good idea. However, as too often happens, some have figured out a way to play fast and loose with the numbers, to the detriment of all… and NASCAR continues to look the other way.
Dear gentle readers, I know that’s a lot of numbers and no doubt creates a response akin to “TMI!” Just bear in mind, I didn’t create the mess; I am merely the messenger.
One last note:
This morning I received my second “Invitation”, purportedly from NASCAR, to join the “Official Fan Council.” Both have come to my email address, but the salutation reads only, “Hello” and my name is never mentioned. There are two or three places where it tells me I can “click here.” Um… no thanks! I honestly don’t think anyone at NASCAR is sending out Fan Council invitations at 4 and 5 O’clock in the morning. These invitations have none of the look of what NASCAR sends me as a media member. I’m not biting, and if you receive one, I’d advise you to do the same. Be careful! It’s a jungle out there!
Time now for our Classic Country Closeout. Sorry, no show today, but one of the first albums Don and I bought after we were married. Please enjoy Marty Robbins singing “Gunfighter Ballads.” Having listened now to this album in its entirety, it’s quite different from the original vinyl, but it’s still Marty and he is still great!
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!