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FRANCKLY SPEAKING: NASCAR’s Brave New World is Near

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NASCAR sent out press release stating there would be a major announcement on Tuesday, February 9th.

And, if you’re not reading this until after 1:30PM, Tuesday, the details will be clear. In the meantime all we can do is speculate that, after 67 years, NASCAR will be making a major policy shift on how it relates to teams and team owners.

For years we’ve heard the mantra that team owners and their drivers were independent contractors, but times have changed.

History tells us the worst thing that could be said to a nonconforming owner or driver was “we don’t need you.” That came, of course, with the implication that some unwanted behavior had to be changed or else.

The one exception came when Hall of Famer, Junior Johnson, said he wanted to leave the sport. This particular exchange between him and series founder Bill France, as reported by the Chicago Tribune and others.

“He kept telling me that I was committed to racing. And I said, `No I’m not, either.’ And he said, ‘Oh, yeah you are.'”

“‘I said, ‘France, you don’t understand what being committed means.’ Me and him was sitting down, eating breakfast, when he said this to me. I said, ‘For instance, if you sit down to breakfast and you haven and eggs, that chicken was involved-but that hog was committed.'”

“I said, ‘I’m involved, but I’m not committed.'”

Times have changed almost 180 degrees since Junior raced. With race shops employing hundreds of workers and sponsor deals taking months — and millions of dollars to work out — everyone is now committed.

And just like those other deals the Race Team Alliance have been hammering out details on how team owners will be compensated for the equity they have put into their respective teams.

The biggest issues would likely include:

  1. What conduct would entitle a team owner to that equity, whatever it’s called? Rumor has it that one of the sticking points is three seasons of full-time participation.
  2. How many charters/medallions will be issued? Rumors are 40. That’s interesting because that’s three less than the current starting fields at the Cup level.
  3. How would someone without one of those charters/medallions attempt to qualify for a race if the current 43-car field is retained?
  4. Who will be eligible to qualify for this year’s Daytona 500? As of Saturday things have been listed as “tentative.”

We’ll likely find out these details and more on Tuesday.

And don’t you worry. POPULAR SPEED is committed to bring you all of them.

EMAIL LEWIS AT lewis.franck@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @LewisFranck

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, it’s owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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POPULAR SPEED is a Social Media driven website featuring exclusive content, photographs, news and pointed editorials. It’s makeup consists of veteran motorsports journalists as well as the unique voice of developing young talent. POPULAR SPEED was launched in 2013 under the direction of former Sprint Cup Series spotter, Mike Calinoff.