Tuesday, July 22, 2014

France Says NASCAR Will Not Negotiate With RTA

NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France made it perfectly clear Monday.

While he will continue to seek input from individual team owners, he has no interest in speaking with the newly formed Race Team Alliance.

The RTA is comprised of nine of NASCAR’s most powerful and successful teams; Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske. Speaking on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s SiriusXM Speedway Monday, France said NASCAR’s “business as usual” policy will not include conversations with the new alliance.

"The worst thing that we could ever do is listen to one voice, even if it was a consensus voice," he said. "Every decision we've ever made that's important -- the more input (and) the more people we’ve heard from -- the better the results. That will never change in the business model of NASCAR, because good ideas come from all over the place."

RTA chairman Rob Kauffman has insisted that the alliance will concentrate on “low hanging fruit,” trimming expenditures for travel, hotel accommodations, rental cars and insurance. France endorsed those efforts, saying, “They’re smart guys, they may figure out some things that we’re not aware (of). They’re entitled to approach their business in certain ways (and) we’re going to respect that.”

France said NASCAR “didn't think (the RTA) was necessary," adding, “we think the benefits they will arrive at with this association will be much smaller than they do."

The RTA has said it has no plans to negotiate for a larger share of the new, 2015 television contracts. Under the current deal, 65% of all TV revenue is distributed to speedways, with teams getting 25% and 10% going to NASCAR. France said those percentages will remain unchanged, saying they are “set for historical reasons and because it’s the right allocation. Everybody would like to have more. The tracks would, anybody else would. That’s natural. I think they’ve made mention that they don’t have any desire to do that (and) we’re business as usual."

He also insisted that NASCAR will continue to deal with individual team owners, rather than a chosen spokesman.

"We need all the input we can get,” he said. “That's the whole beauty of the NASCAR business model. Everybody's in it together. We’re going to go down the road of dealing with all the team owners.

“Not most of them, not the big ones. All of them.”


  1. Brian France has fired a warning shot across the bow of the RTA. I hope, for all of us, this works out better than the George family feud with CART did. IndyCar, the latest iteration of CART and the IRL, still hasn't recovered from that debacle and may never do so.

    1. Interesting you compare with CART because CART was 100% the reason for Indycar racing's collapse. CART was formed in 1979 to buttress its richest car owners - shown by constant infighting leading to the near-collapse of CART in 1989 by a revolt, led by the late Andy Kenopensky (who famously challenged at least one car owner to a fight; when a car owner said he'd punch Kenopensky at a meeting, Kenopensky snarled back, "Go ahead, but choose your hospital"), of have-not teams against Penske and Newman-Haas, and also by the 1993 CART White Paper on conflict of interest that was basically an unassailable indictment of Roger Penske's racing practices. The Tony George rebellion in 1996 was long overdue as it reigned in some of the technology arms race and made Indycar racing good again, shown in terrific battles at Texas, Kentucky, Kansas, and especially Chicagoland.

      This is why NASCAR and RTA need to work together. The issues of spending are not exclusive to either side and need to be reigned in, because that's where the out-of-control cost of the sport comes from.

  2. Anonymous12:01 PM

    The France and Smith families have derived significant "equity" wealth from NASCAR in addition to salaries and benefits. This wealth has or will be passed on to family members upon retirement or otherwise. Gibbs has seen this very thing in the NFL. Gibbs, Hendrick, Penske, and Roush aren't getting any younger and would like a bite of this apple for their respective succession planning. Investors such as Kauffman and Murstein are likely getting tired of funding operating losses without prospects for realizable value down the road. From the team owner's standpoint, they are significant contributors to NASCAR's success on par with the France and Smith families so why should the not be able to achieve a similar financial reward.

  3. Anonymous2:39 PM

    Who would beleive a word this guy says...Sorry not my usual response to big business but this line of complete bs is just to much brian nonsense...Didn't Nascar already state that any comunication was to be by legal council, so I guess we know who drew the line in the sand..A lot of fear for something that hasn't happened yet? Earner

  4. Dwayne in Memphis2:54 PM

    He sounded VERY defensive - as if he were angry almost - when you talked to him about the RTA. I wonder where the animosity comes from... "One voice is never a good thing" Who said you were only going to hear from one voice? Who said they even planned to talk to you about anything, France? Reminds me of Palpatine talking to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith: "All who gain power are afraid to lose it."

    What are you so afraid of, Mr. France? Talk of insurance rates and part costs has you this defensive and stand-offish? Interesting.

  5. Anonymous3:03 PM

    Big suprise, the one who toddled out of the Golden Crib, into the Golden office is taking offense by this. For years give all Nascar throws at these owners, despite the money they make, and more importantly how much they spend, what took them so long? Especially how Nascar has poached many of THEIR sponsors for starters.

  6. Out of the 65% revenue share the tracks get how much goes to ISC (International Speedway Corp.) that is owned by the France Family?

    You can see why some people want no change in the sport and others are trying to cut costs.

    1. Don't forget Bruton Smith's speedways also get a huge cut - almost as big as ISC's - of that 65%.

      The issue is not the percentages, it's the spending. The RTA has legitimate concerns but at the same time should not be let off the hook as far as team owner spendaholism goes.

    2. I did not exclude Bruton, but we both know Bruton owns fewer tracks/dates on the schedule then ISC/The France Family does.

      The numbers tell the tale, that is why ISC settled the Ferko lawsuit rather then let it go to trial.

      So let us discuss spending by owners:

      COT, Multiple generations in the interest of safety and cost control!!!???
      Fuel injection came way late.
      Constant rule changes to re-engineer for to remain competitive.

      Can anyone really say that NASCAR has made any changes that have saved owners money? Wasn't that the purpose of NASCAR's R&D center and Brett Bodine's position in NASCAR?

      Some interesting numbers came out after Kentucky's cup race. It cost SHR approx. $1.5 million to bring 4 teams to race for $425 thousand in prize money based on their finishing spots, those are combined numbers. How much money did NASCAR and the track loose for this race?

      Somebody ask the King if Grandpa Lee could have kept the family business open on prize money and be anything but a start and park team these days.

      Brian France says there will be no changes to the business model, but he has changed it significantly himself already. Perhaps what he meant was "There will be no changes to the NASCAR business model that benefits anyone other then the France Family and their cronies.".

    3. Not5for48 - On spending by owners -

      They didn't and don't particularly have to re-engineer for rule changes. The myth I've been hearing forever is whenever there's been a rule change teams claim they have to re-engineer for them. They don't.

      The COT was a failure from the beginning - no disagreement there. But do not blame it for team spendaholism. That's just excuse-mongering. Team owners have to take accountability.

      Fuel injection was never needed to begin with. Keeping carburators was not hurting anything.

      You note it cost SHR $1,5 million to race four teams - why are they racing four teams? And why does NASCAR refuse to force them and others to DISBAND down to two teams? Once again, you're shifting blame to NASCAR for the team's spendaholism.

      As for Bruton and his speedways, he has more than enough that limiting the anger to just ISC is foolishness. The Ferko lawsuit was an expensive scam and everyone knew it.

      Team spendaholism is a bigger problem than the NASCAR business model. By shifting blame to NASCAR instead of holding teams accountable, we're not solving anything.

    4. I think you missed the point on the $1.5M to field four teams. That's an average of $375K per team. Allowing for the dis-economies of scale when down-sizing to three or two teams that amount would increase.

    5. The point is clear - $375,000 per car at one race. The economy of scale argument is proving not to be working, and the point remains - teams have to accept accountability for their spendaholism. People need to stop passing the blame to NASCAR and start facing that lack of spending controls is the primary problem. NASCAR and RTA need to work together on the sport's fratricidal economics and it has to be done in realistic manner.

      And no, the $375,000 per car amount would not increase if SHR had to disband two teams.

  7. Anonymous4:24 PM

    Brian France. Why has the port declined under his tenure? The RTA understands this, and since NASCAR isn't at the forefront of helping them reign in expenses, they decide to go it alone and he's offended? I can think of a few words to respond to him with,

    He forgets who is the sport, it certainly isn't Brian rance.

  8. Anonymous5:17 PM

    I believe Brian does not have the understanding of the sport he commands nor the technical knowledge to keep leading. NA$CAR would probably be better off with his uncle or sister in charge. Brian will one day be heralded as the one operator of a sport who killed the golden goose. Besides it is his stated goal to be an NFL owner one day. I don't believe his track record of management will ever allow that to happen.

  9. g55rumpy5:17 PM

    can`t say i didn`t see this coming. or any good idea from this member of the france family

  10. Anonymous5:33 PM

    For something NASCAR said does not bother them, they sure keep talking about it.....

    1. For the record, I asked the questions and Brian France answered them.

  11. Jeff D.6:21 PM

    I think that the real problem here is that the owners feel that NASCAR Isn't listening to them, or the fans and are going on their own tangent. I think that they hit it right on the head. The owners are complaining about where the races are scheduled are costing them money in transportation. The fans are complaining about Cup drivers running in Nationwide and trucks series winning all the time and it makes for little competition. Now NASCAR wants to mess with the engines and from another post, there is discussion about doing away with the souvenir haulers. Seems like they are going the wrong way with all this and not listening to anybody. Now they got NASCAR'S version of a union on their hands. Hmmm, we'll have to see where all this goes.

  12. Sadly, I don't believe Brian France is the Man for the job.

    I don't agree with most of the decisions the sport has made under his direction. I am all for change , but not for the sake of change, and not to make changes for the worse. Brian seems fine with both. He has run many hardcore fans away with the chase. This year, NASCAR pushed me away with this ridiculous new format, chase, elimination, 4 way tie at the last race. They even went a little Rick Vaughn from the movie Major League, by tacking on the cheesiest names for each elimination round. If you remember the movie, Vaughn was searching for past glory by giving his pitches catchy names, only further distancing himself from the fans. Much like what you see Brian France doing. Or should we call him the Ruinator?

    Next year, brings a possible reduction in horsepower. He won't be satisfied until he alienates all of NASCAR's fan base.

    All this change costs the owners staggering sums of money. If I was plunking down the cash these owners are for technology that will only be around for a year or two, I'd be mad as hell. I may even start a group of fellow owners who feel the same frustration as me, to get together and see if we can't cover our assets a little better.

    Brian's tone did him no favors on your show. He came across as a spoiled kid- "my ball, my rules, and if you don't like it, I'm going home.

    1. Tedstryker - cutting horsepower is 25 years overdue and there is no case by fans against it. Saying these changes cost the owners money is shifting blame from the teams for their spendaholism. Shifting blame instead of accepting accountability solves nothing.

      This is where the RTA should not go - there is need for the sanctioning body and RTA to work together, and it requires accountability. Stop just blaming NASCAR for teams spending too much money. Brian France deserves criticism, but not the kind of tangents that reflect blind bitterness.

    2. I have no beef with owners spending their money. I have a beef with the lack of a consistent model for teams to work with. You seem to be hung up on the wrong part of my argument.

      Brian France brings a "cheesy factor" that is unbearable. I'm not blaming NASCAR for teams spending too much money. I am blaming Brian France for coming off as cheesy, and spoiled. Also, for publicly understating the importance for, and of, the RTA.

      I think a group of very smart businessmen, are concerned with their investments. I also think that same group should be given an ear. Not a flat out denial before they even have a chance to get the ball rolling.

      Brian France should heed the lessons of CART. The George family probably had the same heir of invincibility that Brian seems to suffer from. That, and he's cheesy.

    3. You mention CART - yet seem to ignore that the war between CART and IRL was an IRL victory, because CART was a fundamentally unsound entity - a body of car owners engaged in fratricidal economics. Moreover CART was founded specifically to take away the sport from USAC, and "succeeded" only because the Can-Am road racing series went belly up and its owners (notably Paul Newman and Carl Haas) and tracks were picked up by CART.

      That Brian France is not the right man to head NASCAR is true enough. What I'm hung up on is that people go off on tangents against Brian France such as "he's too much of a dictator" as though his grandfather and father didn't wield the same level of power. The issue isn't power, it's his competence at the job. Frances Sr. and Jr. understood racing; Brian has shown he doesn't, between overmarketing of the Brand instead of the sport, growing instead of deemphasizing the importance of points racing (the new formula of win to make the Chase has merely continued this foolish approach), and not properly handling the technology arms race - the flip-flopping against push-drafting is the most public display of this poor handling of rules packages. To this part of the issue (the overall handling of racing technology) John Darby warrants criticism as well, as while he's not in the picture anymore his influence on the rules packages - he more than anyone pushed the cutting of downforce and the COT packages that all failed - is still being felt in a negative way.

      Certainly it is not that there haven't been effective rule packages in the Brian France period - when they allow push-drafting the racing is spectacular; the roof blade for the plate tracks was superbly effective, and I'm still at a loss to understand why it isn't still there nor in use on the larger intermediates; I know it was tested at Charlotte either last October or early this year as part of the 2014 rules test, but I've been unable to find information on what was seen with that package.

      Right now RTA is a body about dealing with cost issues such as hotels etc. It seems it indeed does not want a clash with NASCAR - Richard Petty, who led the former PDA in 1969-72, has made that clear. And NASCAR and RTA do need to work together to reign in the spendaholism - on that score I may have gotten hung up on the wrong side of your argument, to that I admit fault.

    4. I agreed with everything you said, except for the IRL/CART issue. Nobody won that. The only reason that the IRL exists today, and CART doesn't is because of one track. You can't be the premier open wheel series in America, if you don't get to race at Indy. And you couldn't race Indy unless you were on George's side, or qualified for 3 of 33 starting positions.

      Other than that, I agreed for the most part.

      I noticed you reply to posts quite a bit. Young Mr. France might coin you "The Replyanator" if you aren't careful. "The Responder" maybe? "Mr. Twocentsanator?"

  13. Gene Bagsby8:43 PM

    Interesting turn of events. What happens if the RTA demands a meeting or decides not to send the drivers to a race? Say California or Phoenix next Spring. Who blinks first?

    1. I'm guessing the drivers go to the race and race. The worst thing a group like the RTA can do is take away the sport. The 1969 Talladega boycott accomplished nothing beyond adding notoriety to the speedway.

  14. I hope the RTA is a ball bat across the knees of the France Dictatorship. Thanks Dave for you work in the turns and this great blog

  15. Anonymous12:56 PM

    If the RTA keeps their cars in the pits when a race starts as a protest to Brian France's childish and irresponsible response to their organization, NASCAR will get more publicity than at any time during his awful reign as head of the organization. Well deserved publicity for a sport that continues to lose fans every race. If he doesn't wake up soon, his fields may be 30 cars or less.


    THIS IS A COMMENT ON THE COMMENTS - maybe the squeaky wheels make the most noise but i detect a general distrust of the people running this sport.......

  17. Anonymous3:06 PM

    I am so glad to see this formed. It will help out the sport we all are so passionate about.
    Franchising needs to happen. They also need to split sponsorship money across the board, profit sharing similar to the NFL. They mimic everything else the NFL does with the Chase etc. then follow a sound business/sports entertainment model.
    Also, stop allowing conflicts of interest such as owning a team and racing for someone else. Have some ethics and end this charade. I don't know any other sport that allows this, then again other sports are real sports as this has become a WWE style of sports entertainment.

  18. Anonymous1:28 AM

    "we’re business as usual" says the man as his house burns down around him.

    The days of 8 and 9 point TV ratings of the race are long gone. It took NASCAR way too long to catch up to where social media has been. It took them way too long to make a decent web page. And it will take them way too long to realize that the members of the RTA are the heart of the sport. That is Brian "we’re business as usual" France's fault too.