In The Tracks...
Does A Charter Really Have Value?
March 18, 2016

NASCAR has granted 36 charters to the full time teams since 2013 with the guarantee that they will have a starting position in the races for the next nine years. Should they decide to terminate their team, they can sell their charter to another team. This is said to provide the team with a franchise in NASCAR that is said to be worth somewhere in the single digit million dollars.

When introducing the new Charter system during the pre-season, NASCAR also shortened the field from 43 to 40 for the Cup Series. This allows the non-charter teams to battle for four open starting positions.

The question is: Does a Charter actually have such a value? NASCAR is currently out in Fontana, CA at the Auto Club Speedway for the Auto Club 400 and for the fourth consecutive race of five this season there are only 39 entries for a 40 team starting field. This means that there are only 39 teams who are attempting to qualify for the races and therefore the 36 Charter teams and the three non-Charter teams are all guaranteed starting positions. So, if a team wanted to sell their Charter today which of the three non-Charter teams would jump at the opportunity to spend about $5 million to guarantee themselves a starting position in races which they are already guaranteed a starting position?

In short, why buy something you don't need? Unless NASCAR can attract more owners to the series, the teams that currently own charters don't really have anything to sell if they should close their doors and leave the Cup Series. Not to mention, if a team does leave the series then there will be only 38 teams and NASCAR will need to gain three new teams to the series to create a value for the Charters currently owned by the 36 teams.

In The Tracks...

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