The co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing and chairman of the Race Team Alliance does not think it’s a good thing that a car won’t qualify for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
The entry list for the longest Cup Series race of the year has 41 cars for 40 spots. It’s the first time all season that a Cup qualifying session will feature more cars than available spots; 10 of the season’s 12 points races have featured fewer than 40 cars.
Kauffman is not thrilled with that. After the No. 7 car set to be driven by J.J. Yeley was put on NASCAR’s entry list, Kauffman said it was “ridiculous” there were 41 cars on the entry list.
— rob kauffman (@kauffmanrob) May 22, 2018
Kauffman, who was a co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing before the team dissolved and he moved his ownership stake to Chip Ganassi Racing, has been one of the leaders in the movement to give teams charters. The charter agreement started before the 2016 season and guarantees 36 cars a spot in every Cup Series race and gives those cars a greater share of purse money. While there may be 41 cars competing for 40 spots, the charter agreement means it’s actually five cars competing for open spots.
What cars compete for the open spots shouldn’t pique Kauffman’s interest, at least publicly. NASCAR’s downfall over the past 10 years is visible in the number of cars attempting to qualify for races. The 1994 Brickyard 400 had over 80 cars trying to make the 43-car field. The Daytona 500 earlier that season had 59 cars officially attempt to make the race and saw 10 others put their name on the entry list before withdrawing.
No one failed to qualify for the 2018 Daytona 500 or the 2017 Brickyard 400.
When a team decides to sell in NASCAR, the purchase price doesn’t match the level of investment that’s been put into it. That’s unlike any other major sport, where franchise values keep rising and rising.
The charter system was designed to help address that issue. But on the flipside, one of the selling points of the sport has been how relatively easy it can be to put together a team and compete at NASCAR’s top level. What John Cohen — a former low-level Cup Series co-owner — is doing with the No. 7 car is not against NASCAR rules and, for better or worse depending on your view, follows the spirit of the sport.
Kauffman doesn’t have to agree with that spirit. But he also doesn’t have to tweet that disagreement either.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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