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Denny Hamlin Has Concerns with NASCAR’s Three-Team Limit

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What’s Happening?

Last week, Jordan Bianchi reported that NASCAR is considering limiting teams to three charters in the next charter deal. Denny Hamlin gave his thoughts on the report in the most recent episode of his podcast “Actions Detrimental,” and he expressed some concern over a tiny aspect of the rule.

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  • The idea of limiting teams to three cars is primarily based on competition. More cars mean more data points for teams to use to improve their equipment, giving big teams an advantage.
  • However, Denny Hamlin pointed out that NASCAR’s current four-car teams, Hendrick and Gibbs, would be “Grandfathered in” to stay as four-car teams. Does that tip the scales too far in favor of those teams?
  • Fans have various opinions on this idea. Some are in favor, but others are not.

The Disadvantage to Smaller Teams

Hamlin discussed the idea of Hendrick and Gibbs being “Grandfathered in” as four-car teams, while other teams, like his team, 23XI Racing, would be limited to three cars. Hamlin notes that this would be a major competitive advantage for both Hendrick and Gibbs.

if you cap it at three and say, ‘that’s all you can do 23XI. you can only be three for the rest of your lives’, I’m going to say, ‘well ,okay, how am I going to beat Gibbs and Hendrick then?’ I mean, it’ll be tough, and especially if they’re trying to put some sort of salary cap or something into this thing, [four-car teams] are going to have more resources. The numbers are going to just keep going. The more you have, the more you have.

Denny Hamlin

Hamlin is correct that bigger, four-car teams tend to dominate the sport. No single-car team has won a Cup Series Championship since Dale Earnhardt in 1994. Currently, seven of the top eight in Cup Series points are Hendrick Motorsports or Joe Gibbs Racing drivers, with the lone exception being Tyler Reddick, from the Gibbs’-aligned 23XI Racing.

However, will NASCAR allow HMS and JGR to be four-car teams forever and ever until the end of time? In 2005, when NASCAR set the cap at four teams, they forced Roush Racing to downsize from five cars to four when contracts ran out following the 2009 season. Hamlin’s concern, while fair, might not be as big of a deal as it could.

Hamlin later pointed out that 23XI does pay to have an alliance with JGR to get some of that vital information. Obviously, that costs a lot of money, and Hamlin also pointed out that “It would take us forever to come into the sport and be competitive” without this alliance. Despite this alliance, due to the resources JGR has, he believes that being a bigger team will “always be an advantage.”

What Is NASCAR’s Grand Plan?

Denny Hamlin also gave his thoughts on what NASCAR wants to gain from limiting the amount of cars a team can get. The fewer cars a team has, the more charters are available for newer owners. While he doesn’t know exactly what NASCAR could gain from this, he believes it could help NASCAR exert more control over the team owners.

They don’t want to have six to seven owners…They don’t want to have 10 owners, right? They want to have 20, 15, 20. That’s going to be hard to achieve, but I don’t know why they want so many. Maybe it’s because if you have less it’s easier for [owners] to get on the same page and have the same ideas and ideals, and you know when they want something you have to listen to that smaller group, but I’m not really sure.

Denny Hamlin

Hamlin is theorizing here, so we can’t say this is happening, but his logic is understandable. The counter to that would be that other sports leagues have more owners alongside a players’ union with maybe a gargantuan amount of players compared to 36 drivers and maybe 10 or 15 team owners. Those other leagues found a way to organize.

Either way, this is just a theory from Hamlin, but Hamlin is more confident in one thing. He believes that NASCAR is after certain types of potential owners. Hamlin did not say what specific types of owners he is after.

I think that they believe that there are drivers just wanting to be Nascar Cup Series owners. They [NASCAR] don’t want some owners, but they want other owners, and so I think that they would like to have the opportunity for those other owners to come in. But, I don’t I think until they change the business model for u, one’s going to want to do that. Those other owners I speak of have tried it and gone out of business

Denny Hamlin

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Hamlin is trying to say here. However, it does illustrate that NASCAR wants to see more car owners in the sport.

What do you think about all this? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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