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Spire Motorsports Owner on Charters: Teams are “Unified”

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

Spire Motorsports Co-Owner Jeff Dickerson joined the Business of Motorsports Podcast with Kelly Earnhardt Miller on Wednesday, and the charter agreement reappeared. While Dickerson said the teams are “Unified” in the four topics in the news, he says teams are less unified on the “Tactics.”

  • NASCAR and the teams are embroiled in negotiations about the current charter agreement. The agreement runs through the end of 2024, and, if no deal is reached, NASCAR could revoke the charters of race teams.
  • Some team owners have been more outspoken than others. Dickerson has been quieter on charters to this point, which could contribute to teams’ disagreement on “Tactics.”
  • Fans are hoping to see a charter agreement get done. They don’t want to see the sport go down the bad road it could if the deal doesn’t get done.

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What Dickerson Had to Say

Dickerson was asked how united of a front the teams currently pose. He said that they are unified as far as the 4 major things the teams want.

teams are unified on Four Points…That is 100%. These are the four points for the 16 chartered teams.

Jeff Dickerson

According to The Athletic, these points are as follows: permanent or “Evergreen” charters, more revenue for race teams, more revenue from “New business opportunities,” and a larger influence in NASCAR’s decision-making.

That’s not new, but what Dickerson followed up with is where it gets interesting. He feels that teams currently disagree on how to get what they want.

It’s the tactics I think where everybody’s not unified…I think, you know, like we talked about, regular sports leagues and, ‘hey this is how they do it here and this is how they do it here’, and that’s right that’s how it should be. That’s not here.

Jeff Dickerson

It’s common for race team owners to compare NASCAR to other sports. Other sports leagues have franchises, and the team owners know their teams will be in the sport every year and get a guaranteed amount of money. That doesn’t exist in NASCAR as long as the charter system is not permanent.

James Polk of 23XI Racing alluded to this in the most recent charter update on The Athletic. He compared the current NASCAR business model to someone like Jerry Jones having to “Periodically renew” his Dallas Cowboys ownership.

According to Dickerson, it’s just not that simple. He explained why.

As much as we want it to be like every sports league, it’s not. It’s family-owned, and that’s just how it is. You know this as much as I do, it’s a privilege to be in this sandbox, and that’s just how it goes right. We’ve all been called to the NASCAR hauler and know that this sport can go on without us, and that’s true

Jeff Dickerson

NASCAR has historically not been run like other sports leagues. Primarily, NASCAR has been a free enterprise where anyone with the proper equipment and a qualified driver can bring a car in at any time to race. While the charter system was a bit of a break from tradition, the 4 open entry slots available in every race allow people with the necessary equipment to race in the Cup Series.

As a result, NASCAR has always had significantly more power over the race teams. The France family owns NASCAR, and they make the rules. The race teams need to fall in line because NASCAR has decades of brand identity, alongside the ownership of tracks and races. We discussed in the article below just how difficult it is for race teams to find other options if they split from NASCAR.

It seems Dickerson is resigned to the fact that NASCAR holds most, if not all, of the leverage in this situation, even if the race teams are unified in their goals. It will be interesting to see how this agreement shakes out.

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