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Team Owner SLAMS NASCAR Over Financial Model

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

In the wake of social conversation regarding work-life balance in NASCAR, Tommy Joe Martins, team owner of Alpha Prime Racing, gave his thoughts on social media. He gave his thoughts in a social media thread, and we broke down everything he said.

  • Tommy Joe Martins’ comments came in the wake of a tweet by Sirius XM NASCAR Radio’s Pete Pistone. Pistone’s comments mentioned that NASCAR teams were having trouble filling positions because of the commitment required in the sport.
  • Tommy Joe Martins is the team owner of Alpha Prime Racing, which fields three cars in the Xfinity Series. Ryan Ellis and Brennan Poole will race full-time for the team in 2024.
  • Fan response this was a bit mixed. Some fans sided with Joe Martins, but, others did not.

The Context: Pete Pistone Tweet

The conversation started early on Wednesday morning when Pete Pistone gave the above post on social media. He mentioned that race teams are having trouble filling in positions because of burnout due to the demanding schedule.

For some context, the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series schedule includes 38 races over 41 weeks. That means race team members are traveling for 38 weekends out of the year. The Xfinity Series is 33 races over 38 weeks, and the Truck Series is 23 races over 38 weeks, so, it’s 33 weekends and 23 weekends for those races respectively.

Those weekends are during the spring, summer, and early autumn months. Kids are out of school during the summer, so team members with families may not spend as much time with kids during that time.

Everything Tommy Joe Martins Had to Say.

In the post at the top of the article, Tommy Joe Martins talks about the reality of bigger teams being able to pay more in benefits and wages to employees. He went on to talk more about finances in the context of Steve Phelps saying teams are losing money.

Steve Phelps did say in the week leading up to the NASCAR Awards in Nashville that race teams at the Cup level specifically are losing money according to Mike Kerchner of Speed Sport. Martins also mentioned that NASCAR builds their model around race teams being “Disposable”. From there, he talked more about wages.

Martins puts some blame on sponsors, drivers, and agencies for not paying more while the costs of everything else go up. The costs of racing have always been a major talking point, and Martins talks about how there seems to be less money coming in but more money being spent.

Martins then goes on to talk about pay for employees of race teams at that level.

He mentions that there are plenty of other ways to make money, but those who want to be in the sport will find a way to make it happen. He also compares NASCAR to other minor levels of professional sports. Wages in other minor professional sports are notoriously low. He later illustrates this point of finding a way by telling his story.

He mentioned how long he worked to get an opportunity to race, and how much money he made compared to others working in the sport. He had to spend 7 years working as an instructor before getting a ride. Next, he finished his thoughts.

He mentioned how he wants to improve the sport, but, it’s hard to do so. He called the finances of the sport “10 kinds of screwed up”. He did not offer any specific ideas or solutions for how to fix the issues he saw.

Was Tommy Joe Martins right in his sentiment? Was he wrong? What is the solution?

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Joshua Lipowski

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