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What is The Andretti Family’s Path to NASCAR?

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What’s Happening?

On Wednesday, the motorsports world erupted after the FIA controversially rejected the Andretti family from fielding a Formula One team. In the wake of this move, many fans of both the Andretti’s and NASCAR suggested that the team try looking at NASCAR. If that were to happen, what is their path?

  • In June of 2023, Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal reported that Michael Andretti, who runs Andretti Autosport, was looking at entering NASCAR. However, Stern also mentioned that Andretti had previously told Forbes that he wanted to get into Formula One first.
  • While the Andretti family has primarily made their fortune in open-wheel racing, they have had a presence in NASCAR. Mario won the 1967 Daytona 500, and John won 2 career NASCAR Cup Series races. Mario’s grandson, Marco, has begun dabbling in NASCAR as well with 3 Craftsman Truck Series starts in 2023 for Spire Motorsports.
  • Fans would be very excited to see the Andretti family entering the sport. Many NASCAR fans and motorsport fans appreciate the impact the family has had on the sport, and it would be fun to see them on the NASCAR grid.

Getting a Charter

If Andretti wants to enter into NASCAR by themselves, they need to purchase a charter. In 2023, 23 of the 36 Cup Series races saw only the 36 chartered teams enter. The reality is that it is difficult to compete as a purely open team in modern NASCAR.

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The Athletic reported that Spire Motorsports bought Live Fast Racing’s charter in the fall of 2023 for $40 million. That’s a lot of money, but, that is nothing compared to the entry fee for Formula One. According to Sportcal, new teams need to pay a $200 million entry fee to enter the sport.

As expensive as NASCAR is, it’s not nearly as expensive as getting involved in Formula One. Andretti was prepared to pay that entry fee, so, ponying up $40-$50 million for a charter does not seem like that big of a hurdle.

The issue is who to buy the charter from. For now, no one is actively selling their charter, so, Andretti will have to wait until later in the season when teams may either look at selling or NASCAR looks at repossessing a charter. As far as exactly where to buy from, we’re going to have to wait and see.

Partnering with Another Race Team

If there are no charters available for Andretti to purchase, they could look at partnering up with another race team. The most obvious choice would be Spire Motorsports.

Spire Motorsports is a Chevrolet team, and Andretti was working with General Motors on the Formula One effort. Spire also has a partnership with Gainbridge, who also sponsors Andretti Autosport. Not to mention the family connection with Marco racing for Spire in 2023.

Should Spire not work out, Andretti could look at a key partner Chevrolet team like Trackhouse, Hendrick, or RCR. Trackhouse is already expanding on its own, so partnering with another race team may be a bit much for them. Hendrick is already a 4 car team, so, they do not have much room to expand. RCR could be an interesting one to partner with, but, RCR already has Kaulig Racing on their campus.

The options are there, but, it would take a massive undertaking for any of these race teams. Then again, if Andretti really wants to join NASCAR, this may be their best route.

Would It Actually Happen?

As of right now, it seems unlikely to happen anytime soon. The Andretti family has made it clear that their first priority is joining Formula One. While the denial meant they could not join as soon as they wanted to, the FIA left the door open to join in 2028 when General Motors joined as an engine supplier.

If Andretti to NASCAR does happen, it will not happen until 2025 at the earliest. However, the interest is definitely there, and the connections are there to make it happen.

Will the Andretti family actually join NASCAR with their own race team sometime soon? The denial of Formula One makes this possibility more likely.

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