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Why Rick Ware Racing Could Be in Danger of Losing a Car in 2024

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Rick Ware Racing could be in a rather treacherous charter situation, and it could throw NASCAR’s Silly Season for a major loop. What is the conundrum at Rick Ware Racing?

Rick Ware Racing’s Charter Situation

Rick Ware Racing currently holds two charters for their #15 car and their #51 car. The #15 car sits in 33rd in the owner’s standings, +5 over 34th, and the #51 car sits in 35th in the owner’s standings -10 behind 33rd. Now, why are those stats significant? That is because of this rule that NASCAR has in regard to the current charter system.

Charter teams are held to a minimum performance standard. If a Charter team finishes in the bottom three of the owner standings among all 36 Charter teams for three consecutive years, NASCAR has a right to remove the charter.

NASCAR.com

The #51 charter currently sits in the bottom three amongst chartered race teams, and the #15 car currently sits just five points above the Spire Motorsports #77 car for that bottom three. Here is a look at where these RWR race teams have finished in owner points over the last two seasons plus where they are this year.

#15

  • 2021: 35th
  • 2022: 34th
  • 2023: 33rd

#51

  • 2021: 34th
  • 2022: 35th
  • 2023: 35th

By this rule and these points standings, that would put the #15 car in danger if they fall back into 34th in the standings. The #51 Car is actually safe in 2023 because the bottom three chartered teams finished 35th, 36th, and 38th in the standings, but, finishing in the bottom three seemingly puts the car in jeopardy for 2025 if they struggle in 2024.

However, there is an extra wrinkle to add to this scenario. The #15 car and #51 car each have different charters from what they did in 2021 and 2022. The #15 car was the #52 charter in 2021 and #51 in 2022 while the #51 car was the #15 charter in 2021 and 2022. Here is where these respective charters finished in the standings along with where it sits now.

#15 Charter

  • 2021: 33rd
  • 2022: 35th
  • 2023: 33rd

#51 Charter

  • 2021: 35th
  • 2022: 34th
  • 2023: 35th

In this scenario, the #51 charter is seemingly in jeopardy since it would be the same charter finishing in the bottom three with the same owner three years in a row. Now, the rule does not specify whether or not the performance standard is based on the car performance or the charter, but, given that RWR swapped charters, it seems it is based on the charters. Regardless, a car could be in jeopardy no matter the scenario.

If both cars finish in the bottom three, then it is possible that a charter could be revoked. If one of the two finishes in the bottom three, it depends on NASCAR’s interpretation of the rule, which, NASCAR does not release its rulebook to the public. This uncertainty would explain why Justin Haley has not been assigned a car number by Rick Ware Racing for the 2024 season. If NASCAR were to remove a charter, then what would happen?

What Happens if the Charter is Revoked?

There is no precedent for this as NASCAR has never revoked a charter before, and, again, they do not release their rulebook to the public. It is also important to note that NASCAR does not HAVE to remove a charter in this disaster scenario, rather, they have the right to. There are a couple of potential ways that this could go.

One, the charter goes into the open market, and NASCAR sells to the highest bidder. It is also possible that NASCAR puts a price tag on the charter, allows teams to apply for it, and makes a decision from there on who to give the charter to.

The highest bidder has the issue of some teams having an advantage due to having deeper pockets than others. The other option has the potential issue of NASCAR interfering in which race team to give a charter, and that could create some major animosity between NASCAR and the race teams that do not get the charter.

Regardless, if a charter is revoked, it will set up a massive firestorm as race teams try to grasp that charter unless the system is revoked. NASCAR and the teams have yet to officially make the charter system permanent, so, it is entirely possible that nothing will happen if the system no longer exists. However, the recent acquisition of the Live Fast Motorsports charter by Spire Motorsports shows that the system has a good chance of continuing partially because the teams want it to.

Regardless, Rick Ware Racing is in a situation that could blow up into major Silly Season drama if NASCAR goes the route of removing a charter.

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