NASCAR teams could soon host exhibition races, without NASCAR

Teams are currently looking for more revenue as contract negotiations are ongoing

The Race Team Alliance (RTA) and NASCAR are currently in negotiations regarding a new contract that would be put in place in 2025. NASCAR’s licencing and tv contracts expire at the end of the 2024 season.

Fox and NBC have the right to make the first bid to renew those tv deals. However, at the same time, the RTA will need to sign a new contract with NASCAR itself.

NASCAR teams are currently funded mostly by sponsorship. Owners have stated that this is a failed business model (see Kyle Busch) and that teams need a much larger portion of the tv revenue via purse money to operate.

The RTA is an organization featuring all the charter teams. They formed to have a larger voice when speaking with NASCAR and aiding in the direction of the sport to protect their investments.

Earlier this year, lines from those negotiations went public. As the RTA is seeking more money for the teams, NASCAR came back with a minimal increase in revenue share for the teams. They also laid out a further plan to help reduce costs.

With that response from NASCAR, members of the RTA went public. Multiple members stated that NASCAR and the RTA were “far apart” in regards to a new contract.

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RTA is exploring exhibition races outside of NASCAR

Kaulig Racing - NASCAR Next Gen - Charlotte Motor Speedway - Garage
Kaulig Racing – NASCAR Next Gen – Charlotte Motor Speedway – Garage (Photo: Alejandro Alvarez | NASCAR Digital Media)

Now in a stunning new development, it appears that the RTA is taking a new approach…

Wasserman U.S. managing director of Will Pleasants told the Sports Business Journal they’ve, “been hired to explore exhibition race opportunities, both domestically and internationally — very exploratory.”

With this news, the RTA has now publicly stated that they’re exploring hosting races outside of the NASCAR sanction while using top NASCAR talent. That’s a worrisome development.

And those exhibition events could begin as soon as the 2023 off-season.

This is likely just a leverage tool, for now. Yet it could turn into a nightmare for the sport as we’ve already seen the disaster scenario play out in INDY and CART, a scenario in which NASCAR was the winner.

RTA teams are not allowed to run events in NASCAR machines, without NASCAR acting as the sanction in said events, per contracts that currently expire in 2024. However, there’s a loophole for teams to set up their own events, in non-NASCAR cars. The new SRX series is an example of similar cars that NASCAR teams could run.

A similar situation played out this year in the world of Golf. Many of the world’s top players left the PGA Tour for a new LIV Golf Series which paid significantly more to their players. The PGA responded by banning those players from any PGA events yet they’ve also increased revenue share to their own players as a result of the competing league. The sport of Golf is now divided.

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RTA Negotiating Committee

Steve Newark
President RFK Racing

Curtis Polk
Co-Owner 23XI Racing

Dave Alpern
President Joe Gibbs Racing

Jonathan Marshall
Executive Director Race Team Alliance

Jeff Gordon
Vice Chairman and Co-Owner Hendrick Motorsports

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