NASCAR Charter Leases Getting Out Of Control

NASCAR adopted a Charter system for teams in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series a few years ago. 2018 will be the third year of a nine year agreement for this new system. Basically the benefit of holding one of the 36 charters is a guaranteed spot among the 40 cars that will start all 36 races in a season. Where that helps is that it guarantees a starting spot, meaning those 36 teams can sell sponsorship on those cars guaranteeing that they will definitely be in every race.

It started out with the No. 19 of Joe Gibbs Racing, the No. 21 of the Wood Brothers, the No. 41 of Stewart-Haas Racing and the No. 46 of HScott Motorsports weren’t awarded charters for the first season of this new system in 2016. They were either new teams or didn’t meet the requirement to obtain one.

But, where movement immediately began was all four of those “cars” ended up with Charters for the first season. They leased them from other teams. Now, it’s gone chaotic since. 

It’s actually now to a point where NASCAR needs to step back in and clean this mess up. The biggest example?

Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 Chevrolet that is driven by Bubba Wallace Jr. this season has a charter, but not from the same No. 43 Chevrolet that he’s driving. That Charter is being leased to Rick Ware Racing and their No. 51 entry. The Charter used by RPM for Wallace’s No. 43 Chevy is the Charter from RPM’s No. 44 Chevy.

One problem. The No. 44 Chevy isn’t going to be run in 2018. In fact, that car hasn’t been on a race track since 2016.

The No. 16 Ford charter for Roush/Fenway Racing was used by the No. 37 Chevrolet from JTG Daugherty Racing last year and now is being used by the No. 12 Ford for Team Penske this season. The No. 12 Ford driven by Ryan Blaney though will use the owners points accumulated last season by Chris Buescher and the No. 37 Chevrolet not from Roush/Fenway Racing, the team they have the charter from.

Confused yet?

If you dig a bit deeper, the charter is tied to the car number and their owner points accumulated for the previous season. So, while the charter that Blaney is using may actually belong to the No. 16 with Roush/Fenway Racing, that “charter” was actually used by Chris Buescher last season. So, the “points” that come with that “charter” is from Buescher, not RFR.

Do you really think the common fan is going to dig that deep?

This is far too confusing.

The Wood Brothers have now obtained a charter by partnering with Go Fas Racing. The charter is theirs for the foreseeable future now. But, Go Fas Racing isn’t selling out, they’re running full time too. So, they have also partnered with Circle Sport to gain the charter from the No. 33 entry and thus have a charter for 2018 and the future now too.

So, the No. 32 charter is being used by the No. 21 Ford and the No. 33 charter is being used by the No. 32 entry.

Again, confused?

Shouldn’t the No. 33 charter be used by the No. 21 Ford and the No. 32 just keep their charter? Shouldn’t the No. 43 Ford by RPM run the No. 43 charter and Rick Ware’s No. 51 entry use RPM’s No. 44 charter?

The reason this is happening is because some of the bigger teams like Roush or Petty or others aren’t running the cars that those charters started out with. They’re recycling them out each year. Now, in order to not lose that charter all together, they’re using loopholes and partnering up with other teams without charters to guarantee them spots in each race but to also keep their charter.

This whole thing is absurd and confusing. It may be time for another simpler change.


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