Jeff Hammond questions 'real agenda' of new Race Team Alliance
JUL 09, 2014 9:04a ET
The news came out this week that the top nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owners have gotten together and formed what they call the R.T.A. -- Race Team Alliance. This is uncharted territory to a certain extent in our sport. Probably the biggest question on my mind right now is how will NASCAR, our sanctioning body, react?
I've read a couple NASCAR quotes since the release of the news of the formation. Basically what I hear NASCAR saying is they knew about it while at the same time the sport really doesn't need it because NASCAR's position is they listen to everybody and everybody has a voice in our sport.
This isn't a first, per say, in our sport. Something like this has been tried a couple times way back in the day. I find it interesting that in this 2014 version, the owners use the word "alliance" instead of the word "union" which was used a few decades ago by others.
I don't care whether it's our sport, any other professional sport or just an everyday business, but when you see a group of folks come together and unite under a common banner, it's going to make the folks at the top who are on the other side of the fence a little nervous.
Obviously, these are very smart, successful businessmen that have formed this alliance. I would hope and expect they will walk a little softly and not upset the apple cart too much. It hasn't really worked well in other sports, and I sure would hate to see it mess ours up because of it.
For me personally, I have mixed emotions about this right now. While I can easily see the "pluses," I can just as easily see the "minuses" of it. I want to see if this group has a commitment to the fans and the sport, as it stands today, to be behind it and support it instead of it just being all about them. So initially, I think that is my biggest concern.
It's an interesting dynamic because all these owners are competitors to each other. Let's face it, I want to beat you and you want to beat me. I want to show your sponsor that I am a better investment for their sponsorship dollars, and vice versa. So what you are seeing somewhat is a mixture of oil and water.
It always sounds good to say you are united for the common goal, but face the reality: 43 teams scratch and claw against each other every week at the track and there is always just one winner. So that's why I say I am reluctant and concerned about this. What looks good on the surface doesn't end up looking so good behind closed doors. I just hope and pray they don't lose sight of what is important here and that is the race fans.
If they are truly coming together to try to come up with a plan to be able for all teams to save money across the board and further the sport, well, then I think it is a great thing. How they approach things and what their real agenda is becomes the most important thing to watch, in my mind.