Opinion: NASCAR charter system doesn’t just make the rich guys richer

Wildly successful team owners such as Rick Hendrick aren't the only ones who stand to benefit from NASCAR's new charter system.

Bob Leverone/NASCAR via Getty Images

Do you know what these names have in common?

Robert Yates, Teresa Earnhardt, Ray Evernham, Robby Gordon, Bill Saunders, Doug Bawel, Nelson Bowers, Kirk Shelmerdine, Beth Ann Morganthau, Bill Davis, James Finch, Jeff Stec, Cal Wells and Mike Anderson?

These 14 individuals share two things in common.

The first is that each of them was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner who fielded a car that competed in the 2006 Daytona 500.

The second is that none of the 14 is currently a Sprint Cup team owner.

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Let that sink in for a second: One third of the team owners who ran cars in the Daytona 500 just a decade ago are gone from the sport.

That’s appalling.

And it’s also why the new NASCAR charter system is a good thing.

Let’s be blunt about this: For NASCAR management to making such a dramatic philosophical change that runs counter to the way they’ve done business since 1947 is proof that they knew the existing business model for car owners was broken and needed to be fixed. I give them credit for having the guts to do it.

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We still don’t know all the details — NASCAR has promised a full breakdown on Thursday — but we know this landmark deal will be in place for nine years and we know it provides more money and more stability for team owners. That, in turn, will keep current teams more economically viable and will attract new owners into the sport. It’s a good thing.

I’ve seen people on social media complain about how this just makes the rich guys richer.

Nonsense.

If you go back to the 2006 Daytona 500, the winning car owner was Rick Hendrick. Chip Ganassi, Roger Penske, Richard Childress and Joe Gibbs all placed cars in the top 10, and Jack Roush had one that finished 12th. Those guys were successful then, are successful now and will be successful in the future.

What the charter system does is allow the low-buck to medium-funded teams to have the stability to get better and move up the ranks, something that was almost impossible before.

Is it perfect? Of course not. Nothing ever is.

But it’s a step in the right direction to give people who’ve invested everything in this sport a chance to have a little bit of security for their sacrifices. And I say, it’s about damn time.

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