Exclusive: RTA president addresses NASCAR rule changes
Rob Kauffman, the president of the Race Team Alliance and the co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, said Wednesday he’s pleased with NASCAR’s 2015 rules package, which was announced Tuesday.
In an exclusive interview with FOXSports.com, Kauffman said that while the RTA isn’t taking an official position on the new rules package, which includes a total ban on testing, a reduction in horsepower and shorter rear spoilers, the results should be positive for all the teams.
"I think Michael Waltrip Racing will have a seven-figure savings because of the ban on testing," said Kauffman.
Kauffman also said he was pleased at how NASCAR worked with the teams and drivers in crafting the new rules package.
"The communication level is the highest it’s been in the eight years I’ve been in the sport," said Kauffman. "Everyone wants the same things — good racing, rising attendance … saving money is good."
In announcing the new rules package Tuesday, NASCAR said it was looking to improve the quality of racing.
"We have had fantastic racing so far in 2014," said Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR senior vice president of innovation and racing development. "We remain committed to constantly looking to improve it. Our fans deserve it and our industry is pushing for it. That will not stop with the 2015 package; the development will continue over many years to come."
The RTA was formed in July, with the owners looking for ways to help control costs and build long-term value for the teams.
Kauffman said the RTA is already working on a number of initiatives.
"We have a specific working group that’s tasked with quick wins," Kauffman said. Among those are a bulk fuel-supply deal for the Sprint Cup haulers and RVs and a group buy for rental cars.
As for the concern that teams would take the cost savings from not testing and simply apply it elsewhere — more money on computer simulation and seven-post testing, for example — Kauffman said he didn’t think that would happen.
"I’ve heard this folklore many times," said Kauffman. "I find it bizarre. … Some weird NASCAR folklore I can’t quite put my finger on it. If you suddenly start saving money on your electric bill, you’re not going to start spending more money on cable, are you?"
Meanwhile, Kauffman said the RTA would continue working on its plans.
"We intend to be around for many, many years," he said. "The energy level is high, everyone is pulling in the same direction. As a former boss of mine used to say, it’s a process not an event."