NASCAR formalizes details of revolutionary charter system

NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France is the sport's third-generation leader.

David Becker/NASCAR via Getty Images

In one of the most significant announcements in NASCAR history, chairman and CEO Brian France confirmed that a deal has been struck between the sanctioning body and the Sprint Cup team owners to create a charter system.

In effect as the 2016 NASCAR season prepares to kick off this weekend at Daytona International Speedway, the new charter system addresses three key areas — participation, governance and economics — to promote a more predictable, sustainable and valuable team business model.

Each of the 36 Cup teams that has attempted to qualify for every race since 2013 will be given a charter by NASCAR that will guarantee them a spot in each week’s Sprint Cup race. Fields will be reduced from 43 cars to 40, with four open spots each week to go along with the 36 guaranteed ones.

The agreement also establishes a Team Owner Council that will have formal input into decisions, and provides charter teams with new revenue opportunities including a greater interest in digital operations.

Similar to the five-year sanctioning agreements that NASCAR begins with tracks in 2016, team owner charter agreements allow for longer planning cycles around competition, innovation, digital marketing, governance and research and development.