Changes are coming to NASCAR for the 2016 season with the charter system finally being introduced. The deal, which will run for nine years, was announced on Tuesday by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.
Teams with a charter can guarantee spots for every race in a season, making solidifying sponsors easier. The updated model will reduce the field from 43 cars down to 40 qualifying spots, making the chances of earning a spot in most races difficult for teams without a charter.
NASCAR needed to make the announcement this week with the Sprint Unlimited and Daytona 500 qualifying kicking off Speedweeks this weekend. Before the 2016 season gets underway, here’s a look at what changes under the charter system from a business standpoint.
- Charters are awarded to individual cars, not teams alone. Owners can have up to four charters per team.
- Charters must be used at every race in order for owners to keep the charter.
- Charters can only be sold once every five years and must be for the entire season.
- Owners must remain in “good standing” to maintain charter on a yearly basis.
- 36 charter teams are awarded guaranteed spots for each of the 36 races. Teams without charters will have to qualify for remaining four spots in the field.
Performance-based incentives were spoken about, but no specifics were announced by the executives. France simply said, “If you have the talent and aspirations, you can still join NASCAR.”
Rob Kauffman, the man behind the entire deal and a Chip Ganassi Racing investor, said the charters will be on a “use it or lose it” basis. Simply put, owners must attend every race or expect to lose that charter.
Teams with charters are as follows:
- Hendrick Motorsports (4)
- Richard Childress Racing (3)
- Roush Fenway Racing (3)
- Joe Gibbs Racing (3)
- Stewart-Haas Racing (3)
- Team Penske (2)
- Richard Petty Motorsports (2)
- Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (2)
- Michael Waltrip Racing (2)
- BK Racing (2)
- Front Row Motorsports (2)
- Furniture Row Racing (1)
- JTG Daugherty Racing (1)
- Tommy Baldwin Racing (1)
- Germain Racing (1)
- Go FAS Racing (1)
- Premium Motorsports (1)
- Circle Sport Racing (1)
- HScott Motorsports (1)
Kauffman, a former co-owner for Michael Waltrip Racing, said the two spots for the now defunct team will likely go to Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing. Both Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch are currently without charters for the Daytona 500, but that will likely change before the weekend.