DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — Some fans were left with a sour taste in their mouths that Rick Ware Racing could put two cars at the back of the pack in the Duels yet someone like Ty Dillon was forced to go home. See, Derrike Cope, the winner of the 1990 Daytona 500 and driver who’s not made a Cup Series start here at Daytona in nearly two decades, fell two laps down in just 27 laps on Thursday night. He nearly caused a melee on the backstretch towards the end with how slow he was going on the apron.
Meanwhile, Dillon finished sixth in his Duel and missed out on one of the four open spots into the Daytona 500 by a couple of feet.
How is that fair?
I get the charter aspect. While it has made it hard to break into the sport’s premiere series since there’s only 36 of these, it’s also made it more like stick-and-ball sports too. There’s only so many NFL, NBA or MLB teams. Each are privately owned.
Why can’t NASCAR have that?
They’re drawing attention from new partners wanting to jump in too. We have three new teams alone in the Cup Series this year and two of those are Michael Jordan and Pitbull. They’re replacing some teams that have departed too. So, how can these teams make it to where the past teams didn’t?
That’s the gap that’s needing to be fixed. The big issue is money. The back teams want to win, but they don’t have the money to spend to be competitive. But, they own a charter and can attract sponsors which helps them actually make more money than some of the bigger teams.
See, the bigger teams spend millions to stay up front. They’re not operating on much of a profit. The lower teams throw away the chance of a win to turn a larger profit. In turn, you get backmarker pay to play drivers without any shot in hell at winning.
The aesthetics at times looks bad.
Well, NASCAR is going to really start looking into those backmarkers from now on. After three years, they can start taking Charters away for the bottom dwellers.
“We want to make sure that everyone is bringing a competitive race car to the racetracks. That is something that we are very keen on having. If you’re not competing, this isn’t the right series for you. You should be competing in a different series.
“There are some things that we are undertaking to try to make sure that if there are folks out there who want to compete, want to buy a charter, that they have the ability to do that.
“We have to make sure that we are putting out the best field that we can. Obviously someone needs to finish 40th, right? But we need to make sure that the ones that are finishing 40th don’t continue to be the same cars that are finishing 40th.
“We will look to see what measures we can put in place. We’ve got some things that we have started to look at to make sure that people are bringing competitive cars and they’re running to the best of their ability.
“We have a contractual obligation with our charter system and our owners. Making changes to it are not easy, right?
W”ith that said, there is a provision in the charter that says you need to come and you need to compete. We need to make sure that is happening.
“Whether there is a change to the bottom three rule moving forward, I think that you all have seen some maneuvering that has gone on with respect to the bottom three rule, the ability to have someone lease a charter. It’s not perfect.
“I think the intention of the bottom three rule and leasing, they were not supposed to be tied. I think it’s an unintended consequence to something that we thought was in the right interest. The reason why we had leasing in the first place was if a team that’s been involved for a long time lost a major sponsor, they’d be able to lease that charter for a year, then have it back when they were able to get the sponsor, a new sponsor on that race car. Don’t want to belabor that point.
“There are things we are looking at, are doing that will ensure that people are competing. They have to compete. They need to be competitive on the racetrack.”