SBD/August 22, 2014/Franchises

MWR To Commute Between Charlotte, Bristol This Weekend In Cost-Saving Move

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MWR eliminated 28 rooms it would have to rent for the weekend by flying to Bristol
With an eye on the bottom line, Michael Waltrip Racing has decided not to stay in Bristol, Tenn., for this Saturday's Sprint Cup race. The team for the first time will fly execs, pit crews and staff from Charlotte to Bristol and back this Friday and Saturday night. The move will save the team an estimated $15,000-16,000. The cost-saving initiative comes at a time when Sprint Cup teams are looking to reduce what they spend annually. Eighteen teams recently banded together to form the Race Team Alliance, a business association designed to help teams cut costs by collectively negotiating fees for fuel, aviation and other products and services. MWR Exec VP & CFO Larry Johns said, “We started out with a bigger project, looking at our aviation department and the cost per seat to go to a race. One way we could lower our cost was to increase utilization. We said, 'Where else could we increase our use of the plane where we’re not?' We said Bristol would work. It’s right near the top of the chart when it comes to (hotel charges) and three night minimum.” Hotels in Bristol cost $300 a night, and by flying, MWR eliminated 28 rooms it would have to rent for the weekend. The total hotel costs would have topped $25,000. Instead, it will charter flights to-and-from the track for $5,000 an hour. Joe Gibbs Racing made the same decision last year, Johns said. He added, “I was able to convince the competitive side of the house that it’s doable and another team had done it and survived. It’s going to save us and it all adds up.”
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