SBJ/April 3-9, 2017/Franchises

Front Row departs RTA as Leavine Family Racing joins

There was movement in and out of the Race Team Alliance this past offseason.

Front Row Motorsports, a two-car team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, quietly left the RTA at the end of last year, while one-car team Leavine Family Racing joined, each team has confirmed. Neither of the moves had been previously reported.

Jerry Freeze, general manager of Front Row, didn’t rule out rejoining the group in the future, but said team executives thought the move was currently for the best. “We just had our own internal reasons for not renewing our membership,” Freeze said.

The RTA was founded in mid-2014 as a way for race teams to form a single voice and work together to improve business off the track. Teams pay a mid-five-figure annual fee to be in the group, according to sources.

The RTA was instrumental in helping design and implement NASCAR’s charter system, which overhauled the sport’s ownership structure and was implemented in February 2016.

“After purchasing our charter from (Tommy Baldwin Racing) and formerly being a part-time member of the RTA, we felt it was important to join the RTA as a full-time member,” Jeremy Lange, vice president of Leavine Family Racing, wrote in a text message.

Last year, historic one-car team Wood Brothers Racing announced that it was leaving the RTA in a move believed to be in response to the team not earning a charter. Additionally, the two-car, Denver-based Furniture Row Racing is not in the RTA. The moves by Front Row and Leavine cancel each other out and leave the RTA’s membership at 14 teams.

Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing and an influential member of the RTA, said the organization continues to play a critical role in the sport dealing with issues between teams such as joint marketing and digital opportunities.

— Adam Stern


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