Formation Of RTA Could Be "Worst Nightmare" For NASCAR's France Family
An ESPN roundtable discussed the recently formed Race Team Alliance, with ESPN.com's Ed Hinton saying it is the "worst nightmare" for the France family, which owns NASCAR. Hinton: "Just the idea of those nine teams' haulers pulling out of a garage area on a Friday or Saturday amounts to a nuclear deterrent. ... It's a matter of time until the RTA gets a much larger share of TV money, gathers veto power over technical rules changes, exerts pressure on scheduling." ESPN.com's Brant James added, "This should be a disconcerting move for NASCAR. ... A main goal could or should be to form a wedge against the sanctioning body's penchant for luring away team sponsors. Offering a potential sponsor a raft of race cars from Hendrick, Team Penske, Stewart-Haas et al could be compelling, and a better deal than signing on with a faceless sanctioning body." ESPN The Magazine's Ryan McGee: "My first reaction was to wonder what took so long for this to happen. ... There would be benefits to the smaller teams getting on board." ESPN.com's John Oreovicz added, "I think NASCAR should definitely consider it a warning shot, and the stock car fan base has reason to be worried. ... History tells us that such organizations can be good or bad for a sport." ESPN's Marty Smith: "I make that powerful men with leverage just made a power play to protect their interests and their assets. ... I believe at its foundation the RTA is first and foremost based on the desire of the owners to receive more television revenue" (ESPN.com, 7/8).
POWER PLAY: In Greensboro, Ed Hardin writes a union in NASCAR is a "down-right dangerous thing," and the RTA is "treading lightly around the word and the concept." Hardin: "But let’s be clear about this: The new alliance is a collaboration of the nine largest race-team owners with by-laws and an executive committee with a common agenda. That’s a union." NASCAR "will hate this." The RTA said that it is "not trying to start a fight, but it's probably going to get one" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 7/9). In Orlando, George Diaz wrote the RTA's formation is "all about power and leverage." While the RTA can "say one of its primary intents is saving a few bucks on hotel bills, there seems to be a bigger play here" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 7/8).
ALL FOR ONE, ONE FOR ALL: Richard Petty, whose Richard Petty Motorsports is one of the nine teams that is part of the RTA, said the group is "like a co-op." Petty: "If you have a farmer's co-op, you got big farmers, you got medium farmers and you got little bitty farmers." With the RTA, the "small teams get the same advantage as the big teams." Petty said, "The big deal is everybody will be a little bit more organized. We're going to work that much harder -- not only to help our sponsors, which we're doing anyway, but we're going to try to make NASCAR even bigger than what it is. ... If we can co-op a lot of this stuff, then everything will get bigger and better and basically, the teams are the ones that have to make the investment in NASCAR and this is a way that we see that we can help each other and as we help each other, it's going to help NASCAR" ("NASCAR America," NBCSN, 7/8).