NASCAR charter system needs tweaks
The recent announcement from Go FAS Racing announcing its hiring of Matt DiBenedetto to drive the No. 32 Ford in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition for 2017 included details on a shuffling of charters. Go FAS Racing had, apparently, already leased its charter to the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford team by the time of DiBenedetto’s hiring. In turn, Go FAS then leased, for one year, the charter under which Richard Petty Motorsports fielded the No. 44 Ford in 2016.
Under rules governing the charter system now in place, NASCAR reserves the right evaluate the performance of race teams holding charters and revoke the charters of poor performing teams. But, if I’m understanding this system correctly, judging by various comments made by those involved with teams in such charter shuffles, evaluatable results from year to year travel from team to team, along with the charters.
If that’s the case, I think that’s a flaw in the charter system. Among teams with charters, I think if NASCAR considers revoking a charter or two based on performance, the decision should be made solely based on a specific chartered team’s performance over the course of three years, not the team(s) that charter has been held by over the course of the three-year period.
If poor results follow the charters instead of staying with the race teams, what’s to keep a team from playing the system by leasing its charter to a better team for a year to up the average performance of its charter in an effort to prevent losing said charter? Heck, maybe that idea even played into what Go FAS Racing is doing. While it uses a charter from a non-active RPM team next year, its charter is being used by the consistently better-performing Wood Brothers Racing team in 2017. That’s bound to improve the, overall, performance under that charter. Food for thought.
I do agree that teams need to be kept in check to make sure charters are being used, at least mostly, by the car owners in possession of them and those teams need to be expected to perform at a certain level, but I think a tweak or two is needed to keep underperforming teams from taking advantage of the system. Performance expectations need to fall on the teams, not bounce around with the charters.