CHARLOTTE — NASCAR race teams, unhappy about the state of financial negotiations with the sanctioning body, took the highly unusual step Friday of bringing their concerns to the media.
Four team representatives — Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports, Dave Alpern of Joe Gibbs Racing, Steve Newmark of Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing and Curtis Polk of 23XI Racing — met with a small group of reporters in an uptown Charlotte hotel to detail their disappointment and dissatisfaction with how NASCAR has reacted to their requests for a “fair” deal beginning with the 2025 charter agreements.
“There’s a total misalignment of interests,” said Polk, who is the longtime advisor for 23XI co-owner Michael Jordan. “As a result, the economic model is broken for the teams. … The sustainability of the teams in this sport is not very long-term unless we have a fundamental change in the model.”
Below, The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck and Jordan Bianchi break down what’s happening, the issues at hand and what it means going forward.
Why are the teams upset?
For most NASCAR teams, sponsorship dollars make up between 60-80 percent of their overall revenue. That means when a brand like Mars Inc. (primarily through its M&M’s brand) decides to pull its millions of dollars in funding, JGR can no longer afford to re-sign a star driver like Kyle Busch unless it finds a new revenue source.
That has placed teams in a precarious position compared to those in other sports. RFK, which is under the Fenway Sports Group umbrella, said Major League Baseball teams have sponsorship account for 8-12 percent of their overall revenue; in the NHL, it’s 17-18 percent. Even in the