Should underperforming NASCAR teams be “relegated”?

I have only recently begun to learn a little bit about how the English Premier League works from a co-worker who has explained some of it to me. One aspect of that soccer league that interests me is that an underperforming team can be “relegated” to a lower division in favor of one of the teams from that lower division being boosted up to the top level. Hearing about that got me thinking about NASCAR.

Recently, a group of NASCAR Cup Series owners stated that the charters they receive should become permanent. Currently, there are 36 charters split among 16 organizations. Those charters provide a guarantee that each chartered car will make the field for every race and will receive a share of the television revenue generated by the sport.

Those charters require renewals but the team owners are asking NASCAR to make them permanent. The current system was introduced in 2016. Charters can be sold or leased if the owner is inclined to do so.

Instead of that, how about making the teams earn the right to keep their charters rather than having them be made permanent?

As it stands now, there is no incentive, beyond simply having a desire to win, for an organization to improve itself. What if, like the English Premier League, those teams who underperform run the risk of losing their charters, or of being “relegated” so to speak?

That is not to say that the team would have to go down to the NASCAR Xfinity Series or the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. They could still race in the NASCAR Cup Series but without the guarantees that come with a charter.

Furthermore, an entire organization might not lose all of its charters, just the one being used for a car that isn’t keeping pace over an extended period of time.

Such a revocation of charters might not have to happen on a year-by-year basis but could instead occur when a team has finished well outside the top-30 in the final standings for two or three consecutive seasons. This is not meant to pick on any particular organization but if a team week-after-week shows up and qualifies on the back of the grid then runs at or near the back of the pack they could be in jeopardy of surrendering that guarantee so that it might be sold to someone who would potentially field a more competitive car.

Obviously, the teams would not be in favor of such a move. And more, some might see it as a way of making the strong even stronger if a team with less than four charters such as Team Penske or Trackhouse, were to snap up a suddenly available charter. But such a system could also encourage every organization to put the best possible product on the race track.

This is the complete opposite of what the teams want but what they want may not be the best for the sport.

Charters, or franchising, is here to stay in some form or another. The chartered teams like it while some fans and those without charters do not. Incorporating some form of incentive that could also add drama for the TV networks at the same time could satisfy many.

Please consider also reading:

The Indianapolis 500 ended the way it should have ended

Richard Allen has been covering NASCAR and other forms of motorsports since 2008.

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