|Many of NASCAR's team owners are well past retirement age|
NASCAR has struggled to bring new owners to the track this season? Through 17 races, only 43 different cars have made an attempt to qualify. That’s easily the smallest number in modern NASCAR history for the Cup Series.
Just a decade ago, the starting grid was 43, not 40 while 48-50 cars were routinely showing up to qualify. Now, the field has been consolidated with an ownership group that’s increasingly showing its age.
Take a look at the breakdown done by Frontstretch of these 43 cars who have made an attempt. They’re owned by just two dozen people, most of whom are old.
Wood Brothers: 1 car, owned part/full-time since 1953 (owned by Wood family, various ages)
Richard Childress: 3 cars, owned full-time since 1976 (age 71)
Rick Hendrick: 4 cars, owned full-time since 1984 (turns age 68 next week)
Jack Roush: 2 cars, owned full-time since 1988 (age 75)
TriStar Motorsports: 1 car, owned full-time on-and-off since 1989 (owner Mark Smith)
Roger Penske: 2 cars, owned full-time since 1991 (age 80)
Joe Gibbs: 4 cars, owned full-time since 1992 (age 76)
Joe Falk: 1 car, owned full-time on-and-off since 1997 (age 65)
Chip Ganassi: 2 cars, owned full-time since 2001 (age 59)
Gene Haas/Tony Stewart: 4 cars, around in some form since 2002 (Gene Haas is age 64, Stewart is 46)
Front Row Motorsports: 2 cars, owned full-time since 2005 (owner Bob Jenkins)
Furniture Row Racing: 2 cars, owned part/full-time since 2005 (owner Barney Visser, age 67)
JTG Daugherty Racing: 2 cars, owned full-time since 2009 (owner Tad Gaeschickter, age 51)
Richard Petty Motorsports: 1 car, owned full-time since 2009 (owner Andrew Murstein, age 52)
Germain Racing: 1 car, owned full-time since 2009 (owner Bob Germain)
Leavine Family Racing: 1 car, owned part/full-time since 2011 (owned by Bob Leavine and multiple investors)
BK Racing: 2 cars, owned full-time since 2012 (owner Ron Devine)
Go FAS Racing: 1 car, owned full-time since 2012 (owner Archie St. Hilaire)
Premium Motorsports: 2 cars, owned full-time since 2014 (owner Jay Robinson, age 57)
Tommy Baldwin Racing: 1 car, owned full-time since 2009 (now part-time, owner age 50)
Rick Ware Racing: 1 car, debuted in Cup 2017 (owner Rick Ware, age 56)
Beard Motorsports: 1 car, debuted in Cup 2017 (owner Mark Beard, age 68)
Motorsports Business Management: 1 car, debuted in Cup 2017 (owner Carl Long, age 49)
Gaunt Brothers Racing: 1 car, debuted for one race in Cup 2017 (owner Marty Gaunt)
In summary, of the 38 cars competing full-time, only three of those owners have entered the Cup Series within the last five years. None of them are in serious playoff contention while one (Ron Devine) was reported to have a tax lien on the business in May.
Whittling it down to the teams in playoff contention, all are driving for owners who have been in the sport a decade or more. While that can lead to financial stability, partially driven by the sport’s charter system that can also portray a sense it’s impossible to challenge the top teams.