RTA, NASCAR nearing deal on franchising

A new system that would award guaranteed spots to NASCAR race teams could be put into place by the start of 2016. NASCAR chief operations officer Brent Dewar and Race Team Alliance chairman Rob Kauffman both said Wednesday they are "cautiously optimistic" that a deal would get done in time for next season. They spoke during separate sessions of the SportsBusiness Journal Motorsports Marketing Forum, an annual event that coincides with championship week. It appears that any animosity between NASCAR and the RTA from its inception in 2014 has gone away.

"We're close," Kauffman said. "Definitely like most things, the devil is in the details. There is a large amount of contractual stuff. … We are on a good track. We're very collaborative. Some of the early day [infighting] stuff is long gone. There is very productive and collaborative relationship between the sanctioning body and all the teams."

Dewar said that he speaks with Kauffman daily and that NASCAR is committed to giving the owners something that can increase value in their teams and help them sell either pieces or majority portions to interested investors. Neither spilled any details of the plan, which at least initially was targeting a 40-car field with 36 guaranteed spots that would come with a certain portion of the television revenue. The split of television revenue — 65 percent to tracks, 25 percent to teams through the purse and 10 percent to NASCAR — is not expected to change.

"These are big investments, and the more you understand to attract investors into the sport, to attract ownership interests, we need that kind of [deal]," Dewar said. "We support that. We're trying to implement a system in our 66th year, so with that, comes some thoughtful navigation of how to do that." ESPN.com

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