Chairman Brian France hopes the change makes it easier for new teams to compete in Nextel Cup.
By Associated Press
Published October 9, 2005
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - NASCAR plans to limit the number of teams a car owner can field in the Nextel Cup series, chairman Brian France said Saturday.
"We're going to make some adjustments in policy to balance the playing field a little better and really go after new ownership in the industry, really benefit and help ... independent teams that are finding themselves in ever increasing difficulties to compete," France said.
He said the limit would be phased in during the next few seasons.
"It won't happen tomorrow," France said. "But it would phase down from five to four to some other number."
The benefits of running more than one car include having its teams run at different tracks to maximize testing limits, information sharing, multiple sponsorships that provide great resources and, sometimes, on-track cooperation among teammates.
But France said the success of the big teams can be viewed as an obstacle to people contemplating starting a new Cup team. For example, Jack Roush's team has won the past two championships, and all five of his cars are in the 10-race Chase for the Championship.
"We don't like that the independent teams, or in particular a new owner looking at coming in, have a daunting task to compete, and the concept of having to have five teams, three teams ... that's why you haven't seen a lot of new ownership like a Ray Evernham come into the sport," France said.
"That means the opportunities aren't there for young drivers. It means opportunities aren't there to create the next Rick Hendrick and have the success. It ultimately means that we don't field as many competitive cars as we'd like to field. We're going to have to address that."
Roush wasn't happy with the news.
"Responding to the meeting and anything that might have happened in it is something I can't do because I'm ignorant of what happened," Roush said. "The reason I'm ignorant in this case is because I was given neither the consideration nor the courtesy of being consulted or informed of what they'll do or what they might do or what they're considering doing.
"The thing I will say to all the fans and all the sponsors and all the drivers and all the many people that are important to us is that we're committed to this business. We've made a huge investment in it. I've raised myself to do what I'm doing today, as have many people who have put their trust in me, and we won't let them down."
But Roush stopped short of giving NASCAR an ultimatum.
"Having said that," he said, "we will cooperate and participate with NASCAR at any level with any part that they'll let us have to have rules and process and mores that are both understandable, defensible and are in the best interest of the sport and the business."
Jeff Gordon, a four-time Cup champion and owner of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson's car, said the reason there are so many multicar teams is because there haven't been limitations.
"Once you build an organization up, the ability to start another team is so much more efficient for you than to start one up from scratch," Gordon said.