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Is it time for NASCAR to study again the concept of franchising Sprint Cup teams?

  Remember team owner Bud Moore, here (L) with Bobby Allison after winning the Daytona 500? A franchise would have given him some equity in stock car racing when he wanted to get out, instead of just a shop filled with machinery and used cars. (Photo: Daytona Racing Archives)

   By Mike Mulhern

   With the U.S. economy still only sluggishly recovering, and stock car teams struggling to deal with sponsorship issues, the idea of franchising NASCAR teams is being heard once again.
   NASCAR executives have long resisted the concept of franchising – say, like the National Football League works – though team owners like Felix Sabates have been strong advocates of the move, as a way of ensuring sponsors, and potential sponsors, that a team would indeed not be shut out of any of the Sprint Cup tour's 36 events.
   NASCAR's top-35 rule, which ensures the top-35 in the standings a spot in the field, has been a defacto franchising rule. It was created back when there were more top sponsored teams, and after a couple of those high-dollar teams didn't qualify for races, aggravating sponsors.
   Now, however, there has been a sharp reduction in top teams:
   The current Ganassi-Sabates-Earnhardt operation, which won the Daytona 500 with driver Jamie McMurray, is a two-car operation now, but the partners two years ago ran seven teams, only to have to cut back.
   The Richard Childress operation, for another, has had to cut back from four teams to three this season, with the loss of sponsor Jack Daniels.
   Another example is the recent 'merger' of the Robby Gordon team and the formerly idled Beth Ann Morgenthau team.
   Too, the Richard Petty/George Gillett four-car operation has 'merged,' in some way, with the Doug Yates two-car operation.
   How any NASCAR franchising program might work is ripe for debate. In one scenario, team owners could pay NASCAR a franchising fee for each team. Whether or not NASCAR officials would like to impose limits on how many such teams any one man or company might want is unclear. Currently NASCAR is limiting owners to four teams.
   What other rules NASCAR might want to impose – say, on the potential resale of a franchise – is also unclear.
   What NASCAR has done in recent years is to persuade newcomers to the sport to buy into an existing team.
   Part of the franchising debate goes back to the 'Bud Moore' issue: Moore fielded a NASCAR team for decades, but when he fell on hard times, he – and others – realized that, despite all those years in the sport, team owners like that had earned no 'equity.'
   If Moore's team, for example, were a franchise, then he could have sold that franchise, giving him equity.
   One potential major problem for NASCAR would be how to select those men allowed to buy a franchise. Should anyone who currently has a full-time team be allowed to buy a franchise? Or should anyone – say, like the Woods – who has fielded teams in NASCAR for a number of years be given the option too, even if not running a full-time team at the present, because of sponsorship issues.

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  Teresa Earnhardt (R, with daughter Taylor) once ruled a four-team DEI, but was forced to merge. Franchising might have made a difference (Photo: Teresa Earnhardt)


I'm totally against

I'm totally against franchising. I would like to see the complete opposite. Best 43 cars get in the field each week. No Top 35 rule. No Champion's provisional. Improve qualifying procedures. Qualifying races at every track, or top 10 from time trials and the rest have to race their way in.

Franchising is basically what you have now, with the main teams guaranteed to get in every week and never having to worry about missing the show. Put that pressure on every team, and not just the "go-or-go homers". That would make for some more interesting weekends.

I agree. Let the fastest 43

I agree. Let the fastest 43 cars race. No Champion's provisionals. If an unsponsored car out qualifies a sponsored one, let the sponsor "piggyback" on the unsponsored car or even allow that slowest driver to drive.

Case in point, In 2000, unsponsored Carl Long/Mansion Motorsports cut a deal to let Darrell Waltrip drive Long's car in the Coke-Cola 600 in which DW wasn't fast enough to make the show.

No to Franchising

It is too late for such things now, it would be another way to help the big teams that have dominated the sport. In fact if I had my way the top 35 rule would be done away with also. I am not saying have provisionals for the top teams, however it is not fair to let faster cars go home as the present system does every week.

qualifying races: if it's a

qualifying races: if it's a draw at daytona, it could be a draw everywhere....and forces teams to set up to race, not just do three hours of single-file runs.

Go or go home.........everyone (Yes you too Jr and Jimmie)

Have 2 qualifying sessions and everyone must qualify on speed. Give points to the fastest speeds. Set the front of the field on Friday, remaining spots on Saturday. If you're Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jr or Jimmie and you car isn't fast enough to get into the field after 2 qualifying sessions, sorry see you next week. This thought that all the stars have to make the race is a cop out. If you are a fan of Nascar, you will still watch the races even if your driver doesn't make it. If you don't then you are just a casual fan or a fan of a driver only and I wouldn't consider you a race fan anyway.

i like the idea of points for

i like the idea of points for qualifying....but then i'd really rather see qualifying races instead of single runs. say one qualifier for the top 35, and a second (saturday maybe) for the rest....

No To Points For Qualifying

Qualifying means nothing - it sets the starting order. It should not pay anything because it has no bearing on the race. And the idea of "Top 43 who qualify on speeds" argument doesn't work either because the sport is gaining nothing from sending teams home after qualifying.

The day - i.e. season - Hendrick's cars go a season where all four of his entries have at least two DNQs apiece is the day the sport has broken the monopolies. Only then should qualifying be taken seriously.

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