The first lease of a charter under NASCAR's new ownership agreement is done.
HScott Motorsports has leased the charter granted to Premium Motorsports for the 2016 season. The lease guarantees Michael Annett will have a starting spot in every race in 2016. Premium Motorsports, which is fielding a full-time car for Cole Whitt, will have to qualify on speed every week.
"The new Charter License structure is the result of monumental and unprecedented cooperation between NASCAR and the teams that will further advance the sport into the foreseeable future," owner Harry Scott said in a statement. "The Charter System provides equity and certainty necessary for owners to build a successful business plan and maintain the health of their investment that will benefit fans and sponsors."
HScott was granted a charter for the 2016 season for Clint Bowyer's No. 15 team. To get a charter, a car had to participate full-time in the Cup Series from 2013-2015. HScott expanded to two teams in 2015 when Annett joined Justin Allgaier to form a two-car team.
Teams are allowed to lease a charter once in a five-year span. According a report earlier in the week from Motorsport, the lease is worth $1.6 million. Chip Ganassi Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman said Tuesday that the value of the sale of a charter was in the "single digit millions."
The revised ownership structure means teams will be able to retain value if/when they decide to get out of NASCAR. Charters can be sold from team to team and Kauffman is selling his two charters Michael Waltrip Racing earned over the past three seasons to Stewart-Haas Racing (Kurt Busch) and Joe Gibbs Racing (Carl Edwards).
We'll see if teams follow the lead of Premium Motorsports in the future. Leases could also be precursors to sales of charters by underfunded teams. A team like Premium could lease a charter for a season, see how the season plays out in terms of car counts (if there are only 40 cars attempting to qualify for 40 spots, there's no danger of missing the race) and then sell the charter in the future.
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