When Matt Tifft and BJ McLeod announced the creation of Live Fast Motorsports in 2020, the plan was to become a successful Cup operation.
The time has come to pivot with Live Fast selling its charter to Spire Motorsports. BJ McLeod will move to a part-time Cup schedule while continuing to run his Xfinity team. Tifft will step away from Live Fast's ownership group to focus on his growing family and on some potential late model opportunities.
"We started out the year definitely sticking to hoping we'd be here 20 years as Cup owners," McLeod said Tuesday. "That definitely took a little bit of a turn, I guess, probably around the Bristol area. I think somewhere around there. Definitely changed the direction of what we were planning on doing."
The sale of the charter was not part of the original plan. McLeod and Tifft had no intention of selling despite receiving numerous offers over 24 months.
The market value of charters — the reported price of Live Fast's charter was $40 million — played a role in McLeod and Tifft selling to Spire Motorsports. Another factor was the amount of progress made compared to the amount of money invested in the organization.
"We just didn't see nowhere near the result that we were hoping to see for the amount we invested," McLeod said. "Neither one of us had ever wanted to sit here and just be 36th because we own a charter. We were driven to make this team successful and make it competitive."
Tifft said that the situation changed as the business evolved: "We wanted to keep on going. We were planning for 2024, for a full-time team, and the offers kept coming in. The market finally got to a place where we're like, 'we really got to sit down and have a conversation.'"
Live Fast no longer has its charter but the No. 78 is not going away. McLeod will still use the entry as he pursues a goal important to him — going out and racing hard instead of focusing on taking care of his equipment. He has no interest in running 35th or 36th each week.
The main races on McLeod's list take place on drafting tracks. He has circled Daytona, Talladega and Atlanta as opportunities to run inside the top 20. If McLeod can work out a deal with a road course ace, the No. 78 could compete at Sonoma, Watkins Glen and similar tracks.
"I'm definitely not ready to quit driving a Cup car," McLeod said. "I love the Next Gen car. I love the feeling of driving them. I love the people, the sport, the series, the competition level.
"I like being challenged. I just want to be in a competitive car when I go and actually have a shot to see what I'm capable of."
McLeod and Tifft never had the opportunity to contend for wins during their time as full-time Cup owners. That doesn't mean they are disappointed. They continued to improve year after year while working with a variety of drivers, they led some laps and scored top-10 finishes at Daytona.
"I'll always be proud of this opportunity and this journey that we took with with Matt, Joe (Falk) and Jessica (McLeod)," McLeod said. "Being a full time Cup owner is something that I'll be proud of the rest of my life and (it's) definitely pretty wild that we were able to even get there."