breaking news

BREAKING NEWS

today is Feb 05, 2023

Garrett Smithley, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Garrett Smithley, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Should the #15 Rick Ware Racing team not make significant improvements during the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, NASCAR could take away its charter.

Two teams entered the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season with charters that had finished outside of the top 33 (among the 36 charter teams) in the owner standings in both 2020 and 2021, but neither one of those teams had used those charters during those years.

Due to a performance standard, NASCAR reserves the right to repossess any charter that finishes in the bottom three in the standings for three consecutive seasons, even if it happens with different teams. Notably, repossession isn’t a guarantee.

The #00 StarCom Racing team finished in the bottom three in 2020 and 2021 before selling their charter to 23XI Racing for their second car, the #45 Toyota, in 2022. The #45 team finished in 10th place in the owner standings, avoiding repossession.

The #53 Rick Ware Racing team finished in the bottom three in both 2020 and 2021 as well, and they sold their charter to Spire Motorsports for the #7 Chevrolet in 2022.

Spire Motorsports had sold two of their three charters, including one which had been leased to Trackhouse Racing Team, to Kaulig Racing, and they strategically moved the charter that had been used to run the #7 Chevrolet, which was driven full-time by Corey LaJoie, to the #77 Chevrolet, which was run by multiple drivers.

The move made it more likely that the at-risk former charter of the #53 team would not finish in the bottom three, and it indeed did not. The #7 team finished in 32nd place, with the #77 team right behind in 33rd, just above the cut line.

But the other charter that finished in the bottom three in 2021 finished in the bottom three again in 2022.

This means that if it finishes in the bottom three again in 2023, NASCAR could have the opportunity to make somewhat of a drastic move, the likes of which the sport hasn’t seen since the charter system was introduced back in 2016.

The #15 Rick Ware Racing team finished outside the top 33 in both 2021 and 2022. While it finished in 34th place (again, including only the 36 charter teams) in both years and finished farther below the cut line in 2022 (26 points) than it did in 2021 (seven points), there was significant improvement from an overall competitive standpoint.

In 2021, the #15 team finished with 210 points, good for an average of 5.83 points per race. In 2022, the team finished with 345 points, good for an average of 9.58 points per race.

Could this sort of improvement be enough to get NASCAR to hold off on repossession?

Of course, there still hasn’t been any confirmation on Rick Ware Racing’s exact plans for the 2023 season, so perhaps a charter transaction before the season even starts is still a possibility.

That being said, the team did just downsize from four cars to two after the 2021 season, so another halving just one year later probably isn’t ideal, especially not after forming a new technical alliance with RFK Racing.

The #51 Rick Ware Racing team also finished outside of the top 33 in the 2022 owner standings. The only non-Rick Ware Racing team which did so was the #78 Live Fast Motorsports team.