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NASCAR owners unite under new Racing Team Alliance

Michael Waltrip talks with NASCAR President Mike Helton during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2013
Michael Waltrip talks with NASCAR President Mike Helton during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2013
Photo by Jeff Zelevansky

Michael Waltrip Racing has united with 8 other major racing concerns including Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Petty Motor Sports, Roush Fenway Racing, and Stewart-Haas Racing to form a “single entity to collaborate on initiatives and issues facing their sport” under the umbrella title of Racing Team Alliance (RTA).
''Calling it a union would be incorrect. A union would be for employees,” stated newly elected chairman Rob Kaufman (co-owner of Waltrip Racing) during a phone interview with The Associated Press. ''The right way to characterize it would be a 'business alliance.' Unions are about employees directly trying to negotiate something. The RTA is pooling together to look at things we can be doing better.

He also emphasized that they group hopes to convince the remaining NASCAR Sprint Cup Teams to join in to further strengthen the collective bargaining power when it comes to resolving issues and creating initiatives such as buying power for parts, and providing a single voice regarding ideas on testing with NASCAR officials, not to mention working on cutting down the costs for traveling from track to track for different events.

''One of the projects out of the chute is all of these teams get a lot of hotel rooms on a weekly basis - well, gaining a hotel partner might help with that cost and provide some flexibility,'' added Roger Penske. ''When you put a lot of smart people in the room, you can come up with a lot of smart ideas. Right now, I don't think we even know how much we all spend in total on parts. Or how many employees do we all have?''

Another issue the RTA hopes to tackle will be healthcare and benefits for team employees.

Although NASCAR has declined to make any official comments regarding the new alliance, the organization’s chief communications officer Brett Jewkes did state that they “had few specifics on the RTA's 'structure or purpose,' (which will operate with a board and bylaws) so it would be inappropriate to comment on the group. The mission of NASCAR has always been, is to create a fair playing field where anyone can come and compete. Our job is to support and strengthen all of the teams, large and small, across all of our series and we'll continue to do that. NASCAR is a unique community with hundreds of stakeholders. They all have a voice and always will.''