Workers of the world, unite! But in this case, "workers" must be substituted for "the owners of the nine largest teams in NASCAR." They've all teamed up to ensure justice and fair treatment for... themselves, I guess.
The nine most powerful teams in the sport today voted to form the Race Team Alliance, or RTA, an organization whose goal is to lower costs and "create one voice" for issues facing teams.
That sounds like a union, doesn't it? It's not! Don't call it a union! Jenna Fryer at the AP spoke to Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, sometime Le Mans racer/wrecker, and chairman of the Race Team Alliance:
"Calling it a union would be incorrect. A union would be for employees," Kauffman said in 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.
It's s a cartel, then. That word carries a such baggage these days, though! "Business alliance" it is.
The parties involved are Chip Ganassi Racing, owner Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske, according to reports.
Though they haven't outlined specific goals, they seem intent on leveraging their collective power to reduce their own costs on everything from hotel rooms to parts. Here's what Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman told USA Today:
"By working together and speaking with a single voice, it should be a simpler and smoother process to work with current and potential groups involved with the sport. Whether it be looking for industry-wide travel partners or collaborating on technical issues – the idea is to work together to increase revenue, spend more efficiently, and deliver more value to our partners."
That sounds like union-talk to me! Ah, never mind.
Kauffman likened the RTA to the now-disbanded Formula One Constructors Association, which sought to negotiate with the FIA and the Formula One Group on behalf of team owners. It's the first time such an alliance has been formed in NASCAR.
Several stories note that the alliance comes as NASCAR is set to begin its new 10-year, $8 billion TV deals next year with Fox and NBC, but Kauffman said renegotiating teams' cut of that isn't on the agenda.
It's going to be interesting to see what happens with team owners leveraging their power a little more.