Last Monday, the creation of the Race Team Alliance (RTA) was announced. It was said to be a way for owners to band together to lower the prices for essentials for their operations (plane tickets, rental cars, hotel rooms, materials, etc.). However, it already appears to be involving into more than that.
NASCAR President Mike Helton stressed during a media availability last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that NASCAR has no animosity towards the RTA and reinforced the idea that “business as usual” would continue. That would infer that the RTA team owners could continue to come to NASCAR with their issues.
That no longer appears to be so. According to Sporting News’ Bob Pockrass, NASCAR has directed that all communication between the sanctioning body and the RTA be done between lawyers. International Speedway Corporation (ISC), the France family-controlled public company that owns a number of tracks that host Sprint Cup races, has also indicated that they will not talk directly to the RTA members.
Both sides believe that the move is not any sign of animosity.
“It’s not an animosity thing, it’s just a formality thing,” RTA head Rob Kauffman told Pockrass Wednesday night. “NASCAR is a big company and they’re very sensitive legally. They’ve had experience (with antitrust) and they want to be very formal and correct in the initial stages. … It’s understandable. Hopefully as time goes on and both sides get used to each other a little bit, those barriers (will) tend to go down. I think it will be fine.”
On NASCAR’s part, they did not issue an official statement. However, they did indicate that the move was made for legal prudence only.
The RTA has acquired the legal representation of Jones Day, a firm that specializes in financial issues to help them in their communications with NASCAR.
As of yet, there have still not been any official communications between NASCAR and the RTA.