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How Do You Start A New NASCAR Team? What To Know
While Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing have been around a while, getting something new started in NASCAR can be very difficult.
One of the things that bring drama and elite skill to NASCAR is the existence of teams to help foot the bill for equipment and training. However, as the sport continues to get more popular, some may be wondering how easy it is to start a new NASCAR team.
As “Race For The Championship” highlights, most of the highly competitive NASCAR Cup Series drivers are part of a team that provides the resources for them to compete at the highest level. Some drivers are even part owners or take on responsibilities in addition to being the one behind the wheel. There are currently 17 full-time teams in the NASCAR Cup Series with only Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Stewart-Haas Racing running the maximum of four cars.
Although motorsports has some incredibly well-established brands, new teams do pop up regularly.
Sadly, while new teams do happen, they don’t happen without a lot of money. The first step toward starting a NASCAR team is to find a wealthy benefactor who is willing to invest a lot of money in getting something profitable off the ground. RookieRoad estimates that the current upfront cost to get a NASCAR Cup Series team started is around $18 million.
That’s not to mention the various costs that go into maintaining a team. This includes salaries for employees, drivers, and pit crews as well as travel expenses to get them all to new racetracks every weekend. Let’s not forget the cost of building and maintaining a stock car as well. These cars are going out there every weekend and they don’t exactly increase in value from the time they start the race to when they finish it. If something breaks or a driver wrecks, the only solution is more money to fix the cars.
That’s why it’s not uncommon to see successful celebrities like Michael Jordan or Pitbull in the NASCAR game. The financial barrier to entry is high.
Plus, it's a lot of investment at a time when making a profitable Cup Series team is difficult. NBC Sports recently reported that a collection of top-tier NASCAR teams such as 23XI Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, RFK, and Hendrick Motorsports recently got together to publicly state that the business model is broken and they’re struggling to make a profit.
One of the only ways to attract revenue to a new team is to land sponsorships. However, without bringing in some quality driving talent, those can be hard to come by. So, if you’re looking to establish a NASCAR Cup Series team, the best way to do it is not to start out in the Cup Series.
It’s hard to build something in NASCAR’s flagship circuit from nothing. A smarter path is to build teams in lower-stakes series that will cut initial startup costs, attract some attention, and perhaps lead to less costly growing pains from equipment malfunction and operator error. Like anything in professional motorsports, the best way to do it is to be patient and put in the work.
You can see how new and old teams alike navigate the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season on “Race For The Championship” every Thursday at 10/9c on USA Network. You can catch up on past episodes on Peacock now.