3 reasons NASCAR opted against making a $40 million move

NASCAR could have repossessed one of Rick Ware Racing's charters ahead of the 2024 season, but they opted not to do so.

Cody Ware, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR
Cody Ware, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages
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The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season marked the third straight season in which the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing team finished in the bottom three of the owner standings among the 36 charter teams, thus giving NASCAR the option to repossess the team's charter.

Yes, it is theoretically the No. 51 team's current charter which is the one that has finished in the bottom three for three straight years, since that charter was actually the one used for the No. 15 team in 2021 and 2022. But the point stands: a Rick Ware Racing charter could have been repossessed.

This rule was introduced back in 2016 when the charter system was implemented as a way to keep even the backmarker teams somewhat competitive. But fortunately for Rick Ware Racing, finishing in the bottom three does not guarantee a charter repossession, and NASCAR opted not to do so.

Of course, NASCAR repossessing a charter and a charter being sold to another team are two different scenarios. But given the fact that charters are going for $40 million these days, as evidenced by Live Fast Motorsports' sale to Spire Motorsports, the fact that Rick Ware Racing didn't lose one of their two charters -- just a few years after selling another at a much cheaper price tag -- is pretty massive.

But why didn't NASCAR act? Here are three reasons.

1. Rick Ware Racing's use of Roush-Yates Engines

Rick Ware Racing's continued use of Roush-Yates Engines contributed to NASCAR's willingness to let them keep both of their charters for the 2024 season.

Prior to the 2022 season, when they signed a deal with Roush-Yates, they ran four cars, and three of those four cars ran with both Chevrolet and Ford as the manufacturer at some point throughout the 2021 season.

Historically speaking, backmarker teams that run with multiple manufacturers in the same season don't last, nor do they have any hope of becoming more competitive. MBM Motorsports is a perfect example, and they could never even acquire a charter.

But Rick Ware Racing find themselves using the same engines as RFK Racing, Wood Brothers Racing, Team Penske, Stewart Haas Racing, and Front Row Motorsports. They are a full-fledged member of the Ford family.