LOUDON, N.H. (AP) — NASCAR President Mike Helton said Friday there is no animosity from the governing body toward the recently formed, nine-team Race Team Alliance that will collaborate on initiatives and issues facing auto racing.
The goals of the RTA include lowering costs for NASCAR teams and creating one voice on issues facing the teams.
Helton downplayed the immediate significance of the new faction, saying NASCAR will "continue to do business the way we've done business."
"They've made clear their intentions are to grow the sport and make the sport stronger through their ownerships, and we have respect for what they do in their business models," Helton said at New Hampshire Motorspeedway, "but the other thing is, the way we do our form of motorsports has worked. We continue to add assets and values to create and grow the sport. We'll continue to do that and also continue to do that with the input of as many people as we can do individually."
Helton said he did have notice from the RTA that it was forming.
The RTA currently includes Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motor Sports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske. Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman was elected chairman of the RTA, which was formally announced Monday.
Kauffman said the top goal of the RTA, which is operating with bylaws and an executive committee, was to bring in the remaining Sprint Cup teams that are not currently members. Also high on the agenda are cost-saving initiatives related to travel and parts, and communicating with one voice to NASCAR when it comes to team ideas on testing.
Six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson said he was excited the owners unified to provide "a clear, concise voice" for the industry.
"I just don't see any downside in the owners working closer together and sharing what's important to them," Johnson said. "I don't see anything wrong with that. ... This could be beneficial in a lot of ways."
Kauffman insisted this week the RTA was not a union. Johnson said the alliance showed the opportunity was there for drivers to take similar action.
"I guess in some ways Pandora's box has been opened with this. We'll see where it leads," Johnson said. "This is a good thing. I don't feel like this it's going to drive a separation or a split. I don't even know where a separation or a split would take place."