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NASCAR track owner Bruton Smith not a fan of Race Team Alliance

Jul 11, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gen-6 Testing Getty Images

As the leader of Speedway Motorsports Inc. – the entity that owns eight tracks with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series dates – Bruton Smith hasn’t always gotten along with the sanctioning body about the sport’s direction.

But when it comes to the new Race Team Alliance, Smith is happy to stand in NASCAR’s corner.

In an interview with USA Today and NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan, Smith severely criticized the formation of the RTA, which features nine of the Sprint Cup Series’ biggest teams.

The RTA has insisted that they’re not looking to pick a fight with NASCAR over matters such as revenue from the sport’s new TV package (which goes in effect next year with NBC Sports joining Fox as a broadcaster), and is focusing on cutting costs in areas like parts, travel, and insurance for team members.

But apparently, that hasn’t convinced Smith, who believes the RTA is bad news.

“What I know about it, of course I don’t like it,” he said to Ryan after today’s Sprint Cup practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (which is owned by SMI).

“I don’t know anything about it that’s good for what we do. I don’t see anything that’s going to be good for the sport. Nothing.

“What little bit I know about it right now, it seems it will damage the sport. If NASCAR needs us, we’re there with NASCAR on the deal. We’re there every day, every hour, if they need us.”

According to Ryan, Smith even pretended not to know the RTA’s chairman, Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman, in his interview.

Smith’s comments are a stark contrast to those from defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who drives for Hendrick Motorsports, one of the biggest teams in the RTA.

Johnson said this morning at New Hampshire that he understood the worry from some over the RTA’s formation.

But he also expressed the belief that the RTA can help NASCAR better recognize the collective needs of the teams by having those needs voiced by a single group.

“We will see what the future holds and I feel like there is a positive outcome,” Johnson said. “This is a good thing. I don’t feel like this is going to drive separation or a split, and I don’t even know where that separation or split would take place.”

NASCAR president Mike Helton also said this morning that the sanctioning body’s relationship with the owners has not degenerated into animosity.

  1. convincedofthehex - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    If NASCAR and Bruton Smith don’t like it, then it must be a good thing.

  2. techmeister1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    Either the RTA is misunderstood or CRASHCAR and Smith feel intimidated. The CRASHCAR driver’s association didn’t have enough clout to get France to make the right decisions 40 years ago but the mega CRASHCAR teams of today just might. That is probably what CRASHCAR and Burton fear. Let’s hope the two entities don’t shoot themselves in the foot.

    • jaysin2012 - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      Jesus when you said CRASHCAR the first time it wasn’t even funny.

  3. manik56 - Jul 12, 2014 at 1:27 AM

    The RTA announced their formation in the past week. How can he not like it or claim they are bad for the sport when they havent done anything yet? Mr. Smith is just a paranoid old man who probably needs to step aside like another old man in Europe.

  4. rgrooms1 - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    I used to love Nascar racing….but I just don’t watch much anymore. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but the racing just doesn’t seem to be that good. It’s dominated by big teams and owners with huge money and too many cars. But you can’t stop them from doing it….just like you can’t stop them from dominating the Busch series when their teams race in it. Races at Talladega and Daytona are just two abreast riding around with nowhere to go except when one of them gets frustrated or just falls asleep and wipes out half the field. One of the best races I saw at Talladega was the 1984 race….I haven’t seen anything like that in a long time. The best racing in the country to me is on lesser known circuits like Lucas dirt and World of Outlaw sprints and late models and such.

    • indycarseries500 - Jul 14, 2014 at 4:30 PM

      Yet every stat says the racing is better now…

    • helpful55 - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:15 AM

      rgrooms1, I am a longtime fan, but I have my limit. After nearly 25 years of devotion to the NBA I gave it up cold turkey in 2001, after it changed and was changed so much.

      It is hard to keep money out of many things, but we have a “leader” that has been instrumental in forcing money to become a major force. And what is the root of all evil? Nearly everyone that believes we are on the wrong track looks back about 10 or 15 years. I believe what has happened is this idiot, and he is an idiot, france through his greed for money and power has nearly destroyed nascar racing. He has made changes that are mostly driven by attempts to make nascar big (as in $$$), but he is inept at understanding how to produce a quality product. One big problem among others are the major changes with excessive aero downforce, along with the lack of suspension on the cars. The explanation for that all is found elsewhere. Yes, there are many “races” that are simply devoid of passing and racing action. Many races just consist of restarts, pit stops and strategies in place of racing. The focus also has become ufc idiocy like the chase, while forgetting where the focus should be: the tracks, the drivers, the teams, the actual races and the racing action.

      This has to be turned around and I still have hope. Let’s hope the owners can bring back some sanity. They are smart businessmen and see just as clearly as the fans what is wrong.

  5. jaysin2012 - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Bruton and the current France have ruined NASCAR, watering it down to the crap it is now. A fan alliance would be even better, since the fans are the ones that have screwed over the last 10 years more than anyone.

    • helpful55 - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:46 AM

      “….the fans are the ones that have (been) screwed over the last 10 years more than anyone.”

      You are exactly right there.

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