Kauffman: RTA seeks consensus, collaboration

07/12/2014 4:47 PM

08/30/2014 6:15 PM

Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing and the elected leader of the new Race Team Alliance, said the nine Sprint Cup Series owners who formed the organization are looking to work as one cohesive, collaborative group.

“If any stakeholders came and asked us, ‘Would you guys like to do this?’ instead of having to ask 20 different teams, having one answer, or a consensus, is a lot easier,” Kauffman said Saturday. “You can ignore if you want, but you’re trying to get to 20 different people, it’s easier to coordinate.

“What the alliance does is it’s created a mechanism for the teams to have an issue, hash it out, have a vote and then say that’s the answer and we’re done. That mechanism could be used things like testing policies or other technical changes.”

RTA teams want to better the sport and better themselves, Kauffman said.

“Everyone has the same alignment of interests and want to improve the show. If you can lower costs, that’s great. You need to be thoughtful about it,” he said.

“These are big businesses and you’re talking about millions of dollars in investments. You should think carefully when you are making decisions that have that big an impact on that much money and that many people.”

Notebook

Little wins first NASCAR race: Jesse Little, the 17-year old son of Truck series director Chad Little, won his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on Friday at New Hampshire.

Little, who was running third, earned the win when the first- and second-place cars of Nick Drake and Brandon Jones wrecked on the final lap.

“I kind of had a thought in the back of my mind that that might happen, so I knew that if they got together I’d make a move,” said Jesse, who had one top-five finish in nine starts prior to his win.

Eddie McDonald finished second, Cale Conley third, Jay Beasley fourth and Chad Finley fifth.

Almirola to backup car: Last week’s Cup race winner, Aric Almirola, got off to a tough start Saturday, wrecking in the morning practice session. He will move to a backup car and start from the rear of the field in Sunday’s race.

“It was a left rear tire going into the turn,” Almirola said. “I honestly have no idea what is going on. That was our third or fourth run on that same set of tires so I honestly cannot give you an answer.”

Final practice update: Brad Keselowski led the way in Saturday’s final practice session at New Hampshire with an average lap speed of 133.254 mph. Jeff Gordon was second-fastest and Denny Hamlin was third. Keselowski was also fastest in Saturday’s first practice session.


Three things to watch

1. Ford drivers have won the past three races. The last time the manufacturer won four in a row was during the 2001 season.

2. Kyle Busch finished second in both New Hampshire races last season and starts Sunday’s race from the pole.

3. Twelve drivers have won the last 12 Cup races at New Hampshire – one short of the NASCAR record of 13 straight at Texas (1998-2007).


Observations

• The Race Team Alliance’s spokesman Rob Kauffman insists part of the reason for the organization’s creation is to help reduce team costs and work on such issues as workman’s compensation and hotel room costs. Assuming that’s true, teams could have done that years ago, and if they did, there would be no reason to announce that effort through a news release, whether they succeeded or not. The creation of the new organization was announced very publicly and to attract attention.

If the goal was simply to accomplish results, that could easily be done behind the scenes. So, whose attention was the RTA attempting to get? Perhaps the fans’, but whatever cost savings the teams gain do not necessarily transfer to fans. That leaves the media and NASCAR, or more correctly, NASCAR through the media. Why is that even necessary for a group that claims it does not seek confrontation?

• Sprint has decided to cut back on where it brings its nearly 15,000-square foot Sprint Experience interactive display this summer and pulled out of this weekend’s race with less than two weeks notice. The tracks involved will still be paid for the rental space, but pulling out a popular track display with no notice has left many fans displeased, at least this weekend.

Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy racing team:

Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick

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