NASCAR Investor Sounds off on Sport’s Future: ‘We Need to Address That’

Kurt Busch

Getty 23XI Racing has several partners that support the drivers.

The media deal between NASCAR, FOX, and NBC will not end until after the 2024 season, but there are numerous questions about potential changes that will take place. One NASCAR investor has even recommended a revenue model similar to the NBA.

Curtis Polk, Michael Jordan’s financial adviser and an investor in 23XI Racing, provided a different outlook to the Sports Business Journal and said that the sport could benefit from a deal that provides more money through media instead of sponsorship. He explained that he and Jordan have learned a significant amount from both the NBA and MLB and that they are trying to pass this information off to 23XI Racing’s co-owner, Denny Hamlin.

“One of the things we’ve learned is the economics of the sport, and I think the sport is a sleeping giant, but from the team ownership side it’s very sponsor dependent and we need to address that model,” Polk explained to the Sports Business Journal.

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The Current Model Limits Some Driver Opportunities

According to the SBJ, the current revenue split does not favor the teams. 65% goes to the tracks, 25% goes to the various teams, and 10% goes to the sanctioning body itself. This model forces the teams to rely primarily on the various sponsors throughout the season.

The current model also limits some of the opportunities for the drivers. It is public knowledge that some talented drivers may not get opportunities due to having a lack of sponsors in their corner. Jeb Burton listed this fact as one of the reasons for his departure from Kaulig Racing after the 2021 season, especially after he lost NutrienAG as a primary partner.

“I will not be in the [No.] 10 car next year,” Burton told Frontstretch on October 11. “I don’t see a path there for that to happen. There’s other people who have funding.”

Burton moved over to Our Motorsports and reunited with some of his partners while Landon Cassill took over the No. 10 Chevrolet with Voyager Digital as his primary partner for the majority of the season.

Similarly, Matt DiBenedetto addressed the role that sponsors play in contracts ahead of an uncertain offseason. He appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and said that he had no plans in place for the 2022 season, which was a product of having limited sponsors supporting him.

“The hard thing about the landscape of our sport is you’re nothing without your partners, sponsors, and those folks backing you,” DiBenedetto said during his September 29 appearance. “I’ve obviously been very fortunate to be tied with the Wood Brothers and Menards, and Motorcraft and Quick Lane and great partners. But those are not my partners.

“I’ve been so thankful to be able to represent them, but now that I’m in that free agency market — I guess you call it — I don’t have the funding behind me,” DiBenedetto added.

DiBenedetto and Burton both secured full-time rides for the 2022 season. However, there are other drivers in similar situations who will not land many opportunities due to having fewer sponsors.


1 Man Provided Opportunities to Drivers in 2021

Camping World

GettyCamping World sponsored nine drivers at Las Vegas.

The discussion about the lack of sponsors took center stage early in the 2021 Camping World Truck Series season. There were several drivers that did not have support for the March 5 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Marcus Lemonis, the chairman and CEO of Camping World, stepped up to support these drivers when they had no other options. He offered sponsorship to several drivers in the Truck Series, a list that included Grant Enfinger and 2020 Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed.

When the green flag waved for the Bucked Up 200 at Las Vegas, nine drivers headed to the starting grid with Camping World liveries on their trucks. Tyler Hill, the driver of the No. 56, was the only one unable to finish due to a crash while Enfinger posted a seventh-place finish.

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