(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) NASCAR announced a dramatic overhaul of its business model Tuesday, shifting to a franchise-like system that is intended to provide actual value and financial stability to team owners after decades of heavy reliance on sponsors.
The change gets away from the independent contractor model that had been used since NASCAR's 1948 inception. A car owner was responsible for all the financial obligations to race each week, depending on sponsorship to help foot the bills. When a sponsor pulled its funding, a car owner could go broke and be left with nothing but racing equipment.
"This is a very complicated agreement, to sort out, with 60 years of history doing business in a certain way," NASCAR chairman Brian France said. "To restructure things in the manner that we did was a very tall order to accomplish."