Adventures In Bad Team Ideas…Or Why America’s Racing Team Won’t Work Like They Plan

A true American team, partially owned by a British guy. Confusing? I thought so.

Spend much time around this sport and you’ll see your fair share of bad ideas and failed teams. Remember Trail Motorsport? Well this weekend, like clockwork, we got one of the better (I say sarcastically) ideas I’ve seen.

Enter a couple of guys you’ve probably never heard of, and an idea they think no one else has thought of.

NASCAR fans all across the country will now have one team to pull for: their team, America’s Racing Team. After multiple large-scale quantitative and qualitative studies, the creation of America’s Racing Team (ART), a NASCAR Sprint Cup team formed primarily from “Team Partners,” was announced today live on NASCAR.com from “The World Center of Racing,” the Daytona International Speedway. ART will be the first team in the history of NASCAR to be largely bankrolled by the fans.

After weeks of trying to create buzz, this is what we get? The press conference and the team’s at-track attempt to present themselves were laughable. The NASCAR Examiner’s Greg Engle has a very amusing look at the team’s NASCAR introduction – and they’re confusing contradiction. And needless to say I haven’t seen a positive piece of press about this (except for maybe this) – come to think of it, I haven’t really seen any press about this (Jayski didn’t even put anything up).

If you’re unfamiliar with this team’s plan I’ll lay it out for you. Two guys, Micheal Wright, formally of talent agency IMG, and Daniel Webber, managing director of Supervision Media (and son of another former IMG exec), want to field a car beginning next season at Daytona. The catch is, they’re using a membership program (with prices ranging from $44.95 for children to $499.95 for families) targeted at fans to pay for most of the deal. Good luck.

In the name of full disclosure, the team claims this isn’t a fan sponsored car.

No, this is something completely different. We’ve all seen the fan concept done in the past, in various forms, with limited success. Rather, this is a team starting from scratch that will plan to align with only the best performers in the industry. Our team is not something just for one race, this to race full-time with the plan to be competing for the Chase within five years. This is something for fans to be a part of and to build in partnership with the ownership group.

But absent them coming up with other sponsorship, it is.

The fact is, as they themselves acknowledge, many before have tried the race fan sponsored racecar. Most times teams are able to defray some costs, but putting together enough money for a full race – let alone a full season – is very difficult.

Among the plethora of reasons why this doesn’t work is that NASCAR fans don’t support teams, they support drivers. This isn’t F1. So unless you’ve got a fan’s favorite driver driving for you, chances are they aren’t going to shell out their hard earned money to help that person get on track – even if you make them think they can contribute to team decisions.

Assuming they sell tens of thousands of memberships, they would still need to put together millions of dollars in sponsorship to run a remotely competitive team. Even with a slick ad campaign they plan to run on Speed and ESPN, something tells me they won’t come close to what they need.

At the end of the day I know I have a lot of questions, and even more concerns. For instance, if you read the fine print (and there’s a lot of it) you can see, among other things, if this doesn’t get off the ground you only get a partial refund.

I STRONGLY encourage anyone thinking of buying one of these ‘memberships’ to put their credit card away, and wait until there is more information – a lot more information.

Will they make it to Daytona next year? Who knows. But I can tell you I’m not holding my breath.

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17 Responses to “Adventures In Bad Team Ideas…Or Why America’s Racing Team Won’t Work Like They Plan”

  1. Michael says:

    Not to compare the two. However,remember Angela’s Motorsports and their fraud.

  2. Irritated says:

    Yes, fans beware of theses fan “sponsored” cars – (I am surprised former IMG employess are trying this) – FYI- “Sponsors” get lots of perks when they put thier money into a car! – A ‘membership” is not going to get a car on the track , and most of these teams that have tried this type of thing, have never raced, or did the non honorable start and park for one race….
    Unless you plan on soaking hundreds of thousands to millions into a team, you are not going to get any benefit – race sponsors get TONS of perks.
    If you want to join a club, join the Official NASCAR5 Members Club, its legit, approved by NASCAR, and can get you some cool VIP experiences at the track….
    Otherwise, you are just sending these teams a small DONATION towards thier operating expenses……….

  3. Marcus says:

    I am not saying it wont work. However I am absolutely not saying it will work out. And also “We hope to be competing to the chase within in 5 years”. ARE YOU SERIOUS???

  4. Marcus says:

    Irritated, How do I sign up for the NASCAR Members Club?

  5. T.C. says:

    Marcus: See http://www.onmc.com for info on the Official NASCAR Member’s Club.

  6. windowlicker says:

    This is truly one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. My first reaction was what benefits if any do you get for your membership so I briefly checked out the site. You get a t-shirt, you can tour the race shop, opportunities for autographs, exclusive web site access…… What’s different from any other fan club membership except the $500 price tag. Who in their right mind would send money to this organization??? I wish I had the list of those suckers because I’ve got some prime real estate in the Everglades that I’m willing to part with.

  7. Neon says:

    Sad thing is, the way NASCAR provisionals are assigned all ART has to do is use gatherered “membership fees” to the pay the entry cost and hire a past Champion from yesteryear and they are in the 2011 Daytona 500.
    Please, please to the Labonte bros, Wild Bill, DW, DJ or RubberHead…..for pete’s sake don’t stoop to these levels!
    Best thing ART could do is hire Danica. Wouldn’t make the 500, but sure to get Mega-coverage in one of the Duels.

  8. JT says:

    IIRC this has been tried a few times before – and fizzled. The most serious (and almost-successful) effort was back 8 or 10 years ago(?) when Brett Bodine tried selling fan-sponsorships for his self-owned 11 Cup team. He made a few shows that way, but the money pot quickly emptied thanks to ever-increasing costs for tire bills, parts, travel, salaries, etc.

  9. JLG says:

    Sprint Cup is so easy to compete in!!!
    Hey Rosco I have an idea, why dont we build a team and go compete in the chase. well use funding from other people (fans), use their money to get a corp sponsor (this is easy to do), and hire good people who will work for us because of our great business plan, (very easy to get good people) and finally well partner with a top team because they will want to be involved with a new team that has all of these things going for it.
    Well become RICH over this and achive it on our members dime.

  10. MGW says:

    Wow, it’s amazing that anyone would want to try and start a new team if Journo had his way.

    I have read very encouraging reports on this idea and the feedback around the track was overwhelmingly positive from real insiders. There was a really interesting interview on Claire B Lang’s radio show with one of the team execs.

    I read that the team will have sponsors but the team partners will get top billing and the sponsors secondary positioning… makes sense to have corporate support to generate enough income to put top technology on the track and get a top driver.

    At the end of the day, those who do decide to get behind the team will be able to say they helped start a new team and all the negative folks will jump on the bandwagon after the heavy lifting is done. I’m going with the positive view.

    Reminds me of a famous quote, “Everything seems impossible to the people who never try anything.”

    Go America’s Team…

  11. Marcus says:

    Would have signed up for the NASCAR Member’s Club but I dont want to pay for a Ty Beanie Baby that I dont even want! But it’s required so I’ll wait for that offer to pass. Anyway thanks for the website link T.C.

    Also, MGW must be a very positive person!

  12. Marcus says:

    I remember Trail Motorsport. Didnt they close up shop right after Daytona last year?

  13. Neon says:

    MGW, did you sign up? or will you?
    If so, what are your expectations as a member?
    If not, why?
    I’m not trying to be smart-alecky. I would just like to know the thoughts of a potential member. That’s all.

  14. crashandburn says:

    Interesting positive feedback from “MGW”… coincidentally the initials of Michael G. Wright, the chief marketing officer for the team. Evidently his duties include but are not limited to trolling the message boards. Beware!!!

  15. Journo says:

    MGW – You caught me. I hate all start-up teams. I’ve been scheming against them for years.

    In all seriousness though, it’s your $300 – you’ll get most of it back.

  16. DD says:

    I remember Trail Motorsport. They hired Jarit Johnson.

  17. Kate says:

    If it sounds too good to be true…. Wait a minute, this doesn’t even sound good. I think I will keep my $$$. But good luck to those who choose to donate!

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