Raceday at New Hampshire

Kauffman: RTA seeks consensus, collaboration

Camping World 301 at New Hampshire, Sunday, 1 p.m. TNT

jutter@charlotteobserver.comJuly 12, 2014 

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Race Team Alliance members want to better the sport and better themselves, Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing and the elected leader of the new group, said.

JARED C. TILTON — Getty Images

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    Sunday’s lineup

    Camping World RV Sales 301 Lineup

    After Friday qualifying; race Sunday

    At New Hampshire Motor Speedway

    Loudon, N.H.

    Lap length: 1.058 miles

    StNo.DriverCarSpeed
    118Kyle BuschToyota138.13
    248Jimmie JohnsonChevy137.79
    311Denny HamlinToyota137.081
    414Tony StewartChevy137.076
    51Jamie McMurrayChevy137.017
    622Joey LoganoFord136.815
    72Brad KeselowskiFord136.805
    815Clint BowyerToyota136.702
    978Martin Truex Jr.Chevy136.629
    105Kasey KahneChevy136.174
    1124Jeff GordonChevy136.058
    124Kevin HarvickChevy135.912
    1342Kyle LarsonChevy136.384
    1499Carl EdwardsFord136.296
    1520Matt KensethToyota136.257
    1627Paul MenardChevy136.257
    1755Brian VickersToyota136.223
    1841Kurt BuschChevy136.184
    1943Aric AlmirolaFord136.17
    2047AJ AllmendingerChevy136.15
    219Marcos AmbroseFord136.116
    2217Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Ford135.922
    233Austin DillonChevy135.82
    2431Ryan NewmanChevy135.718
    2551Justin AllgaierChevy135.487
    2634David RaganFord135.385
    2716Greg BiffleFord135.304
    2888Dale Earnhardt Jr.Chevy135.217
    2910Danica PatrickChevy135.117
    3066Jeff BurtonToyota135.117
    3113Casey MearsChevy134.667
    3298Josh WiseChevy134.435
    3338David GillilandFord134.288
    3440Landon CassillChevy133.614
    3526Cole WhittToyota133.576
    3623Alex BowmanToyota133.254
    3736Reed SorensonChevyOwner Points
    3883Ryan TruexToyotaOwner Points
    397Michael AnnettChevyOwner Points
    4032Eddie MacDonaldFordOwner Points
    4193Mike BlissToyotaOwner Points
    4287Timmy HillToyotaOwner Points
    4333Morgan ShepherdChevyOwner Points

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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