Well, not yet. But if you believe recent reports, it could be.
Reuters dropped a bomb on the racing world when it reported the France family is exploring a potential sale of NASCAR. Multiple media outlets confirmed the majority owners have reached out to investment bank Goldman Sachs to identify a potential buyer.
The very next day, the Associated Press reported NASCAR President Brent Dewar sent a memo to all of its employees assuring them the France family is dedicated to the sport.
I have some thoughts:
- I don’t read too much into memos. It’s nothing more than an attempt to calm everyone down. Memos are subject to change. Besides, I’m sure in their own minds the France family believes it can sell and still be dedicated to the sport.
- This is a big frickin’ deal. The entire scope of NASCAR changes forever if the France family sells. The question is if it’s a good change or a bad change. And we won’t know which until it happens.
- If I’m IndyCar, I love this news. Why? Maybe…just maybe this is the opening for IndyCar to reclaim the top spot for most popular racing entity in the United States. I realize this is a reach, but think about it. NASCAR was given a gift when open wheel racing split between the IRL and CART. It gave NASCAR the last surge it needed to overtake open wheels and it hasn’t looked back. Sure, poor ratings and attendance are an on-going problem and probably why selling is even an option. However, NASCAR has always had stability in its leadership. There has never been a question as to who is calling the shots and there certainly has never been the threat of a split. A sale creates uncertainly and unpredictability. I don’t believe the France family would sell to just anybody. But ultimately, whoever does buy, has control. Depending on what a buyer does with that control, IndyCar could stand to benefit.
It’s entirely possible there will be no sale. But if I own NASCAR, I’m not reaching out to Goldman Sachs unless I’ve given it serious thought. I’m very anxious to see what happens in the next several months. Reporter Jeff Gluck said it would be the biggest story in NASCAR history. He’s absolutely right.
Thanks for reading the NASCAR Fix!