The White Zone: I’d like to see a relegation system with the charters

“The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading…” and I need to unload my thoughts on the idea of a relegation-esque system for the charters.

While I was sitting in the media workroom yesterday at the Charlotte Convention Center in the Queen City, I came across a tweet that peaked my interest from @RaceTalkRadio. They tweeted “New Charter system SHOULD have performance clause with some meat in it, lowest ranked team loses spot + highest non-charter gets it.”

I tweeted him back saying I could get behind that idea. I liked it so much that I asked NASCAR Executive Vice-President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell about it during the news conference. I asked if there was “a chance in the future where we could see a system where the lowest charter team in the points could lose that charter to the highest non-charter team in the points, i.e., a type of relegation system you would see in European soccer leagues.” He said that NASCAR “did study a lot of different sports, including the [Barclay’s Premier League].

“He said that NASCAR “did study a lot of different sports, including the Barclay’s Premier League. For us the best model is where we landed.” O’Donnell also added that the sanctioning body’s goal “is to have sustainable charters. We’re comfortable with the number that we have and believe that the number 36 in terms of charters, we don’t want to be in the business of taking any away, we want to see them go out and compete; one through 36 have the opportunity to go win a championship.”

For those of you not familiar with the concept of relegation, here’s a crash course. In England, there are 23 levels of professional soccer. The Premier League is the top of the chain. At the end of every season, the lowest ranked team in the league gets relegated to the Football League Championship and the champion FLC team gets promoted to the Premier League. The only real difference between the two leagues is the distribution of television revenue.

Basically, what I’d like to see NASCAR do down the road is use a system where the lowest ranked charter team loses said charter and it goes to the highest ranked non-charter team. This would provide extra incentive for the non-charter teams to put their all into the season and give perspective new owners just starting up a chance to “live the good life” should they be the highest non-charter team in points.

I know this would cause some ire with the charter holders because there’s no guarantee that they’d get any of their money that they paid for said charter back, but I believe that if NASCAR would compensate the team that finds themselves on the short end of the stick with relegation, this is a system that could work and make for interesting storylines with us in the media.

My plane is about to take off so I must wrap this up. Until next time, I’ll leave you with this fact. More people speak English in China than the United States.

The opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the author and may or may not represent the views of Speedway Media.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."


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