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Germain Racing: NASCAR losing another one-car team?

Germain Racing No. 13
Germain Racing No. 13. Photo: Ted Fleming | SpeedwayTribune.com

Without a sponsorship deal for 2021, Germain Racing is contemplating many things, including the sale of the team

There are many old quotes one could use when it comes to NASCAR’s current business model, “Survival of the fittest,” or “Only the strong survive.” So on the heels of Leavine Family Racing going the way of the dodo and sold to Spire Motorsports, another single-car team may be next. The news that Germain Racing is “exploring conversations for a potential sale” cannot be good news for the racing body.

Some would think that having a massive company like Geico on the hood of its No. 13 car is a good thing. Germain Racing also has one of NASCAR’s 36 charters, meaning there is a guaranteed spot in every race during the season and a position paycheck in each.

But the cost of operating far exceeds those two sources of income, and one-car teams must scramble for secondary sponsors or other ways to increase revenue. If not, owners have to dig into their own pockets just to put a car on the track, and long-term, it is not sustainable.

With Geico’s deal expiring at the end of the season and no one in line to take its place, that is a significant hit to Germain Racing and its bottom line. NASCAR reporter for Fox Sports, Bob Pockrass, first reported that Bob Germain said: “everything is on the table” when it comes to 2021. That ominous statement has to be problematic to NASCAR. The Leavine Family Racing is still echoing in the halls of their corporate offices.

LOOKING FOR WORK?

A domino effect of a sale also affects personnel right down to the driver. As we saw with Leavine, Christopher Bell would have been in limbo had he not signed with Joe Gibbs Racing. With Germain, Ty Dillon could be looking for a new team. He could land with a new team like the one former driver Justin Marks plans to start, hopefully by next season, but there are no guarantees.

“The model is very tough right now for single-car teams,” Dillon said. “I’m hoping that NASCAR is going to change it and help on it. But it needs to change for one-car teams to be more successful that haven’t already been at the top level of the sport or have an incredible about of money to leapfrog into the top spot. If you don’t have three or four teams to spread the wealth with big-name sponsors and a lot of money behind the effort, it’s just not a model that’s going to survive long term.”

Ty Dillon’s brother, Austin, was asked about it at Cup Series Playoff Media Day.

“I actually haven’t talked to my brother about it,” Austin said. “I spoke to my grandfather (Richard Childress) [a] little bit about it. You know, I think all kinds of opportunities are out there right now. There’s a lot going on in the sport. As you can tell, it’s silly season.”

Is this the silly season that could change the balance of power across the industry? The bigger question is whether NASCAR can effect change sooner rather than later? The sport needs small teams just as much as the big ones. There has to be a way to not only keep them but give them a chance to survive long term.

Right now, that doesn’t appear to be happening.

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