Gossage calls for 'loophole' elimination
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said the so-called start-and-park teams in each NASCAR race are "stealing money" and steps should be taken to stop them.
A few teams enter Sprint Cup events each week with no intention of running the entire event. Some of them don't even have a pit crew or extra tires. They qualify for the race, run a few laps and park the car to collect the large purse money.
"The start-and-parkers are simply stealing," Gossage said Saturday. "I don't blame them for finding the loophole, but they are going to steal a half a million dollars here tomorrow [in the Samsung Mobile 500] of our money.
"They add nothing to the show, not one darn thing. They're stealing. I want real racers, but they're not racing."
Gossage pointed specifically to the No. 66 Toyota owned by Phil Parsons. The team has competed in six Cup events this season. The car finished 41st or worse in five races, completing less than 20 percent of the laps in those events.
"NASCAR has an obligation to the fans to not allow this," Gossage said. "People are stealing in broad daylight in front of 150,000 fans in the grandstands and millions of people watching at home."
Gossage has two suggestions for eliminating the problem: Reduce the Cup field from 43 to 36 cars (the last seven finishers a year ago at TMS made more than a combined $580,000), or change the way purse money is distributed.
"Last place here Sunday is going to pay about $85,000," Gossage said. "That should be $10,000 and the rest of that money should go to the top finishers."
Despite his strong feelings on the issue, Gossage said it's not his biggest concern.
"Trust me, I don't lie awake at night worrying about [start-and-parkers]," Gossage said. "The things I was worrying about, NASCAR has fixed. I don't think [start-and-park cars] are dragging the sport down, but it's not good."
Gossage is pleased overall with recent changes NASCAR has made, with looser rule enforcement for on-track incidents and double-file restarts.
"I think things are really good right now," he said. "Well, if Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. won some races, things would be better, but things are pretty good."
Terry Blount is a senior writer for ESPN.com.