News Column

Kauffman is the man with the RTA business plan

July 7, 2014

In the Sprint Cup team owners' quest for a better financial model, a businessman shall lead them.

Rob Kauffman, a co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, is the chairman of Race Team Alliance, an association formed by nine NASCAR teams seeking greater revenue and cost efficiency. He also is its primary spokesman.

In seeking reaction from the other eight Sprint Cup organizations and their owners, all deferred comment to Kauffman, an entrepreneur who founded the Fortress Investment Group in 1998.

After 15 years with the hedge-fund and private-equity firm, Kaufmann cashed out his shares for $180million. His net worth was estimated by Forbes in 2007 at $1.8billion, but the magazine dropped him from its billionaires roll after the economic downturn.

Kauffman, 50, an automobile enthusiast who has raced the 24 Hours of Le Mans and owns a vintage car restoration company, invested heavily in MWR eight years ago when the fledgling Sprint Cup team was on the brink of financial collapse.

The organization since has scored seven wins and appeared in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

It contracted to two full-time cars this year after weathering the departure of sponsor NAPA because of a team-orders scandal at Richmond International Raceway that also prompted NASCAR to fine MWR $300,000, penalize each of the three cars 50 points and suspend general manager Ty Norris.

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Source: USA Today

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