In news that could have ramifications for short track racing on several fronts, Speed51.com confirmed on Sunday night that it has been purchased by the Race Team Alliance.
The Race Team Alliance is the group of 13 NASCAR organizations that field 32 cars within the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The group was founded in 2014 by chairman Rob Kauffman, then of Michael Waltrip Racing, and now Chip Ganassi Racing.
The organization has spearheaded many changes within NASCAR during the past half-decade, ranging from the charter system to collaborating with the sanctioning body on rule changes and the next-generation car and engine formula. It also operates the NASCAR Heat e Pro League.
Now it has made an investment into the most prominent entity in pavement short track racing. Speed51.com provides news, promotional assistance and serves as a broadcaster for many of the most prestigious events in grassroots racing.
“On behalf of our Member Race Teams, we are very excited about our new initiative with Speed51,” Kauffman said. “Bob Dillner and his team have created a great platform to cover grass rootsracing , which touches the core fanbase of our sport — as well as many of our past, current and future racers and team members. We are looking forward helping him grow the business and plan to work together to create even more interesting content for our fans.”
In a statement, Speed51 says it will “continue to operate in the manner as it always has and remains committed to providing the best in live, short-track racing to the racing fan base.” The statement says the RTA shares Speed51’s passion for short track racing and shares its desire to increase attention and awareness to the discipline.
Speed 51 founder Bob Dillner will continue in his present role as company president and will report to RTA executive director Jonathan Marshall.
“Speed51 has always had an intense passion for short track racing and the RTA shares the same desire to bring more attention to this style of racing,” Dillner said in a statement. “The RTA member teams are undoubtedly some of the most influential race teams in the world and at the same time understand grassroots racing because it’s where they came from.
“I am thrilled to be partnered with this group of owners and with their help, not only will Speed51 be able to grow, but so will the industry surrounding short track racing, from track owners and promoters, to series organizers and the racers themselves. This initiative will also allow the fans to witness the rise to stardom of some of the sport’s future prospects.”
Speed51 was launched in 2001 as a short track news website and now streams over 100 events each year.
It’s an interesting time for short track racing as NASCAR entity involvement increases. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series superstar Kyle Busch purchased Hamke Race Cars (Super Late Models) in January and operates it as Rowdy Manufacturing. Hamner Engines owner Justin Oertel serves as Rowdy’s chief operating officer.
Spire Sports + Entertainment, which also operates the Spire Motorsports Cup team, has an ownership stake in Track Enterprises – a group that produces over 1,500 grassroots racing events, including those that feature the NASCAR-owned ARCA Racing Series, USAC and Super Late Model competitions.
NASCAR itself operates FansChoice.TV to stream IMSA, Flat Track, K&N Pro Series, Whelen Modified Tour, EURO Series, Pinty’s Series and select Home Track events in-house. Speed51 does not have the online rights to NASCAR races, with those ending up on FansChoice.
Somewhat related is the recent purchase of DirtonDirt by FloRacing.
What comes next as each of these organizations move their respective short track chess pieces remains unclear.