NASCAR teams have hired one of the country‘s top antitrust and sports lawyers to advise them in their ongoing dispute with the family-owned stock car series over a new revenue-sharing model.

The decision to hire Jeffrey Kessler, partner and co-executive chair of Winston & Straw LLP, followed a Saturday meeting at Daytona International Speedway that included the majority owner from each of the 15 chartered teams in NASCAR. Although the teams invited NASCAR representatives to attend, none did.

Kessler‘s hiring was revealed to The Associated Press on Sunday, the eve of the rain-postponed Daytona 500, by the five members of the team ownership negotiating committee. It comes amid a breakdown in negotiations between teams and NASCAR that led the 36 chartered teams to decline last month to extend their exclusive negotiating window with the sanctioning body on the existing deal.

Kessler has only been retained so far to help advise the teams in their negotiations. Kessler most recently successfully represented Division I college football and basketball players in a landmark antitrust case that led to financial stipends for athletes. He also led the U.S. Women‘s National Soccer Team in its successful fight for equal pay as well as litigations for current free agency rules in the NBA and the NFL.

The issues between NASCAR and the race teams are far beyond revenue and charters, which are essentially a version of the franchise model used in nearly all professional sports. The teams have asked for the charters to become permanent, which NASCAR has not even considered.

The negotiating team said there has been no discussion of creating a breakaway league not sanctioned by NASCAR, and there is no current consideration of staging races at non-NASCAR facilities without NASCAR governance.

See much more from the Associated Press.


.@RaceTeamAllianc invited @NASCAR to a group meeting yesterday in Daytona to discuss the charter system negotiations, but NASCAR declined and said it’s sticking with its process of meeting with owners individually (along with quarterly Team Owner Council sessions), per sources.

— Adam Stern (@A_S12) February 18, 2024

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