NASCAR redistributing prize money to discourage “start and park” image

NASCAR will redistribute prize money from the last five spots in the field this season, in a move that is aimed at making it less profitable for teams to start and park.

“We moved prize money higher in the purse, so if someone’s intent is solely to run a lap or two and park, the revenue stream shrinks,” NASCAR president Mike Helton was quoted as saying by ESPN. According to NASCAR, each position from 43rd through 39th will receive $4,000 less than the car in front. For example, 39th will receive $4,000 less than 38th, 40th $4,000 less than 39th, and so on.

According to NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp the decision is not a reduction in purses, as the overall prize money in 2013 will increase slightly. The money taken away from the last five spots will be redistributed “throughout the remainder of the field.”
“We want to produce an exciting and competitive racing atmosphere for our teams and our fans, and we think the revised distribution provides a better balance,” Tharp said.

The move comes two weeks after Speedway Motorsports chairman Bruton Smith and Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage called start-and-park teams a disgrace to the sport.