One spot in the field for the 2018 Daytona 500 will likely be decided in the courtroom.
According to Bob Pockrass of ESPN, a lawsuit was filed in North Carolina to determine who owns the charter that Front Row Motorsports bought from BK Racing for $2 million before the 2017 season.
The lawsuit was filed by Union Bank & Trust, and they are alleging that BK Racing owes it $9.1 million on a loan that also included two charters as collateral. The bank claims it has the rights to the charter for BK Racing’s No. 83 car.
Front Row Motorsports bought the No. 83 charter, and they leased the charter to TriStar Motorsports. Cole Whitt drove the No. 72 car for the 2017 season.
Teams can only lease a charter for one year, so the charter now belongs to Front Row Motorsports unless the court determines otherwise.
Drivers of the 36 charter teams automatically have a spot in the Daytona 500, which leaves four spots for non-charter teams.
BK Racing team owner Ron Devine said the amount his team owes is closer to $8 million.
“They wanted to make a big stink about it so that we would react and do stuff that we don’t want to do with them,” Devine said. “We’re working on it. I actually have an agreement with them in place.
“They’re not going to stop [the lawsuit] until we finish, but we have an agreement that will get us cleaned back up.”
Devine claims the bank doesn’t have the rights to the No. 83 charter, but Devine said he isn’t concerned about the issue.
A NASCAR spokesman had no comment on the situation, and they’ll likely wait for this to play out in court before they make a statement.