News: NASCAR teams tell AP they've hired top antitrust lawyer Jeffrey Kessler on eve of Daytona 500


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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — 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 & Strawn 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.

The current charter agreement expires at the end of this season, and two years of talks were stalled by NASCAR’s ongoing negotiations on a new $7.7 billion television rights deal announced in early December. NASCAR’s economic offer to the teams came shortly after but with zero room for the teams to counter.