DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- BK Racing owner Ron Devine said he hoped his team's Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a quick reorganization process and that his plan is to race the entire 2018 NASCAR Cup season.
"I'll see you in Homestead," he said, referring to the final race of the year.
BK Racing filed for bankruptcy Thursday, less than 30 minutes before a hearing scheduled to consider a Union Bank & Trust request to appoint a receiver to take over the assets of the team. Those assets would have included the BK Racing charter, which guarantees a team a spot in every NASCAR race as well as a minimum amount of revenue for participating, plus a share based on the last three years' performance.
Devine said he has been negotiating with the bank, negotiations he characterized as progressing well in the past week, and is hopeful they can come to an agreement. According to a temporary restraining order obtained by the bank last month to keep Devine from selling any assets, the bank had established Devine owed it more than $8 million.
The bank claims the charter is collateral, a claim Devine disputes.
"The main thing right now is [with this filing] to keep the bank from trying to get a receiver so they can steal our charter and push it over to somebody else," Devine said.
Gray Gaulding will drive for the team Sunday in the Daytona 500, and Devine said the plan is for Gaulding to continue driving for the team, which originally bought the Red Bull Racing equipment to start competing in 2012.
"I don't really know [what will happen]," said Devine, who profusely thanked his employees who got the cars ready for the start of the season. "To be honest with you, I've been in business [for] 40 years with 26 companies and never been bankrupt before. ... My plan is to go race ever week, just like what we've been doing the last seven years."
BK Racing says in its bankruptcy filing it owes unsecured creditors $1.2 million, with the engine builder as its biggest debt. As of last week, BK Racing also faces a federal tax lien of more than $667,000 and owes the North Carolina Department of Commerce approximately $66,000 over employment security fees, according to separate court records.
NASCAR could take the charter from BK Racing for filing for bankruptcy, and NASCAR filed paperwork with the court to register its counsel in the bankruptcy case.
"They've never given me an indication they want our charter," Devine said.
"In fact, all they've ever done is stood next to us and been very supportive. I can't thank them enough. ... They don't have to go to bankruptcy court to get my charter. All they've got to do is tell me they want me out of here and I'll go. I don't think they want that."