Helton downplayed the immediate significance of the new faction, saying NASCAR will "continue to do business the way we've done business."
"They've made clear their intentions are to grow the sport and make the sport stronger through their ownerships, and we have respect for what they do in their business models," Helton said at New Hampshire Motorspeedway, "but the other thing is, the way we do our form of motorsports has worked. We continue to add assets and values to create and grow the sport. We'll continue to do that and also continue to do that with the input of as many people as we can do individually."
Helton said he did have notice from the RTA that it was forming.
The RTA currently includes Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motor Sports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske. Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman was elected chairman of the RTA, which was formally announced Monday.
Kauffman said the top goal of the RTA, which is operating with bylaws and an executive committee, was to bring in the remaining Sprint Cup teams that are not currently members. Also high on the agenda are cost-saving initiatives related to travel and parts, and communicating with one voice to NASCAR when it comes to team ideas on testing.
But some in the sport believe the RTA will ultimately want so much more, from a larger share of the cut in a TV deal to pulling some sort of power play when it comes to larger issues facing NASCAR. What's the end game for the most powerful owners in NASCAR?
Smith also took a playful jab at Kauffman, saying he didn't know anything about the Michael Waltrip Racing owner who invested in 2007.
"What does he do?" Smith asked.
He could be the chairman of a group that changes the face of NASCAR.
"I guess in some ways Pandora's box has been opened with this. We'll see where it leads," Johnson said. "This is a good thing. I don't feel like this it's going to drive a separation or a split. I don't even know where a separation or a split would take place."
The formation of the RTA comes as NASCAR enters next season with a new $8.2 billion television package. Teams currently get a portion of the money from the TV package, but Kauffman said renegotiating the teams' cut was not on the current agenda.
With little known about the RTA and all of its plans, Smith said it was bad news for the sport, though he didn't specify how.
"I think here again, if you're NASCAR or Speedway Motorsports, show me one thing that's going to help the sport," Smith said. "I'm not seeing anything that's going to help the sport."
Helton said everyone needed to exercise caution before forming an opinion on the RTA.