NASCAR isn't like Major League Baseball or any other "mainstream" sport, at least, not in reputation. Most people don't really assume that NASCAR drivers make a lot of money — though some drivers really are wealthy.
Most drivers, though, aren't the ones who have $70 million in the bank. Some just assume that most NASCAR drivers are fairly low income when compared to other sports, with only a couple of people making the big bank they talk about in articles about the wealthiest people in the industry.
So, how much money do NASCAR drivers make? Is it really a poor sport? I decided to take a look into it to find out what a typical driver will make when they're dedicated to the track. Here's what I found out...
In order to understand how much money NASCAR drivers make, you have to understand the racing team aspect of it.
Most NASCAR drivers who run the track full-time belong to a NASCAR racing team. Racing teams help pool money together and support all the racers involved by helping gain sponsorship. In many cases, the racing team will bolster a driver's earnings through additional sponsorship.
On average, a NASCAR racing team will be worth $147 million — and their revenues will exceed $100 million every year. So, right off the bat, there's a lot of money to be made for the right team members.
NASCAR racing teams employ their drivers on a contractual basis, so they are the ones who determine a NASCAR driver's salary. Most of the time, the base salary will start at $500,000 and go up to $10 million, depending on how famous and talented the driver is.
This means that, at the very least, the answer to the question of "How much money do NASCAR drivers make?" is at least $500,000. Meanwhile, top NASCAR drivers earned as much as a $5 million salary during the nine month racing term.
How much do NASCAR drivers make when it comes to racing prizes and endorsements?
For many of the top race car drivers in NASCAR, the big bucks comes not from salary, but from endorsements and win money.
Endorsement earnings vary pretty greatly, and not everyone is able to seal private endorsements from companies. Even very noteworthy female NASCAR drivers have trouble getting them for teams. That being said, it is doable for many drivers. A typical endorsement can land anywhere from $50,000 or more in income for the right NASCAR driver.
NASCAR drivers who win, or even get into the top 10 of a high profile race will also get to enjoy the rewards of racing financially. A single win can easily lead to millions of dollars in bonuses, award money, and more. This is why high-win NASCAR drivers often will earn $20 million or more per . year.
How much money do NASCAR drivers make, overall?
A lot. It's hard to say and even experts have a hard time estimating and calculating earnings in this sport. However, as tricky as it is to calculate, it's safe to say that this is not a "poor sport" by any means of the word and that they often have enough money to afford as many racing cars and muscle cars as they want.