Kenny Wallace recently posted a video talking about how much money NASCAR drivers make. During the video, he also provided some insight into the business of racing, and how money is shelled out for a typical race team.
The Business of Weekly Racing
Before going into the specifics about NASCAR racing, Wallace goes into detail about the more local type of racing. What do guys in a series like the World of Outlaws make.
What Wallace did was provide all of the different places that prize money for a race goes. Just because an average race pays $10,000 to win or finish fifth or what have you, does not mean that is what the driver is taking home on a typical weekend.
Everything in racing costs money, and, typically, it costs big money even to run a series like the World of Outlaws. Everything costs money, and drivers also have expenses that people in a typical day-to-day job do not normally have to think about.
It was interesting to hear about what a World of Outlaws type race team brings in on a typical weekend. Wallace describes weekly racing as a “Vagabond” lifestyle, and expresses that racing in a series like this is not a way to make a huge living. Sponsors are everything, and that is what it takes to make money at this level.
This was interesting to hear just because the outside viewer may assume that someone makes a lot of money just because they have expensive cars that bring to a race track every week. That is not the case, and that is something that the average viewer may not have awareness of.
The Business of NASCAR Racing
Kenny Wallace then goes into detail regarding how much NASCAR drivers make. They have to deal with similar limitations to the drivers at a weekly level. NASCAR drivers are considered “independent contractors”, and, as a result, are responsible for things such as their own taxes, insurance, and the like.
Some drivers obviously make more than others, but it was particularly interesting to see the kind of money that an Xfinity Series driver can make. Especially when compared to athletes in other sports minor leagues. Drivers such as Matt Crafton and Justin Allgaier have made career for themselves in the lower series, and this video shows why they are able to.
Obviously, NASCAR money is not quite the same as it once was. Due to the lower TV ratings and at-track attendance compared to 20 years ago, NASCAR drivers just do not make as much money as they once did. They are not poor by any means, however.
Again, there are things such as different types of insurance and other expenses that play a large role in how NASCAR drivers are paid. However, it is still quite surprising how handsome of a living some of these drivers can make.
Wallace even finished out by discussing how he was able to make money during and after his racing career. He did not run in NASCAR forever, so he could not count on that type of income continuing as time went on after he retired.
This video did a good job of putting hard figures and general principles to concepts that had been discussed frequently. It is not uncommon knowledge that it take a lot of money to race, and it is also not uncommon knowledge that sponsors are necessary to make money for racing.
However, this video put some hard figures and hard data to those principles. Add to that, it was from someone who has been in this business for years and years. Wallace has knowledge on the subject, and his word holds a lot of merit.
Overall, racing is a business at the end of the day just like other sports. There is a reason that things such as sponsorship money play such a huge role in how teams operate.