How NASCAR Prize Money Works

While lot of people drive fast for the fun of it, for the lucky few who make it as drivers in the NASCAR series, driving fast is more than just a passion — it’s a job. So, how does NASCAR take a race and turn it into paychecks for the participating drivers and their respective teams? First and foremost, NASCAR drivers are paid a base salary from their teams that can vary anywhere from $50,000 for developmental drivers to $10 million for acclaimed drivers like Joey Logano and Ross Chastain. Secondly, drivers can make insane prize money from winning races. The higher they rank, the more money they get to take home. For example, the 2022 purse for the league’s most prominent race, the Daytona 500, was $23.6 million. However, the winner doesn’t keep the entire purse. He must pay his employees, the car owners, and the sponsors. Through the purse split, the winner can take home an average of $47,500 a race, while the losers can still walk away with $8,500 on average. Still, that’s just prize money. Then there’s endorsement money and licensing, which adds to the equation but depends on the driver, his public image and his sponsors. Even the most inexperienced drivers have salaries close to $500,000 and can make up to $1 million every year in endorsements alone. According to numerous reports, the average NASCAR driver in the U.S. makes $112,038 annually — and that’s just for driving.