How NASCAR Prize Money Works

How can NASCAR afford to pay some drivers millions of dollars each year?
How can NASCAR afford to pay some drivers millions of dollars each year?
Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR

Lots of people drive fast simply for the fun of it; however, that can be an expensive hobby, as most fast drivers also tend to collect speeding tickets. For the lucky few who make it as drivers in the NASCAR series, driving fast is more than just a passion -- it's also a job. Sure, it may be a great way to make a living in a position that millions of people worldwide envy; but when it comes right down to it, being a NASCAR driver is still just a job for many drivers in the series.


So, how does NASCAR take a bunch of fast moving c­ars and turn it into cash for the participating drivers and their respective teams? Obviously, ticket sales and merchandising play a role, as well as endorsements and sponsorships. In most cases, a big slice of the NASCAR money-pie comes fr­om prize money offered at each event -- the purse money that's up for grabs at each race. Eventually, all of that money (purse money) is divided between the drivers.

In this article, we'll learn all about how NASCAR prize money works, including where it comes from, how much is typically there for the taking and who gets the biggest share. You may be surprised to learn that it's not always who you may think! We'll also take a glimpse into the salary of an average NASCAR driver.

Keep reading to find out the secrets of the money machine behind your favorite NASCAR races.