NASCAR, America’s premier stock racing league, has a certain reputation. Unfair, perhaps, but NASCAR is known as a beer swillin’, pot belly havin’ type event. Big. Brash. Loud. American. However, as with most big, brash, loud, American things, a lot of money is involved. Sponsorship deals and prize winnings can amount to tens of millions of dollars for a top driver, and even the greenest driver can expect a starting salary of around half a million. Not too shabby, but how much does it get to get a team off the ground and onto the track?
Four wheels and an engine
The answer is eye-watering. Need a car, right? Right. Car needs an engine, yes? That will run you… $3.5 Million. A year. For each driver. NASCAR’s teams run a continuous engine tuning and production operation, hoping to get a leap on the other drivers, and so spend fortunes on research and construction and you’ll need to keep up to get the big bucks.
Building a team
The car is yours. Somehow. The piggy bank is looking a little bare, but at least you can jump in and start raking in prizes now. But wait. Who is going to repair the car? Tune it? Bring your superstar driver various chilled drinks? Manage the advertising revenue? You get the picture. A team needs about 90-100 highly trained members, and they have highly trained pay checks. $2.5 Million worth of highly trained, and that’s a low estimate. Top teams may spend one and a half times that. Throw in the smaller extras, like travel, tyres, driver salary and all together a NASCAR team will run you around $10 million a year.
Still, when your NASCAR team is up and running, you could expect to get $20 million from sponsors and winnings. Maybe time for that second mortgage…