Living the life of a NASCAR racer is living anyone’s dream. Driving and racing to heart’s content, capability to choose a car and, of course, the wealth of NASCAR salaries. Accounting numbers churned in at the NASCAR are colossal, you might gag by reading them.
Incoming cash flow for a cup favorite race driver, like Jeff Gordon, can pay for the operating cost of any little town. This cash flow stems from three sources, sponsorship, manufacturer’s support (which is the vehicle used), and the prize money. While those numbers generated from the manufacturer’s support and prize money are naturally immense, money from sponsorships are what made NASCAR salaries 5–6 digit numbers.
Sponsorship typically owns several facets of the game sports car. The primary sponsor gets the hood and/or rear quarter panels of the car. Over the years, the most comfortable amount traded in was around $12 – $16 million for advertising on this car side. There had been rumors that some sponsorship has reached the $20 million mark. The primary sponsorship also has the logos on the race driver’s uniform and equipment as well as carrying the company’s colors. A definite example is Tony Stewart and his very distinctive orange colors from the company’s orange of Home Depot.
Major associate sponsors get the rear deck lid or the rear quarter panels plus a prominent spot to place a logo on the uniform. Most primary and major sponsors swap back and forth making a varying effect every time. The associate sponsors, though amounting roughly from $50,000 to $500,000 do provide a substantial boost to the sponsored funds. There are times, in fact, when the NASCAR salaries are boosted even more or made even more substantial due to the wealth provided by the associate sponsorships, often numbering as many as 12. They are especially positive if the guarantees are smartly made and then met. On one Forbes account, Jeff Gordon had purportedly made $19.3 million in 2004. Yet when confirmed by NASCAR, Jeff won only $8.3 on the track. It says that much of his earnings where from endorsement agreements with his sponsors, plus bonus incentives (again from sponsors) and appearance fees.
The prize money, for most veteran cup winners, are icing on cakes. Yes, they are sweet but they never make you fat nor make you rich. Such is the sentiment of Rusty Wallace, whose feelings for the prize money is for sure shared by his winning peers. Yet, the amount is nothing to sneeze at. Sterling Marlin’s 1985 Daytona win got him and his team $300. Jeff Gordon’s win this year got him five times that amount.