It is no secret that it takes some big bucks to run a NASCAR stock car team. State of the art racing technology doesn’t come cheap, and no expense can be spared if a car is to be competitive against the likes of super teams such as Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske. Throw the charter system into the mix, with charters now going for over $12 million, and the cost of running a team can really skyrocket.
A NASCAR Stock car at Cup series level can cost from $200,000 to $600,000 for a complete car. This includes aspects like tires, chassis, engines, wheels, and brakes. Engines are the most expensive aspect of the car at around $100,000, trucks and Xfinity Race cars, while cheaper are still $100-$200,000 before costs.
But what about the cars themselves? Surely 3300 lbs. of steel and carbon fiber racing machine comes at a pretty penny. In fact, that cost is about $200,000 to $600,000, for that is what it costs on average to build a NASCAR stock car. Let’s break this down.
How Much Does a NASCAR Engine Cost?
The engine is easily the most expensive component of a NASCAR racecar, by far. Teams will be looking at shelling out around $100,000 for a fully built engine. And bear in mind that teams may use multiple engines over the course of a single race weekend.
How Much Do NASCAR Tires Cost?
Those Goodyear Eagles don’t come cheap, either. Each NASCAR Cup racing tire costs from $400 to $450. For each individual tire, mind you, meaning a set can cost from $1600 to upwards of $2000. (The reason for the variance is because Goodyear develops a different tire package for each track, and the R&D costs surely factor into these prices).
A team will use from 5 to 14 sets of tires over the course of a race weekend, depending on the abrasiveness of the track surface (though the tires, which only have about 1/8-inch tread depth, on average last about 150 miles). That adds up to a lot of money! Teams can spend up to $20,000 at the track just to keep rubber on the car, in some cases.
Oddly enough, race teams don’t actually buy the tires from Goodyear. Rather, they lease them.
How Much Does a NASCAR Chassis Cost?
Moving forward with the Gen-7 car, all NASCAR chassis will be made by a Michigan based company call Technique, Inc., and each will come at a cost of $28,000 dollars. While that is still a lot of money, it will be a dramatic decrease compared to the past, when chassis could easily cost upwards of $70,000 dollars. Which leads us into our next topic…
Will the Next Gen NASCAR Reduce Costs?
The Next Gen Car will dramatically cut costs for NASCAR race teams. In fact, this was one of the primary areas of focus the sanctioning body had in mind when designing it, along with improved safety and competition features.
How will the new car save teams money? Basically, by centralizing the manufacture of many essential components, as with the aforementioned chassis. Whereas in the past teams had to make their own or buy from another team, all teams will be buying the same components from single suppliers, a practice which is bound to tighten competition as well as cut costs.
- For example, BBS of America, Inc will make all wheels just as Goodyear makes all NASCAR Cup tires.
- Five Star Race Car Bodies will make most of the different body components,
- While springs will be supplied by Hyperco
- Radiators and coolers by PWR North America,
- Bumpers by Kirkey Racing Fabrication,
While many have criticized this move saying that the new NASCAR racing machine is basically a spec car, this system of building race cars appears to be the future.
Another factor that will counteract rising costs for race teams is that they will now be limited to having 7 cars in rotation at any given time. In the past it was not uncommon for the larger teams to have twice that number.
But that is not to say that the savings will be immediately apparent as the 2022 season gets underway. In fact, the 2022 season is bound to be one of the most expensive for NASCAR teams in recent memory.
The reason is twofold in that as the old Gen 6 cars and (because Gen 7 really is so vastly different) most parts will have to be cast aside, the new cars will inevitably undergo a shakedown phase as they take to the track in actual race conditions.
Only in this way will they come to be fully understood, and it is almost guaranteed that adjustments and tweaks will have to be made as the intricacies of the gen 7 car reveal themselves.
So in that sense it seems as though much of the expense of switching to the next gen car will be “front-loaded.” That is, there will be a lot of upfront cost in the first season or two, but once the gen 7 NASCAR machine is dialed in, the savings for race teams compared to the cost or racing the old gen 6 cars will really start to show…until NASCAR goes to a hybrid engine sometime in the not-to-distant-future, anyways.
How Much are the Costs for Running a NASCAR team (Cup/Xfinity/Truck).
We have highlighted the costs for teams running in the NASCAR Cup/Xfinity and Truck series in the table below.
|NASCAR Division||Annual Low Cost||Annual Medium Cost||Annual High Cost|
|NASCAR Cup Series||6,000,000 Dollars||15,000, 000 Dollars||25,000,000 Dollars|
|Xfinity Series||2,200, 000 Dollars||6,000, 000 Dollars||9,000, 000 Dollars|
|Truck Series||800,000 Dollars||2,200, 000 Dollars||3,500, 000 Dollars|
|ARCA Series||350-500, 000 Dollars||1,000,000 Dollars||1,500, 000 Dollars|
How Do NASCAR Teams Raise Money?
At this point you may be wondering how in the world anyone could afford to go stock car racing, let alone make it into a profitable business? The answer is a bit complicated, but let’s break it down.
The basic answer to that question is that teams have multiple sources of revenue, which is a fortunate thing considering the costs involved which we have discussed in this article.
What are those sources? For one, teams earn purse money depending on how well they finish in the races. In the case of a big race like the Daytona 500, in which Team Penske and winning driver Austin Cindric pocketed between $1.5 and $2 million, a team can go home with quite a payday.
Of course, this is exceptional, but it goes to show that simply doing well on the track can reap big rewards.
Teams also take home big bucks from corporate sponsorship. In the case of the biggest teams with household name drivers, this can add up to tens of millions for a season. Also teams earn considerable sums through licensing and branding deals on merchandise like die cast cars, tee shirts, etc.
So considering all the revenue a team can take in from various sources, it becomes much easier to see how they manage.
You better have deep pockets if you want to race a NASCAR Stock car, even at low levels it can be up to half a million dollars a year. At the top levels a NASCAR cup series car will cost you between 200,000 to 500,000 dollars once all improvements research etc has been carried out.
Now imagine driving that investment around a track at 200 miles an hour with 40 others! One wrong move and that investment is gone.