It is difficult to begrudge the high salaries some high-speed motorsport drivers earn. The sheer dedication to achieving the high level of fitness needed, the long absences away from home, the constant honing of their skills, and the ever-present danger they face means they earn their relatively large income.
Although average NASCAR salaries do not compare to Formula 1 drivers, the earnings are still respectable. The five most affluent NASCAR drivers are
- Jeffery Michael Gordon $515 mil.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. $300 mil.
- Jimmie Johnson. $160 mil.
- Tony Stewart $90 mil.
- Denny Hamlin $65 mil.
While they are racing in the NASCAR series, drivers are paid a salary and performance bonuses for a win. They are also allowed to endorse products, which results in significant additional revenue for the most successful drivers.
The Richest NASCAR Drivers
NASCAR has been welcomed onto the television screens in our homes since the 1960 Daytona 500.
The first LIVE broadcast of the whole NASCAR race at the Greenville-Pickens Speedway in 1971 cemented Americans’ bond with NASCAR heroes.
This celebrity status and shrewd business acumen have created some of the world’s wealthiest sports personalities. The richest of these are detailed below.
On August 4, 1971, Jeff Gordon was born and raced as a full-time NASCAR driver from 1993 to 2015.
During his career, Gordon raced in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and Sprint Cup Series (NASCAR) and, at 24, was the youngest ever driver to win the series.
He went on to win the series four times in 1995, 1997, 1998, and 2001.
He won the Daytona 500 three times and won a staggering 93 races over his career while also qualifying in pole position 81 times.
He has been named one of the 50 most excellent drivers in the history of NASCAR, while Fox Sports has named him the fifth-best NASCAR driver of all time.
As of the 2016 season, he was the highest-paid driver in the history of NASCAR and had a net worth estimated to be $515 million.
Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr, Better Known As Dale Earnhardt Jr
Few names are more associated with NASCAR than Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Born on October 10, 1974, Earnhardt is closely related to NASCAR celebrities.
- Dale Earnhardt Sr. (father).
- Ralph Earnhardt (Grandfather).
- Kerry Earnhardt (Half-brother)
- Jeffrey Earnhardt. (Nephew)
- Kelley King Earnhardt Miller (Sister)
Despite being related to NASCAR royalty, Earnhardt only started racing when he reached the age of 17 years old.
Early on, he raced for his father’s team, Dale Earnhardt, Inc, only to move over to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, where he remained until he retired in 2017.
He has a fantastic history of wins, including
- 2 Daytona 500 wins.
- Two NASCAR Busch Championships in 1998 and 1999.
Earnhardt has appeared in multiple TV shows outside of owning a NASCAR team and his driving career; he has been a voice-over actor for the video game Scarface: The World is Yours and in the Disney/Pixar’s show CARS.
In 2015 he started an Indie Pop band called Dale Earnhardt Jr.
He has appeared in multiple music videos and hosts Sirius XM Radio’s “Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Unrestricted.”
He also produces a podcast called “The Dale Jr. Download,” which recaps the weekend’s racing results.
He is involved in multiple companies.
In 2016 his NASCAR salary was $15 million, and it is estimated that his net worth is approximately $300 million.
Jimmie Kenneth Johnson
He was born on September 17, 1975. At only four years old, he started racing motorbikes, and at age seven, he won the 60cc championships.
At age 13, he was racing buggies and trucks in the off-road stadium and desert races.
At age 16, he signed on with Herzog Motorsports, where he raced in the off-road truck series in 1996.
He began racing full-time in NASCAR in 2002 year.
He stayed racing in NASCAR until he retired in 2020.
He won 6 championships and has won the Daytona 500 twice during his career. Johnson is considered one of the most significant drivers in NASCAR history.
He has made multiple television appearances and has been featured in several video games, magazines, and TV talk shows.
Johnson and his wife, Chandra, run the Jimmie Johnson Foundation.
- Helps children, families, and communities in need.
- Contributes to Habitat for Humanity.
- Contributes to Hendrick Marrow Program.
- Donates to Make-A-Wish Foundation.
- Contributes to Victory Junction.
- It has contributed over $2 million to the Education Champions Grants program.
- Assisted the American Red Cross with disaster relief efforts.
Johnson earned $21.8 million as a salary during his career and is said to have a net worth of $160 million.
Anthony Wayne Stewart
Tony Stewart (Nickname Smoke) was born on May 20, 1971.
At age nine, he won his first carting championship, and at age 16, he won the World Karting Association championship.
He transferred to the United Midget Racing Association until 1991 (age 20), when he moved to the United States Auto Club (USAC).
In 1996 he made his debut in the NASCAR Busch Series, from which he eventually retired in 2016.
- He has been inducted into the USAC Hall of Fame
- In 1994 he was the USAC National Midget champion.
- Stewart was the first driver to win all three United States Auto Club National championships in a single season.
- Stewart is one of USAC’s “Triple Crown Champions.”
- Stewart racing has won the USAC Silver Crown Series titles seven times.
Stewart is involved in many businesses and runs the Tony Stewart Foundation.
- to help care for chronically ill children.
- Donates funds to drivers injured in motorsports activities
- Supports various animal charities.
In 2016 Stewart earned $12 million in fees and endorsements. During his career, he earned $130 million in his racing career.
It is estimated that Stewarts’ net worth is $90 million.
James Dennis Alan Hamlin, Better Known As Denny Hamlin
Born on November 18, 1980, Hamlin started racing go-karts at the grand old age of 7, and at 15, he won the WKA manufacturer’s cup.
At age 16, he converted to mini stocks, allowing new drivers and owners to compete in their class, and achieved pole position in his first outing. After this, he moved up to the Grand Stock division in 1998 and then to Late Model Stock Cars in 2000.
He won ten Late Model races in his first year and surpassed that in 2003 with 25 wins. In 2004 he qualified in pole position 30 times in just 36 races. At the same time, he signed on with Joe Gibbs Racing.
During his career, he raced in.
- Craftsman Truck Series.
- ARCA RE/MAX Series.
- NASCAR Cup Series.
- NEXTEL Cup.
- Nationwide Series.
Hamlin was involved in a massive crash in 2013.
In 2020 Hamlin became a team owner in partnership with Michael Jordaan with the X21 team.
It is claimed that Hamlin was one of the highest-paid drivers, and in the 2018 – 2019 season, he earned $14 million.
His estimated net worth is currently $65 million.
Although NASCAR drivers do not make the same amount as their peers in Formula 1, the drivers who achieve continued success succeed financially.
While they earn well during their careers with salaries and endorsements, some drivers have expanded their activities outside of NASCAR and have achieved considerable success in retirement. It is very nice to see that some of these drivers actively contribute through their charitable trusts.