Today's question is all about prize money: Trop asks:
After every race we see each driver's winnings given their place at the end of the race. Does the entire amount go to the driver? Is it shared with the team? Does the team owner get a cut?That's actually a really good question. One that a lot of people wonder about. There's not really a correct answer because it differs from driver to driver and from team to team. Drivers contracts are usually written to say they get a certain percentage of the winnings for each race. What that percentage is varies from one driver to the next. A rookie driver or one without a high number of wins may only get a small percentage of the purse while a veteran, champion, or driver with a high number of wins usually gets a higher percentage of the winnings. It's thought that most drivers get about 40% of the prize money from the race sponsor. The remainder of the prize money goes to the owner who then distributes it. Some team members like the crew chief or the car chief may also have stipulations in their contracts that give them a certain percentage of the prize winnings as well.
Most drivers also have a base salary they receive for competing each season. This is written into their contracts. Regardless of where they finish in the field they receive this money and any prize winnings from the race are in addition to this salary. Drivers also receive incentives for participating in certain programs. That's why you see all those small logos on the car. Most of those are linked to an associate sponsor program. Let's say for illustration purposes that Skirt and Scuffs has agreed to pay the driver leading at half way a $100 bonus (we are cheap...sorry). Any driver can be eligible for that as long as they carry a sticker promoting our company on the car. If the driver leading at 1/2 way doesn't have the sticker they don't get the money. If you've ever been to a race and seen those large checks they give out during driver introductions that's what those are for. Those are the incentive checks.
Remember if you have a question please send us an email and we will look into it for you.
**Liz Allison's book The Girls Guide to NASCAR provides a great explanation on how this works.
Photo courtesy of foxumon