In the grand scheme of things, none of us will ever know how much money NASCAR makes or saves each year. For decades, the organizations that own and operate NASCAR have kept that information closely held. But thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, we now know how much money NASCAR makes in 2019. The information was posted online by the Department of Labor and is available for all to see.
One of the first things you’ll discover about the 2019 NASCAR season is just how much money it makes compared to previous years. Per the Department of Labor, NASCAR’s overall compensation for employees was $48,570, which is up from $46,870 the year before and $45,400 in 2018.
That’s a pretty substantial increase, especially since most industries saw significant cutbacks and compensation stagnated for much of the year. But it’s important to keep in mind that this is just overall compensation for employees. That figure does not account for employee benefits or how much time off employees get to enjoy. It also does not include additional compensation such as paid time off or cash bonuses.
Salary And Wage Disparity
One of the biggest developments in NASCAR this year was the salary and wage disparity existing between the haves and the have-nots. For years, the biggest earners in NASCAR’s garage were the men and women who work for Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. But starting in 2019, the disparity has grown to amazing proportions.
Take Earnhardt Ganassi Racing for example. The team is owned by four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and five-time IndyCar Series champion Chip Ganassi, who is also the CEO of one of the world’s most famous car companies. According to the Department of Labor, Ganassi’s employees earned $26 million in 2019. That’s more than twice what they earned in 2018 and almost five times what they earned in 2017.
Similarly, John Hunter Nemechek, who drives the No. 88 Chevrolet in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, made $12.7 million in 2019. That’s more than four times what he made the year before and almost twice what he made in 2018.
These are just a few examples of the massive income disparity in NASCAR. While it’s great that these employees are enjoying unprecedented wealth, it’s important to remember that this is also causing resentment and tension between employees who feel they’re working harder than ever but aren’t seeing much in the way of rewards. Fortunately, the issues this year have not yet been as pronounced as in previous years and seem to be stemming from a misunderstanding on the part of some employees. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail in the coming months and wage and salary parity will be reached.
Are NASCAR Jobs Security Or Just A Paycheck?
Another significant change this year was the way NASCAR views its employees. For years, many have perceived NASCAR as a job security program. The slogan “We’ve got your back” has long been a symbol of support for the teams and drivers that the organization backs.
But over the last year, that’s changed. As a result of the pay gap and the increasing disparity between the haves and the have-nots, many employees have questioned whether or not NASCAR is just a paycheck away from losing a key employee or a team. Just this year alone, NASCAR has announced plans to reduce its workforce by up to 20% in an effort to streamline costs and become more competitive.
But will all these changes make much difference in the grand scheme of things? Ultimately, it’s not up to us to decide. The bottom line is that NASCAR makes enough money to live comfortably and provides enough employment for the people it needs to keep the lights on. And for the most part, things have not yet gone too far off the rails. The industry is still a far cry from the turmoil experienced in the early ’90s. Hopefully, with some time off for paychecks and the odd golf game mixed in with the work hours, everything will be back on track next season.
How Much Does A Driver Get Paid?
One of the most interesting aspects of the 2019 NASCAR season is just how much each driver and crew chief gets paid. Some of them earn a few thousand dollars each race, while others earn more than $100,000. But the most prominent figures in NASCAR make a whole lot more than that.
Take Kurt Busch for example. The former driver for Penske Racing now works for Turner Sports as a studio analyst. Per the Department of Labor, Busch and his team members made $19.7 million in 2019. That’s more than double what he and his employees made in 2018 and almost six times what they made the year before. Similarly, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his employees at Hendrick Motorsports made $16.3 million that year. That’s more than double what he and his employees made in 2018 and almost four times what they made the year before. And those are just a few examples of the significant pay raises many prominent drivers and teams experienced this year. When you add in endorsement deals, movie appearances, and other revenue-generating opportunities, it’s clear that NASCAR has changed a lot in the past year but is still a very lucrative industry for those who can make it work for them.