NASCAR Cup Series 2021 Prize Money

The NASCAR is an American auto racing authorizing and operating company that is best known for stock car racing. Each year, NASCAR sanctions over 1,500 races at over 100 tracks in 48 US states. The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series will be the 73rd season for NASCAR professional stock car racing in the United States and will be the 50th season for the modern-era Cup Series.

The official 2021 schedule was released on September 30, 2020. The 2021 NASCAR race will start on Tuesday 9 February and will go on till Sunday 7 November. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was some schedule change on December 8, 2020, it was announced that Auto Club Speedway will not host a race in 2021 and will be replaced by the Daytona Road Course, which will swap dates with the Homestead–Miami Speedway race. 

Nascar Cup Series Prize Money

There was a time when NASCAR published how much that purse was, and how much each team earned. Those days are long gone. These financial information are well hidden now. Outsiders have to guess the prize money which depends on many facts. Every team and driver have a set contract with a breakdown of the prize money distribution. None of them are the same.

Parker Kligerman an American professional stock car racing driver explained some details about the prize money distribution. He explained 3 of the different scenarios. These only pertain to the top series Sprint Cup.

1. Class-A: (I.E Drivers on a fully-funded team, and are considered Tier 1 skill level or been there many years)

Compensation Break Down:

  • Base Salary: x,xxx,xxx (Usually ranging from high six figures to high seven figures)
  • Prize Money: Base 40% of prize money
  • Tiered Prize Money (This can be different for every driver, usually this system is used with a less experienced driver, on a major team)
  • Bonus Structure (Once again can be different for everyone)
  • Race win bonus (Can be % of prize or a cash bonus)
  • Making the chase Bonus (Usually a cash bonus)
  • Championship Bonus
  • Big race bonus’s or amount of win’s bonus (i.e Daytona 500, Indianapolis)
  • Compensation for Merchandise: Can be anything. As every driver has a different feel as to what their merchandise may do revenue-wise.

2. Class B : (I.E Midfield team with a decent amount of sponsorship, running 21st-28th in the standings)

  • Base Salary: 250k-600K+
  • Prize Money: Usually tiered like the system in Class A. With lower %’s
  • Bonus Structure: This can change depending on the team’s goals. (I.E A team that wants to finish top 20 in the points for the first time might reward the driver a small sum for t0p 15 finishes)
    Bonus can be a simple cash payout to limit teams exposure financially to bonuses.

3. Class C : (I.E Outside the top 28 in season points, without the driver bringing a sponsor)

  • Base Salary: 0-300K (At the higher end, usually this driver will receive no prize money, so the team can have a set financial forecast since they use the prize money to fund the car)
  • Prize Money: 0-50%
    A team may elect to pay their driver only in prize money (Reap what you sow at this end of the grid) Usually this can be in a situation where the driver brings a sponsor.
  • Bonus Structure

1. Some teams will have modest percents of prize money usually excluding the TV money portion.

2. Teams will pay base cash bonus’s for finishing position as they are trying to get in the top 25. Also using set amounts helps them with their financial forecasting.

$2500 for 25th-21st

$5000 for 20th-15th

So on and so forth.

There can be a bonus only for something unlikely like a win or making the chase. As this is so unlikely teams may make these quite large compared to the rest of the contract.

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