If you’re a big racing fan, the third Friday in May might just be your favorite time of the year. It’s NASCAR Day, when drivers, celebrities, corporate sponsors and fans come together to celebrate their favorite sport and raise funds for charity. It’s also the perfect time to take a pit stop and look at the biggest money-earners in the sport.
With the exit of the series’ top sponsor, Sprint, NASCAR takes on a new face starting this year: Monster Energy. The energy drink brand is already heavily involved in motorsports and will be spending at least $20 million on the NASCAR event, according to ESPN. The Monster Energy NASCAR Series kicked off Feb. 26 with the 2017 Daytona 500. Check out the results of the race below along with the net worths of the top drivers in NASCAR, some of whom rival the richest athletes of all time.
NASCAR Gives Back
NASCAR Day directly benefits the NASCAR Foundation, which was created in 2006 by Betty Jane France, wife of former NASCAR head Bill France Jr.
France, who is also the mother of current NASCAR CEO Brian France, passed away Aug. 29, 2016.
The NASCAR Foundation focuses on children’s charities through its Speediatrics Children’s Fund and the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. The Foundation says more than 500,000 needy children have been served by its charitable giving over the past 10 years.
The 2016 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award gave $100,000 to the pediatric brain cancer research and awareness charity Team Jack Foundation, as well as $25,000 each to three other finalists: Tuesday’s Children, a foundation serving families who lost a loved one in the September 11 or other terrorist attacks; Mikayla’s Voice, a charity that promotes inclusion and awareness of the differently abled; and Backpack Beginnings, an organization which helps the hungry in Greensboro, N.C.
Jimmie Johnson Is the Highest-Paid NASCAR Driver
Jimmie Johnson won his record-tying seventh NASCAR title in 2016. In doing so, he led all earners on the track with a total of $21.8 million — $16.8 million in race winnings and $5 million in endorsements.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., named NASCAR’s most popular driver for the 14th straight year, slipped from the top spot for the first time in almost a decade. He missed the last 18 races due to concussion-related injuries, but still finished at No. 2 with $21.1 million in total earnings.
Denny Hamlin, who kicked off the 2016 season with the closest win in NASCAR history at the Daytona 500, was the third-highest earner last year. Hamlin brought in a total of $15.2 million.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Other Daytona 500 Drivers’ Net Worths
Dale Earnhardt Jr. might have come in 37th after not finishing the 2016 Daytona 500, but he entered the race with a clear lead when it comes to net worth. With a whopping $300 million to his name, being the sport’s most popular driver clearly has its perks.
See below for the rankings of the Daytona 500 drivers, in the order they finished the race. Though net worth information isn’t available for all of them, the drivers combined are worth at least 1.15 billion.
|Position||Car Number||Driver||Net Worth|
|1||41||Kurt Busch||$50 million|
|3||47||A.J. Allmendinger||$18 million|
|5||27||Paul Menard||$30 million|
|6||22||Joey Logano||$24 million|
|7||5||Kasey Kahne||$50 million|
|8||15||Michael Waltrip||$35 million|
|10||6||Trevor Bayne||$10 million|
|13||78||Martin Truex Jr.||$30 million|
|14||24||Chase Elliot||$2 million|
|15||95||Michael McDowell||$10 million|
|16||34||Landon Cassill||$5 million|
|17||11||Denny Hamlin||$45 million|
|20||7||Elliot Sadler||$25 million|
|21||31||Ryan Newman||$40 million|
|22||4||Kevin Harvick||$70 million|
|25||38||David Ragan||$20 million|
|27||2||Brad Keselowski||$15 million|
|28||1||Jamie McMurray||$25 million|
|31||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$20 million|
|32||14||Clint Bowyer||$30 million|
|33||10||Danica Patrick||$60 million|
|34||48||Jimmie Johnson||$120 million|
|35||37||Chris Buescher||$5 million|
|37||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||$300 million|
|38||18||Kyle Busch||$50 million|
|40||20||Matt Kenseth||$60 million|
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All net worth figures are according to CelebrityNetWorth.com.