Daytona 500 Purse 2018: How Much Money Does Winning Driver Make?

austin dillon, how much money make, daytona 500

Getty Austin Dillon is the winner of the 2018 Daytona 500.

NASCAR is not expected to release the purse info for the 2018 Daytona 500, but fans can get a close estimate of what Austin Dillon won based on past data. From 2010 to 2015, the winning driver earned about $1.5 million with the number going slightly up each year, meaning Dillon likely will earn a little more than $1.5 million. Things used to be a lot more transparent on the amount of money NASCAR drivers earned each race. The last number we have available came in 2016 when the winning driver earned $1,581,453. According to Fox Sports, the Charter deal now prohibits NASCAR from releasing purse information for each race.

One thing that will become less transparent this year is purse money. NASCAR will no longer disclose how much money teams earn in a given race. That was negotiated in as part of the Charter deal. In terms of NASCAR and the teams, the Charter system appears to be a big win for the sport. But in terms of transparency for the fans, not disclosing purse money is a step backward.

According to SB Nation, the total purse for the 2015 race, when data was previously released, was $18,042,556. According to Jalopnik.com, this new deal breaks a long streak of transparency from the sport as NASCAR released the purse info all the way back in 1961, when the winning driver earned $21,050.

There was a bit of controversy in 2016 after NASCAR ended up releasing the money figures anyway, then released a statement claiming the information was incorrect. NBC Sports detailed the earnings mishap.

The winnings in the original list that was incorrect stated Joe Gibbs Racing received $1,507,592 for Denny Hamlin‘s victory. Team Penske received $1,581,453 last year [2015] for Joey Logano‘s Daytona 500 victory.

Here was NASCAR’s statement on the error (via NBC Sports).

The information on 2016 Daytona 500 race team earnings posted (Wednesday) on NASCARMedia.com, our media services website was factually incorrect. We removed the information, rectified the errors and are providing the correct information to race teams. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and now collectively turn our focus to NASCAR racing action this weekend in Atlanta.

The 2018 purse is a far cry from the very first Daytona 500 winnings. According to WFLA.com, the first winner earned $19,050. This number saw its greatest jump from 1995 to 2000. In 1995 the winning driver received 300,460, but by 2000 the purse had jumped up to $1,277,975 as the sport enjoyed increased popularity.

NASCAR has become a lucrative business. According to Forbes, Jimmie Johnson earned the most money in 2016 with $21.8 million, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a close second with $21.1 million. Forbes detailed how the new charter system is aimed to spread the wealth beyond just the top drivers.

The charter system is intended to create more parity and help the little guy by spreading out the purse and bonus distributions deeper throughout the driver pool, instead of the bulk directed towards the top finishers. Each charter team receives a fixed plan amount, plus a historical plan amount based on the past three years of performance for the car. But for now, the top-earners are concentrated among four teams.