The Daytona 500 is one of the most exciting and followed events in sports and draws the most attention of any single NASCAR race. Not surprisingly, this also means the eventual winner takes home a big payday. But the way that NASCAR has done things in recent years makes gauging how much money is paid out a tough task.
The decision was made previously for NASCAR to not publicly reveal how much teams and drivers earn during the events. So while we can make a general guess and use previous years, there are many things that get factored into this. As FOX Sports revealed during an article back in 2016, they will no longer reveal how much money teams earn.
“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.”
With that said, Top Bet did reveal that the increases in prize money from the sport come every five years. In turn, this means that the 2019 purse for the Daytona 500 should be close to what it was last year, although it’s purely an estimate at this point.
Daytona 500 Projected Purse & Structure
*Note: The numbers are estimated based on 2018 and not official from NASCAR. These are projected off last year’s numbers due to a potential increase in prize money coming every five years (next coming in 2020). Numbers are courtesy of Top Bet and data from past years.
In an interesting breakdown, the way that the money is paid out isn’t quite how you’d typically expect. The projections point to the top-nine looking as follows but can vary, as we’ll explain below.
As Jamie Page Deaton of How Stuff Works detailed, things aren’t quite as cut-and-dry as you’ll find in many other sports. It’s even pointed out that the money outside of the top spot can vary, a lot based on a few different things.
“Shares of the race purse are handed out not only based on where a driver finishes, but also on the specific products the team uses — as in the case of the contingency money we talked about earlier in this article — how well the team is doing this season, how well the team did last season, and what type of prize money “plan” the team participates in.” Deaton writes.
Bonus Money for Races
To make things even more interesting, Deaton explains that certain teams will get bonus money no matter how they finish the race in the “Winner’s Circle plan.” This plan is made up of the previous season’s top 10 teams and two “wild card” positions. From there, you’ll find that there are a few other plans as well.
“The remainder of the plans — the Cup Series Car/Champion Owner Program, Plan 1 and Plan 1c — each have their own system for payout. Basically, we can tell you that they’re all based on the number of points a team has, how long they’ve been in the sport and how well they’ve done. NASCAR doesn’t publicize exactly how each of these plans pays out prize money.”
Beyond this, there is bonus money awarded for things like leading laps and best lap times depending on race and sponsor, among other things. Overall, it’s a situation that’s brutally tough to gauge, and it’s probably best to just enjoy the race and know that the winner is going to take home a nice sum of money.