The former system which NASCAR used for more than six decades was changed back in 2016. In turn, it’s made the payouts and potential prizes that are won by drivers in races tough to gauge. Not only has NASCAR chosen to not reveal this information publicly, but they also won’t offer career earnings moving forward either. So for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400, the purse becomes somewhat of an unknown.
Back when this decision was made, Nate Ryan of NBC Sports detailed some of the new plans for the system, which sets aside guaranteed revenues for chartered teams. This is based on performance in the three seasons prior.
Under the new system, NASCAR has set aside guaranteed revenues for chartered teams based on entering each race and on their performance over the past three seasons. They also will compete for a points fund with more cash.
The fourth and final source of income for chartered teams is what traditionally has been called “the purse,” but in this case, it’s dependent solely on finishing position — carved out from the previous contingency plans that rewarded the most competitive teams.
Top Bet previously revealed that the increases in prize money from the sport come every five years. In turn, this may help to at least give an idea of the potential prize money and purse to some extent.
Projecting Pennzoil 400 Purse & Prize Money
Based on the above assessment from Top Bet, it pointed to the Daytona 500 paying roughly $1,581,483 to the eventual winner. When doing a bit of research, an article posted by FOX Sports back in 2016 pointed to the winner earning $1,586,503, so the numbers were fairly close.
The Pennzoil 400 was not listed on that article, but the Kobalt 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and its payout was posted. The prize money for that event during the 2016 NASCAR season was $442,415, making it the third-highest paying race on the schedule.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean the number is spot on at just over $440,000 to the driver who wins the Pennzoil 400, but it may be a good starting point. There are other things that factor into payouts, which is what makes the NASCAR payouts a bit confusing.
Bonus Money for Races
Along with the above structure for NASCAR paying out based on a number of various things, there is also apparently bonus money for certain teams. As Jamie Page Deaton of How Stuff Works detailed, the “Winner’s Circle plan” pays out bonuses, and this group features the previous season’s top-10 teams and two “wild cards.”
Deaton explained that there are also other plans along with this.
“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.”
The breakdown also cites that drivers will receive money for leading laps, best lap times depending on race and sponsor and a number of other things. Unfortunately, we’ll never know the exact numbers it seems, but can make a few educated guesses off history for the time being.