After years of not releasing the prize money info, NASCAR announced that the 2020 Daytona 500 will have the largest purse in the history of the sport. This year’s Daytona 500 has a total purse of $23.6 million, per Daytona International Speedway.
This marks the first time Daytona International Speedway has made the purse information public since 2015, per ESPN. The exact amount of money for the winning driver has not been revealed.
The 2015 public data showed that Joey Lagano earned more than $1.5 million for winning the Daytona 500, per Fox Business. Given the size of the 2020 purse, this year’s Daytona 500 winner is expected to earn more than this for their trip to Victory Lane.
The Winner of the Daytona 500 Is Projected to Earn $2 Million
Sporting News put together an estimated prize share for the top drivers based on past data. The projections have the winning driver taking home $2,064,397, a sizable bump from past races. The top-three drivers are projected to all earn more than $1 million. Second place earns $1.5 million and third place takes home $1.1 million, per Sporting News’ estimates.
All this is quite a bit more prize money than Lee Petty earned in the inaugural race with a winner’s share of $20,000, per Daytona International Speedway. Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile called the race a “life-changing event for the winner” in a recent press release announcing the purse.
“The Daytona 500 is more than just the season-opening race,” Wile said in the press release. “It’s a life-changing event for the winner, whose name will join the legends of this sport. Fans will pack the state-of-the-art motorsports venue, and millions will watch on television. And the reason is simple: The Daytona 500 is one of the premier events in all of sports, and now has the richest purse in history.”
NASCAR Now Owns Daytona International Speedway Along With Several Other Marquee Tracks
NASCAR acquired the International Speedway Corporation over the offseason which gives the organization ownership of Daytona International along with several other marquee tracks. The $2 billion acquisition also includes Talladega, Homestead-Miami and a total of 12 tracks, per Fox Business. The move will have a major impact on NASCAR and gives the organization complete flexibility in creating the race schedule each year.
“It makes a big difference,” NASCAR Chairman Jim France told Fox Business. “It gives us an opportunity to respond quicker to the changing environment out here with the economy and all the things that are going on that impact motorsports. It was a major big step that we needed to make probably for quite a while.”
The merger is just one of the reasons fans should expect a number of changes heading into the 2021 season. Driver Kurt Busch is among those in favor of taking a few more risks for the future growth of the sport.
“We have been here so many times before, promised big calendar changes,” Busch told ESPN. “We all agree that we need new racetracks and new markets. More short tracks. Rovals, street races, shorter races. I say try it all, man…As long as I have been in this series, 20 years now, we’ve been saying we were going to try it all. But we’ve never really done it all. And what we’ve been doing, maybe hasn’t worked as well as we want it to. So, hell yeah, man. Do it all.”