One of the oldest adages in racing is the easiest way to make a small fortune in the sport is to start with a big one. Costs in NASCAR are a murky thing.
Back in the early 90‘s my husband and his partner owned a company that sold and developed fast food franchises in the pizza, mexican and hamburger business.
Several franchisee‘s approached Rick to get into NASCAR Winston Cup racing for advertising purposes. It took them about six weeks to get ready for the last race of the year, to test it out, the Hooters 500 held at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
They hired a driver that had a car and placed the decals on the car.
Total expenses back then were only about $36,000 that the franchise owners paid for the one race, a far cry from $400,000 ++ today.
On Saturday their driver came in at position 34 on first qualifying. He thought he could do better and took the second qualifying run and hit the wall coming out of turn #4. So much for the dream of racing.
Bill Elliott won the race that day but Alan Kulwicki won the Winston Cup.
Today, the cost of doing business is mind-numbingly expensive over $400,000 a week and that makes even the most wealthy of car owners cringe. Salaries, equipment and travel aren’t cheap, especially when NASCAR takes its act on the road.
The days of loading a car on a trailer and pulling it with a pickup to the race track are over. So are the days of loading up a van with the crew, packing brown-bag lunches and re-using old car parts.
NASCAR has evolved into a prime-time sport, and it has the expenses to go with it. The cost of a single engine is about $125,000. It’s a staggering cost that forces some of the smaller teams to use the same engine for two or three races in a row.
The smaller teams generally pay their drivers 50 percent of their winnings. The elite teams pay the higher-profile drivers over $200,000 a week.
The rest of the race team is next, with an average weekly payroll of $83,500. That takes care of the mechanics, pit crew, public relations team, truck driver and engineers.
Keeping a 200-mph race car at full speed costs about $50,000 a week for parts and pieces. Tires and travel are next at $32,000 a week. Brakes and rotors add $20,000, and insurance, sanctioning fees and meal money are another $18,500 combined.
Not included in the weekly costs is the base price for the car itself. A new car costs at least $100,000. The team hauler runs another $500,000. They still get their gasoline from Sunoco for free.
By: Victoria Levinger Publisher