Professional NASCAR drivers strive to win races while making split-second decisions at speeds over 200MPH.
NASCAR drivers are not just skilled at racing at high speed, they are also entertainers who please their audience with their personalities.
What makes a good NASCAR driver is more complex than simply being the fastest; it is the combination of skills and experience gained through years of motor sport competition: mental fortitude, physical endurance and strength, marketability, business perception, technical aptitude, bravery, fast reflexes, confidence, and a burning ambition.
Here, I have highlighted all you need to know about the highest-paid NASCAR drivers.
Is Becoming a NASCAR Driver Worth It?
While the NASCAR drivers wheezing past in their heavy-duty machines on the race-track may seem like a feat worth emulating, the fact that it takes immense will and skill to do that is perhaps underrated.
Also, to pull off things that few can do normally also makes it a decently paying job. If you really love driving fast cars and being on the road for hours as a profession, then becoming a NASCAR driver would be worth it for you.
Do NASCAR Drivers Get Paid Well?
The amount of money you would be paid as a NASCAR driver depends on your skill and experience. If you are very good at being a NASCAR driver, you would amass a fortune over time.
The most successful NASCAR drivers have amassed enormous fortunes because of winning bog cash prices or having endorsement deals with major companies.
How Much Do NASCAR Drivers Make?
As a NASCAR driver, you can pocket anything between $100,000 and $300,000 in base salary and another $200,000 in prize money. The earnings also vary. In a good year, you can make over $130,000 for a race if you finish at the top.
When you add the endorsement money to that, and the figure is anything but shabby. Through the purse split, the winner, on average, takes home $47,500 a race while the loser makes close to $8,500.
How to Become a NASCAR Driver?
The path to becoming a NASCAR driver is arduous. You may be required to have some educational requirements. They might require you to enroll in a racing school, such as the course offered by the Sports Car Club of America, and earn a competition license to enter races.
The steps you should take to become one of the highest-paid NASCAR drivers are listed below:
1. Go to your Local Track
The initial step if you want to qualify as a NASCAR driver is to visit your local racetrack and purchase a pit pass if possible.
There is a possibility that you may meet race drivers, members of the crew, or any other officials there.
Such people are immense resources that can give you a different perspective on what is required to get started at the local track.
2. Start Racing in go Karts
This is the best way of getting started for kids that are too young to drive the race cars.
By racing Karts, you would actually get the feeling of actual racing. Many professional race car drivers races at ages as young as 5 behind the wheel of a go-kart.
Karting helps teach you the craft of racing, from control to adapt to the racetrack for speed. The earlier you race, the better your chances will be for cultivating a career later.
3. Progress up to Cars
When you have mastered the skill of racing in Karts for a while, you would have to progress up to racing cars. Racing cars are the real deal and would give you the feel of what the real thing is like.
4. Understand Car Tuning
Although it may come naturally for some, it’s important to understand the technical aspects of the car you’re driving.
Even if it’s just a basic understanding, that would work wonders for helping you advance up the ranks and perform at a higher level.
5. Find sponsors and network
You should know that a race driver would not be successful without the sponsors. The key to success for NASCAR drivers is their sponsors.
This can be done through social media presence or even in-person. The point is to get out there and build your brand.
6. Attend a racing school and get a racing license
There are also many racing schools out there that can help you hone your abilities. This will also go a long way to get the licenses needed to compete.
7. Watch professional drivers at work
By watching professional drivers, you may pick up a hint or two about driving.
8. Get an Internship with NASCAR
While many race car drivers don’t have college educations, working on a degree while racing and honing your skills won’t hurt.
It’s always good to have a degree and career to fall back on in case you don’t make it.
Plus, racing companies, including NASCAR, offer internships for college students.
9. Get physically fit and stay fit
Physical fitness is paramount to becoming a successful race car driver.
The trimmer and healthy a driver the better equipped he or she will be to withstand the heat, the G-Forces, and the body-battering strain of driving.
Race cars can also move faster when they carry less weight in the driver’s seat.
15 Highest-Paid NASCAR Drivers in the World?
- Martin Truex Jr
- Kevin Harvick
- Denny Hamlin
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kyle Busch
- Clint Bowyer
- Kyle Larson
- Joey Logano
- Cale Yarborough
- Brad Keselowski
- Dale Earnhardt
- Kasey Kahne
- Danica Patrick
- Matt Kenseth
- Ryan Blanley
1. Martin Truex Jr-
Martin Lee Truex Jr. is an American professional stock car racing driver.
He competes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving JGR’s No. 54 Toyota Supra, and part-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, driving the No. 51 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports. His earnings run at $9.9 million yearly.
2. Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick is a full-time driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet SS in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series.
He holds the all-time cup Series win record and is the Xfinity Series’ third-winningest driver.
He has a net worth of $70 million and earns at least $13.6 million yearly.
3. Denny Hamlin
James “Denny” Hamlin started out racing go-karts when he was seven and now he’s made a lucrative career out of a race car driving behind the wheel of No. 11 for Joe Gibbs Racing.
He won the MKA Manufacturers Cup in 1997 when he was 15, and in 2006 Hamlin was named “Rookie of the Year” at the Nextel Cup Series.
He’s won a number of races, including the 2010 Southern 500, 2015 Sprint All-Star Race, and 2016 Daytona 500. He earns $14.6 million yearly.
4. Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson is one of the most accomplished professional athletes of his era.
The only race car driver in history to be named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, he is a seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, sharing the all-time record with stock car racing icons Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
He is the author of one of the greatest championship runs ever seen in sports and continues to break new ground with his accomplishments both on and off the track. He earns $19.2 million yearly
4. Kyle Busch
Many know Kurt Busch as the older brother of NASCAR driver Kyle Bush, but he’s also won 27 Cup races during his career.
In 2004, Kurt beat Jimmie Johnson to become the 2004 Cup Series champion. Though he’s definitely talented, Kurt Busch has gotten into some trouble on and off the track and he’s had a few notable public feuds with other NASCAR drivers.
He earns $14.7 million yearly.
5. Clint Bowyer-
Clinton Edward Bowyer (born May 30, 1979) is an American former professional stock car racing driver and commentator for NASCAR on Fox.
He has total earnings of $6.9 million. His salary/ winnings are about $6.4 million.
6. Kyle Larson
Kyle Miyata Larson, nicknamed “Yung Money” is an American professional auto racing driver.
He competes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Hendrick Motorsports. He earns $10.1 million annually.
7. Joey Logano
Joey Logano is the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion and the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford.
Logano qualified for the NASCAR Playoffs in 2021 with a win on Bristol Motor Speedway’s dirt track, the series’ first race on dirt since 1970.
Logano is a 27-time Cup winner, including the 2015 Daytona 500, and earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award in 2009. He earns $10.2 million yearly.
8. Cale Yarborough
With a net worth of $50 million, Cale has one of the longest involvements with the sport.
While he was still racing he amassed 86 wins, making him one of those most winnings NASCAR drivers of all time.
9. Brad Keselowski
Bradley Aaron Keselowski is an American professional stock car racing driver. He competes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 2 Ford Mustang GT for Team Penske.
He was the owner of Brad Keselowski Racing, which fielded two full-time teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He earns $11.2 million.
10. Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt Sr. was an American professional stock car driver and team owner, who raced from 1975 to 2001 in the former NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now called the NASCAR Cup Series), most notably driving the No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.
He earns $22 million yearly.
11. Kasey Kahne
Kasey Kenneth Kahne is an American dirt track racing driver and former professional stock car racing driver.
He last competed in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018, driving the No. 95 Dumont Jets/Procore Technologies Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Leavine Family Racing. He earns $11.2 million yearly.
12. Danica Patrick
Danica Sue Patrick is an American former professional racing driver.
She is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing—her victory in the 2008 Indy Japan 300 is the only win by a woman in an IndyCar Series race. She earns $10.3 million.
13. Matt Kenseth
Matthew Roy Kenseth is an American former professional stock car racing driver.
He last competed full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Chip Ganassi Racing. He earns $9.0 million.
14. Michael Waltrip
Michael Curtis Waltrip (born April 30, 1963) is an American former professional stock car racing driver, racing commentator, and published author.
He competes for full time in the Camping World Superstar Racing Experience. He is the younger brother of three-time NASCAR champion and racing commentator Darrell Waltrip.
Waltrip is a two-time winner of the Daytona 500, having won the race in 2001 and 2003. He has a net worth of $30 billion.
15. Ryan Blaney
Ryan Blaney doesn’t have any wins this season, but he’s the highest in points of drivers without wins. He’s comfortably in the playoffs, and I think he could advance fairly far in.
Equally, he’s got some problems with consistency, though.
Currently, he has an average finishing position of 15.0, which is not bad, but not great either. He’s doing very well at difficult tracks, though. His net worth is $2 billion.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
The number of years that it takes depends on how quickly a driver can develop his skills and start winning races to gain recognition.
To become a NASCAR driver, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one has to depend on his raw racing talent. There are many factors that will determine if actually you are fit to be a good NASCAR Driver, before seeing that green flag at the NASCAR’S Sprint Cup Series.
There is nothing to prevent a female from becoming a NASCAR driver.
No specific degrees are needed to be a driver. However, do not forget to enter a racing school and get a license to be qualified to enter a race track.
You need to be 18 or older, and you must have a driver’s license.
Success comes in pieces. You find something that works one week and apply it to the next. Eventually, all the pieces come together and make a great picture.
If you are thinking of being a NASCAR driver, you should just go ahead and start with a step. There are no shortcuts to success in professional sports, and in NASCAR that holds especially true.