Skip to main content

With a notable 36% fan base among American adults, NASCAR‘s privately-owned status adds a layer of mystery to its overall financial landscape. Given the sport’s popularity, some of the most basic information about NASCAR is surprisingly hard to come by. Since transitioning to private ownership in 2019, the company has veiled its revenue figures. A glimpse into the transparency afforded by corporate sponsorships reveals a significant $767 million income from them in 2023. What do we know about how much a NASCAR driver makes, and how does that number compare to the profits of the company as a whole?

How much money does NASCAR make annually?

Unlike many other professional sports organizations, NASCAR is a privately-owned company under no legal obligation to disclose its finances. NASCAR hasn’t publicly released attendance numbers since 2008 and stopped publicizing its revenue on going private in 2019. If NASCAR makes money selling tickets – one would assume they do – they keep the actual numbers to themselves.

Sponsorships are a bit more transparent. Per Forbes, in 2023, NASCAR made over $767 million from corporate sponsorships. That amount alone, without a dollar of ticket money, streaming royalties, or any other revenue, puts NASCAR in the top 20 sports organizations worldwide.

How much money does a NASCAR driver make?

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch waving wearing large polarized sunglasses
NASCAR driver Kyle Busch | James Gilbert via Getty Images

While NASCAR isn’t obliged to disclose many of its internal finances, general consensus puts Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing at the top of the heap – his contract guarantees him $16.5 million annually. At the opposite extreme, per FlowRacers, Spire Motorsports’ Corey LaJoie is the lowest-paid full-time NASCAR racing driver, bringing in just $200,000 annually.

Do NASCAR or F1 drivers make more yearly?

Of the many differences between Formula 1 and NASCAR (global vs. American fan base; complex tracks vs. simple ones; pointy, jacked-up 1,000 hp spacecraft vs. vehicles in shouting distance of showroom models), one of the least obvious is also the most interesting: finances.

Per Planet F1, Formula 1 drivers make considerably more than their stock-car peers. Max Verstappen is currently the world’s best-paid F1 driver, his $60 million annual income dwarfing Kyle Busch’s not-quite-seventeen million. Average salaries were equally lopsided: $11.4 million for F1 drivers, $4.5 million for NASCAR. 

Naturally, simple numbers obscure complex realities. Aside from lesser global reach and a smaller overall fan base, NASCAR also has a whole class of part-time drivers making less than $1 million. That brings down the average. NASCAR also has almost double the drivers per race, spreading revenue across a wider field.

Finally, global reach means that F1 drivers’ IP rights – individual sponsorships, personal appearances, etc. – have greater revenue potential than NASCAR drivers. NASCAR drivers have comparable rights to F1 drivers and do similar things; they’re just playing to a smaller crowd.