How NASCAR Splits The Money

How come twentieth sometimes earns more than tenth?

LOUDON, NH - JULY 24: Dale Jarrett, driver of the #88 UPS Ford, during practice for the Siemens 300 on July 24, 2004 at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire.
Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images


Prior to the 2016 NASCAR season, the Sanctioning Body used to display winnings on the official box score within the official results. With the advent of the Sprint Cup Charter System, that practice is no longer utilized.

Ending a traditions that went back more than six decades, NASCAR stopped disclosing official winnings in Sprint Cup box scores for the 2016 season because of its new ownership model.

The decision was made to no longer disclose total purse and individual winnings for each race because it’s no longer contemporary under the new system announced during the 2016 NASCAR Media Tour that guaranteed revenue and race attendance for 36 teams with charters. Another four open cars -- those without a charter that guarantees making the race -- could round out each field for a maximum of 40 cars.

NASCAR had supplied race winnings ever since its 1948 inception as money earned was synonymous with motorsports heritage. For example, Jim Roper is credited with earning $2,000 for winning the inaugural Strictly Stock event at the Metrolina Fairgrounds. The series also once listed each event’s total purse on entry blanks and box scores but that ended after the 2015 season.

Under the current system, NASCAR has set aside guaranteed revenues for charter teams based on entering each race and their performance over the past three seasons.

Those 36 teams will also compete for a points fund with more cash.

The fourth and final source of income for chartered teams is what used to be called the purse, but its now, it's dependent solely on finishing position. The charter and open teams compete for the same pool of money in what is known as the “variable” purse that is based on results, in addition to the “fixed” purse that offers guaranteed money in much larger amounts for the charter teams.

Other nuggets of the provision

–Open teams also will receive a guaranteed amount (referred to as a “fixed purse) as the charter teams do, but it will be much smaller. Dewar said it was roughly 30 percent of the guarantee for a chartered team.

–If fewer than four open teams compete in a race, the leftover money will be placed in a year-end pool that will be distributed among the top three open teams based on performance.