If you think owning a stable of racehorses could max anyone’s credit card, try keeping two NASCAR racers primed for battle and fueled up at the starting line. Never before has money played such a big part in the auto racing game. In fact, to most people, money is the game. Long gone are the days when the winning owner simply paid the driver and crew a stipend and used the balance as best he could to prepare his car for the next weekend race.
Keeping A Car On The Track Is Expensive
Today the expenses involved for keeping just two mid-level cars on the track is staggering. Although some big-time owners may have only two cars on the track, they usually have an average of 13 or 14 cars under construction. It makes sense, therefore, with that many cars in the garage, the owner (or owners), should have a team of skilled mechanics on the payroll to keep them ready for race day. Not only are the mechanics on the payroll but also teams that handle the purchasing, stocking, and inventory of hundreds of parts required for the cars. To take care of billing, payroll, and the myriad of other details, an administrative team is included as well as is a logistic team that arranges the racing schedules and travel for the cars, trucks, mechanics, drivers, and pit crews. Then there are the public relations people, the legal staff, the secretaries, and many others to help support the effort for putting the cars on the track. In fact, an entire mid-level racing team consists of almost 100 people.
While the costs vary from team to team they are all close approximations for just one “typical” 2-car Nextel Cup team.
- Cars - $130,000 each
- Salaries for the teams - $3 million/year
- Drivers - $400,000 for a rookie up to several million for a top ten driver
- Travel - $1 million/year for each team
- Tires – At least $20,000 per race
- Engines - $40,000 each
If you think these figures are high, the costs for the larger, more popular teams can be double or even more.