NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin recently took questions from his fans during his podcast, Actions Detrimental, and while answering one of them he explained why NASCAR driver contracts and winnings are much more secretive than other sports.
First, Hamlin started with the obvious noting that NASCAR does not have a salary cap.
He said, “A lot of that reason is because we have no salary cap so it doesn’t have to be public information. Other sports it’s publicized, ‘This wide receiver got a four-year $120 million contract’ whatever it might be. A lot of that is public information because they have to monitor what the teams spend.”
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Hamlin continued, “Around NASCAR they always keep the money a little more secretive. They stop posted what our winnings are. I think Bob Pockrass, each week, posts like, ‘With the charter and historical money, and blah, blah, blah, blah the purse for this weekend is blank. But it’s not really broken down.”
“So I’m not sure,” Hamlin then admitted. “We’ll have to NASCAR really why the money is hidden so much. I know that people used to really like seeing what their drivers made on any given weekend.
Nevertheless, he posited, “I think when they started changing where they put the money. It used to all be in the race purse and five, six years ago when the charters came around they started putting it in different buckets. The teams were like, ‘Hey, we need more guaranteed revenue.’ So they said, ‘Okay, each team that has a charter will get ‘x’ amount and then however you have finished in the point standings for the last three years, that’s a fund as well.'”
“So 1st to 36th and obviously 1st gets a bigger share of the pie. So that’s what we are essentially racing for. And then we have our actual race purse, which we make on a weekly basis. That is, of course, ranked as well from 1st to 36th,” Hamlin elaborated.
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“But the difference is — we talk about this all the time with our 23XI team — if we go spend a few more million dollars to go run 10 spots better the return’s really not there. There’s not enough discrepancy between going to and being the top versus being mediocre or being towards the back. The line is not very vertical. It’s more horizontal,” he detailed.
“I think that’s something the team’s will talk about in the next negotiations of like, ‘How can you entice some of these bottom teams to spend more money to be competitive,'” Hamlin predicted. “Because right now, really the most profitable teams are at the back of the field because they spend what it takes to put their car on the racetrack every week and sometimes that’s all they’re trying to do, is get to the racetrack.
He clarified, “I’m not saying they’re doing it to just go collect the check, but they’re looking at the business model saying, ‘Well, it doesn’t make sense to spend more money to go faster because if I gain one or two spots in the standings, it’s not worth what I have to spend to get there.'”
What do you make of Hamlin’s explanation as to why NASCAR and its drivers keeps their contracts and winnings so secretive?
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