Sports Illustrated has published its yearly list of the 50 Richest Athletes in North America, and of the Fortunate Fifty, four of them come from the ranks of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is highest among the drivers, and stands at #8 on the overall list. The third generation NASCAR driver moved up five spots from last season on the strength of $24 million in endorsements alone. He actually had the lowest amount of winnings of the quarter but by far had the highest endorsement figures in amassing a total of $28,164,690.
Jeff Gordon moved up a position from last year and shows up at #18 in the countdown. The new father scored $18 million in endorsements to aid a total of $23,912,830. Reigning series champion Tony Stewart showed the power of winning a NASCAR title is worth as he logged in at #29 after not even being on the list in 2011. Stewart’s $15,470,000 in endorsements moved his 2012 total to an even $22 million according to SI, with more than six million of that coming from race winnings.
Five-time series champion Jimmie Johnson is the last driver on the list, coming in with an even $21 million. He is 33rd on the list and is the only one of the four driver to actually fall a spot in 2012 (down from 32nd last year).
The magazine also compiled the 20 richest international athletes, with Fernando Alonso’s $40 million putting him at fifth on the list while Lewis Hamilton was 20th after earning $20 million. Hamilton fell eight spots from his ranking a year ago.