News #2 97-12-01

NASCARFans E-Mail List Chris Trickle is having good and bad days, and the insurance is about to run out. For current updates, visit or If you want to help with medical ...

NASCARFans E-Mail List

Chris Trickle is having good and bad days, and the insurance is about to run out. For current updates, visit or

If you want to help with medical expenses:

Chris Trickle Medical Fund Account # 0150798189 c/o Citibank 4065 South Jones Las Vegas, NV 89103 Phone: 1-702-364-2061 (ask for Jennifer or David)

(Thanks, Theresa, for the reminder!) ===== Ken Wagner sends me this report:

"Found some interesting numbers on the USAToday site ( regarding Forbes list of the world's highest paid athletes. Of the 40 on the list, only 3 race car drivers are listed.

Michael Schumacher is #4 on the list with a salary of $25 million and endorsements of $10 million for a total of $35 million a year.

Dale Earnhardt is #8 on the list with a salary of $3.6 million and endorsements of $15.5 million for a total of $19.1 million a year.

Jeff Gordon is #32 on the list with a salary of $3.8 million and endorsements of $6.5 million for a total of $10.3 million a year.

Earnhardt is #4 on the list in terms of endorsements, behind Michael Jordan ($47 million), Tiger Woods ($24 million), and Arnold Palmer ($16 million) -- pretty respectable company huh?"

Thanks, Ken. ===== This excellent article is from iRace (I think):

During a Winston Cup racing season, one of the most frequently asked questions among fans is: "Hey, why does the guy who finishes 15th or 20th at a race sometimes earn more money than the guy who finishes eighth or 10th?"

Hang with us, and we'll try to explain.

Although the primary sponsor's logo and colors dominate, Winston Cup cars are splashed with all sorts of decals in various colors, sizes and shapes. Several, such as the Winston Cup Series and Goodyear decals, are mandatory. Most others are optional.

BREAKDOWN OF GORDON'S WINNINGS Here's the breakdown of Jeff Gordon's $131,330 earnings from the recent Southern 500: Money Source $34,655 First-place purse $30,000 Winston leader bonus $10,200 Winner's Circle $7,000 Plan 1 $6,525 First-place TV money $5,000 RCA $5,000 MCI $3,000 Plasti-Kote $2,500 Longacre $2,000 Opryland $2,000 Western Auto $2,000 True Value $2,000 Raybestos $1,800 JE Pistons $1,750 Prestone $1,500 Moog $1,500 Holley $1,500 Mechanix $1,200 Spicer Driveshafts $1,200 Aeroquip $1,200 Competition Cams $1,100 Jesel $1,000 Unocal gasoline $1,000 Stant Radiator Caps $1,000 AE Clevite $850 Hurst $800 Edelbrock $750 Bowman $700 Simpson $600 3M And all of those decals, whether provided by a major multimillion-dollar sponsor such as STP, DuPont, Pennzoil or your favorite brew, or by an associate sponsor, mean money. That's why car owners gleefully decorate their 200-mph billboards with all of those stickers.

The money offered by each of the sponsors differs. Combined with the NASCAR Winston Cup Series funding programs to which some drivers may or may not be part of, you'll have a complicated formula but an explanation of why a driver low in the finishing order might earn more money at the track than a driver who finished ahead of him.

Like faithful Boy Scouts donning their merit badges, racing teams are loyal to the troops who dish out millions for advertisement. The more companies you serve, the better the chance to collect.

They're called special awards or contingency money, contingent upon display of the decal and, depending on the product, the use of the product, too.

Petty Enterprises, for instance, has refused to apply a Busch decal to its No. 43 car because of Richard Petty's anti-alcohol stand. Thus in February his team's car was ineligible for the Busch Clash, a race among the previous season's pole winners.

Race to race, however, contingency money usually is split among the top three to five finishers.

There's competition for decal space among manufacturers of similar products. It's Mac Tools vs. Craftsman Tools, Competition Cams vs. Crane Cams. There's the Motorcraft Batteries Award and the Exide Batteries "All-Charged-Up Award," which in the Brickyard 400 went to the driver who advanced the most positions from start to finish. There are awards for using Stant radiator caps, awards to crew chiefs for the most strategic call, even the Goody's Headache Powder Award that goes to the driver who suffered the worst misfortune in a race.

And we're not talking a few measly bucks here. Daytona USA, the museum beside the speedway, awards $100,000 to the Daytona 500's winning team whose car is taken for display for one year.

And, you ask: "What if the winning driver's car does not display the proper decal for a specific award?" The money usually goes to the driver who finished closest to first.

But hold on. We're just getting started.

Take a gander at three of the richest races of the year. The posted purse for the Daytona 500 was $4.3 million; for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, $2 million; for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, $4.4 million. The posted payoffs (the amount guaranteed by the promoter and NASCAR, including points and TV funds) to the winners: Daytona 500, $348,835; Coca-Cola 600, $150,000; Brickyard 400, $287,700.

In each case the winner received more than the "posted" amount. Jeff Gordon earned $377,410 for his 500 victory; Gordon received $224,900 for his 600 victory; and Ricky Rudd received $571,000 for his 400 victory.

Contingency money, TV money, qualifying money and NASCAR's funding programs, called "special plans," all figure into the payout. Each track negotiates its TV package, for instance, and while the drivers' portion of the Daytona TV package was $1.6 million, Charlotte's was $325,000, and Indy's was between $750,000 and $1 million. Of the TV money, 25 percent goes to drivers, 10 percent goes to NASCAR, and the track keeps the rest.

And, yes, there are more big bucks that do not come just from the promoter. Each season 10 teams enter the tour as members of the Winston Cup Car Owners Winner's Circle Plan. These are teams who have won the most races during the previous season, and each team receives from NASCAR a minimum of $261,000. But there is a stipulation: Teams must enter all scheduled races. Additionally, up to two Winner's Circle positions are added after a season begins, based on number of wins. Any ties are broken by who ranks higher in car owner points standings.

Drivers whose teams have qualified for the '98 program are Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Terry Labonte, Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace, Ernie Irvan, Bobby Hamilton and John Andretti.

And, grasp this one if you can: Should a different driver win the season finale, such as Dale Earnhardt or Bill Elliott, who are winless in '97 but who rank higher than Andretti and his car owner in points, Andretti would be bumped next season from the elite.

Besides race contingency awards, there are manufacturers' awards, dispersed at the end of the season, money that ranges from $4 million from R.J. Reynolds to $25,000 from Goodyear. In all, more than $5 million in manufacturers' awards will be paid to teams at the end of the '97 season.

Two other NASCAR money plans help subsidize teams, depending on their finishes in the past season's car owner points. There's a top-30 plan and a top-40 plan, and together they could be worth tens of thousands of dollars per team.

In which plan -- if any -- is your team qualified to participate? And when the total is calculated after each race, which decal was stuck to a quarterpanel?

Complicated? But of course. It's all of those plans, all of those decals, all of those contingencies, all of those special incentives. That's why Rudd earned $26,550 for a 40th-place finish in the recent AC Delco 400 at N.C. Motor Speedway and why 14th-place Michael Waltrip won $26,075. That's why 38th-place Jeff Burton earned $30,050 and 10th-place Joe Nemechek earned $22,625.

It's stickers and plans and having been successful in the past as much as in the present. Rookies are especially vulnerable: They have no track record of success, which counts for so much.

Past success, success today and success tomorrow. That's what adds up to big bucks on race day. ===== NASCARFans' Henry Dubret, send me an e-mail if you get this. If you don't, send me an e-mail anyway. ===== Mike Irwin ( NASCAR Fans _______________________________________

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Jeff Burton , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Terry Labonte , Michael Waltrip , Michael Schumacher , Joe Nemechek , Richard Petty , Mark Martin