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Sports Daytona 500 purse in high gear, topping $23 million

Daytona 500 purse in high gear, topping $23 million

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR will dole out a record $23.6 million to the 40 drivers racing in the Daytona 500.

The sanctioning body released the total purse Friday, an about-face for an organization that hadn’t released payouts since the 2015 season. NASCAR’s charter system with teams had previously prohibited the disclosure of financial details. The Race Team Alliance announced Thursday it was close to agreeing to NASCAR’s proposal for a four-year extension to the charter system that would run through 2024.

NASCAR has experienced significant changes to its business model in recent years, with sponsorship dollars dwindling. Drivers have had to adjust, too, with many of them working for less guaranteed money and relying more on purse winnings.

The Daytona 500 purse grew steadily since the race’s inception in 1959. Lee Petty took home nearly $20,000 for winning the inaugural “Great American Race.” This year’s winner will receive an undisclosed amount.

The purse topped $1 million in 1985 and rose to a little more than $18 million in 2015, the last year the figures were released.

The race on Sunday is a sellout for the fifth consecutive season, with President Donald Trump giving the command for drivers to start their engines.

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