NASCAR awards winning drivers with huge trophies after each race. These cost thousands of dollars to make, so it would be cheaper if NASCAR did not allow their drivers to keep the trophies. So, you might be surprised at the answer to whether or not NASCAR allows drivers to keep their trophies.
NASCAR allows drivers to keep all but one trophy – the Daytona 500’s Harry J. Earl trophy. The trophies differ in cost of production and value, but the prestigious NASCAR Cup Trophy holds more value than even one of the most distinguished awards in professional sports: The Vince Lombardi Trophy.
NASCAR also boasts some of the most unique trophies in professional sports. Below, we reveal how the NASCAR Cup compares to the most valuable professional sports trophies in the world. We will also explore some of the most notable awards that drivers can win.
NASCAR drivers do get to keep their trophies. New trophies for all but one event on the NASCAR calendar are made each year for the winner to keep. The one trophy NASCAR drivers cannot keep is the Harry J. Earl trophy for winning the Daytona 500.
You may notice that in some sports, the champions do not get to keep their trophies. For example, in the NHL the Stanley Cup literally changes hands each season unless the winning team successfully defends it. The same concept applies to the Clarence S. Campbell and Prince of Wales Trophy, awarded to the Western and Eastern Conference Champions, respectively.
However, the NFL does things differently. Teams keep the Vince Lombardi Trophy regardless of if they win the Super Bowl the following season. You see the same thing occur with the Commissioner’s Trophy in the MLB, and the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the NBA. In these cases, a new trophy is made each year that the winner gets to keep.
While you only see a handful of trophies in the four major North American Sports Leagues, NASCAR is even more unique. They have trophies for every race on the circuit, plus the NASCAR Cup Championship Trophy. This of course is not rare in the world of motorsport, with others like F1 also having unique trophies for each race.
The most prominent NASCAR drivers throughout the sport’s history need to make room to display a lot of hardware because NASCAR drivers keep their trophies. Drivers like Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson probably have an entire room in their place of residence dedicated to their many wins.
And these trophies mean so much to their drivers that, believe it or not, Kyle Busch could tell you the story behind each of his 200-plus trophies won in the NASCAR Truck, Xfinity, and Cup Series. Even more impressive is that he was once able to locate each trophy blindfolded. Now that’s passion!
Drivers, like their NFL, NBA, and MLB counterparts, keep their trophies because NASCAR orders new editions to be made for each season’s event. And since NASCAR is a team sport, it is also common to see team owners, crew chiefs, and even pit crew members receive and keep their rewards.
The Harley J. Earl Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Daytona 500, is one of the most distinguished awards in NASCAR. The original trophy, with a base shaped like Daytona International Speedway below a Firebird I concept car, does not get awarded to the Great American Race’s winner.
Like the Stanley Cup in a manner of speaking, the trophy is passed from one Daytona 500 winner to the next each season. However, it never actually leaves the track. Instead, the Harley J. Earl Trophy sits in a display case at Daytona International Speedway all year.
Before each Daytona 500, NASCAR removes the trophy, and the winner of the Great American Race gets to pose with it. However, since 1998, winners receive a replica of the trophy. From 1959 until 1997, drivers received a wooden, 3 ft tall Harley J. Earl award as a take-home gift.
NASCAR trophies are worth varying amounts. While it’s hard to get exact numbers, Joey Logano once hinted that a replica of his championship trophy cost around $70,000 to make, but some NASCAR trophies will be worth much less than this.
The rarer an item is, the higher its value. The more abundant a commodity becomes, the lesser its value. You may have seen relics like baseballs signed by legends sell for five and sometimes six figures. Ditto for Super Bowl Rings. However, the above commodities are often auctioned off, which naturally inflates their original value.
In 2022, former NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano revealed that he wanted to buy a replica of his 2018 championship trophy. The cost to build a replica at the time was $70,000, so the value of the real thing is likely to be around this figure if not higher.
While NASCAR’s many trophies vary in value, it is safe to say that the grandfather clocks won at Martinsville or the surfboards awarded to the winners at the Auto Club Race hold values either on par or slightly below the Cup Series Trophy.
The NASCAR Cup trophy’s value (now called the Bill France Cup) is likely higher than the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which as of 2022 was valued at $10,000. The MLB’s Commissioner’s Trophy sat at $18,615, and the iconic Stanley Cup led the way at $23,478. They pale in comparison to the FIFA World Cup Trophy, which is worth $20 million.
You can probably pinpoint a few unique-looking trophies in NASCAR. But you may not know just how much these awards differ from that of the NFL’s Vince Lombardi Trophy or the NBA’s Larry O’Brien Trophy, which are nothing more than a football and basketball atop an obelisk. NASCAR trophies come in different shapes and sizes, and some even resemble everyday objects.
Awarded since 2010, the winner of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte gets an old-school Coke vending machine. They also receive the piston-shaped Bruton Smith Award. And not only is this a unique trophy, but it is also one of NASCAR’s most coveted since the 600 is a Crown Jewel race.
Awarded to the winner at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, nothing screams So Cal better than a relic that defines the region’s culture. There are actually two surfboard trophies. One is the trophy presented to the drivers in Victory Lane. Another gets awarded a year later to the winner of the previous season’s event. This trophy is custom-made for the driver.
While the Sonoma race held each summer is not a Crown Jewel event, it is one of the most challenging tracks on the NASCAR circuit. And for that, it makes sense that the winning driver should get something unique, like a wine goblet. The goblet comes with a trophy that features a built-in wine bottle resting diagonally atop a silver plaque propped up by five wine barrels.
Think of a trophy that resembles the Incredible Hulk, except it is light gray instead of green. The hardware derives from Dover International Speedway’s nickname, the Monster Mile. And since 2004 the event’s winners have received this gargantuan piece of decor.
They call Bristol Motor Speedway The Last Great Colosseum, so it is only appropriate to award the race winner with a gladiator sword. One of the most challenging tracks on the circuit, a driver needs to be a true gladiator to conquer Bristol, which further explains the sword trophy.
And in case you are wondering, the answer is yes, this is a real sword. So, it is one novelty trophy NASCAR drivers use caution with when they conquer The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.
Sticking with the Ancient Rome theme, the Vulcan Trophy is handed out to the winner of the Talladega event. Vulcan is the God of Fire in Roman mythology. And if you ever visited Birmingham, Alabama, you may have seen the actual Vulcan statue on which this trophy is based.
This hardware is also the heaviest on the NASCAR circuit. It is not made from gold, silver, or platinum. Instead, they construct the 130-lb Vulcan Trophy from hot-poured iron.
They say the Harley J. Earl Trophy or even the NASCAR Cup itself is the most coveted trophy in the sport. However, many notable drivers have disagreed throughout the ages. Drivers like Jimmie Johnson, a seven-time NASCAR Champion, even made the case for the Grandfather Clock.
Awarded to the winner of the Martinsville race, drivers could place this trophy in their sitting room and most guests may not spot it as an award. The only thing that tells you the Grandfather Clock is a trophy is the race sponsor’s logo in the clock’s center.
NASCAR drivers get to keep all of their trophies, except for the Harley J. Earl Trophy for winning the Daytona 500, which they get a replica of. The values of NASCAR trophies varies depending on the event.