NASCAR drivers aren’t quite as rich as some footballers, basketball stars, and those from other major sports, but many drivers have made up to nine figures in career earnings. With so many successful names, you may wonder who the richest NASCAR drivers of all time are.
The top 10 richest NASCAR drivers ever are:
- Dale Earnhardt Jr
- Jeff Gordon
- Jimmie Johnson
- Tony Stewart
- Kevin Harvick
- Kyle Busch
- Denny Hamlin
- Ken Schrader
- Mark Martin
- Dale Earnhardt Sr
Below, we will elaborate more on the 10 richest NASCAR drivers ever and how much they’ve made, and even go over the net worths of the top-earning drivers on the current grid. We will also talk about today’s highest-paid drivers, the richest NASCAR team owner, and the richest NASCAR team.
Who Is the Richest NASCAR Driver Of All Time?
The richest NASCAR driver of all time is Dale Earnhardt Jr, with an estimated net worth of around $300 million. He has made his money through driving contracts, sponsorships and other endorsements, and other ventures outside of racing. He was also a very popular driver.
NASCAR isn’t the kind of sport where all the drivers bring in seven figures, even if they are racing in the Cup Series. Since the sport pales in popularity to the NHL, NFL, MLB, and the NBA, the average NASCAR driver’s salary is also lower.
Dale Earnhardt Sr
But some NASCAR drivers have earned hundreds of millions of dollars from driving, endorsements, race winnings, and racing-related ventures. Many believe the richest NASCAR driver of all time is Dale Earnhardt, since he helped pioneer trademarking and earning money from his name via merchandise sales.
Despite Earnhardt’s ingenuity, he does not hold the title of the richest of all time. Instead, that honor goes to his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr, who has a net worth of $300 million.
How Dale Earnhardt Jr Got There
Earnhardt Jr was nowhere near as successful as his dad, but since Earnhardt Sr built the family name into something synonymous with NASCAR, Earnhardt Jr reaped the benefits. He won NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Award 15 times in the Cup Series and once in the Xfinity Series, for a total of 16 wins, tying Bill Elliott for the most ever.
He snagged just 26 wins, but given his popularity, name, and ties to the prestigious Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt Jr signed plenty of endorsements that helped him reach the top. And while his net worth hit $300 million, his total career earnings sit at an estimated $400 million.
Earnhardt Jr also raced in the 2000s, an era where NASCAR was arguably at its peak financially, with some claiming it to be America’s fastest-growing sport. This helped increase the visibility of not just Earnhardt Jr, but of other drivers too. And with the sport enjoying such popularity, it also meant the overall earnings for drivers were sky-high.
Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson are also among the top earners in the sport’s history. And it is no coincidence that those drivers were also household names during the same era.
Top 10 Richest NASCAR Drivers Of All Time
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr – $300 Million
Dale Earnhardt Jr amassed 26 wins between 1999 and 2017, and finished a career-best third place in the NASCAR Cup Series standings in 2003. He earned 15 career NASCAR Cup Series poles, and he also found success in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, then known as the Busch Series, winning the championship in 1998 and 1999.
2. Jeff Gordon – $150-200 Million
Jeff Gordon had a more successful career than Dale Earnhardt Jr, but he had to make a name for himself at NASCAR’s top level. He ended up racing in the Cup Series between 1992 and 2016, recording 93 wins, 81 poles, and four Cup Series Championships. Gordon is also one of very few drivers to have spent his entire Cup Series career with one team – Hendrick Motorsports.
3. Jimmie Johnson – $120 Million
One of the best NASCAR drivers of all time, Jimmie Johnson is one of just three drivers to win the Cup Series Championship seven times, along with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. Johnson also managed 83 wins throughout his NASCAR career and 36 poles. He took a break from NASCAR following the 2020 season to race in IndyCar, and will return on a part-time basis in 2023.
4. Tony Stewart – $100 Million
Tony Stewart, nicknamed Smoke, was one of the feistiest drivers of his time. Between 1999 and 2016, he dominated his opponents, winning 49 races and 15 poles. Stewart became an owner/driver later in his career, and he continues to co-own Stewart-Haas Racing. He won three NASCAR Cup Series championships in 2002, 2005, and 2011, and he also completed the Double Duty challenge.
5. Kevin Harvick – $90 Million
The first active driver on this list, Kevin Harvick has so far tallied 60 wins and 31 pole awards. His NASCAR Cup Series career started back in 2001, when Richard Childress chose him for the task of replacing NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. And while his career has not been as successful as the seven-time champion’s, Harvick does have one Cup Series championship to his name.
6. Kyle Busch – $80 Million
Some call him the Wild Thing, and others call him Rowdy, given his aggressive driving style and short-tempered personality, and it has served Kyle Busch well, as he has become one of the most successful NASCAR drivers ever, winning 214 career races between the Cup, Xfinity, and Truck Series. Busch has also won two Cup Series championships, and one championship in the Xfinity Series.
7. Denny Hamlin – $80 Million
Many say Denny Hamlin is the greatest NASCAR driver that never won a championship (or greatest that hasn’t won a championship yet). Nevertheless, he has 48 Cup Series wins and 36 poles to his name. Hamlin has also finished in the top 10 in just over half of his career races, providing further proof that he may very well be the best to have never finished a season at the top of the standings.
8. Ken Schrader – $75 Million
Ken Schrader doesn’t have the same credentials as the other drivers on this list. However, he still logged four wins in his Cup Series career, scored 23 poles, and clinched a fourth-place career-best in the Cup Series standings in 1994. Longevity is one reason Schrader has stood the test of time, and he competed in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series in 2022 at age 67.
9. Mark Martin – $70 Million
Mark Martin would be one driver to challenge Denny Hamlin for the spot of greatest driver without a Cup Series championship. During his illustrious career, Martin nabbed 40 wins in 882 starts, 453 top 10 finishes, and 56 poles. His NASCAR career spanned 33 seasons, and he often cites his intense fitness regimen for allowing him to race at such a high level for so long.
10. Dale Earnhardt Sr – $70 Million
A seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Dale Earnhardt Sr recorded 76 wins and an unheard-of 428 top 10 finishes in 676 starts to go with 22 poles. Earnhardt Sr is also the first known driver to trademark and capitalize on his name, which allowed him to, for a short time, top the list as NASCAR’s richest driver.
Earnhardt Sr was tragically killed during a last lap crash on Turn Four at the 2001 Daytona 500 in a crash that also collected the number eight driver on this list, Ken Schrader. However, his innovations allowed the drivers listed above him to earn money on their name, helping pave the way for NASCAR drivers to make even more money.
The 5 Richest NASCAR Drivers On The Current Grid
1. Jimmie Johnson – $120 Million
Since Jimmie Johnson is returning to race part-time for Petty GMS Motorsports in 2023, including an attempt to drive in the Daytona 500, he sits at the top spot on this list. During his hiatus from NASCAR, Johnson competed in IndyCar for Chip Ganassi Racing, finishing 26th in 2021 and 21st in 2022. 2023 will be his first time in a Cup Series car since the Season Finale Race at Phoenix in 2020.
2. Kevin Harvick – $90 Million
Kevin Harvick is the richest full-time driver on this list, and his NASCAR Cup Series career is well into its third decade. Like Kyle Busch, Harvick has competed regularly outside the Cup Series, having made 349 starts in the Xfinity Series and another 124 starts in the Truck Series, compiling 121 career wins in the Cup, Xfinity, and Truck Series combined.
3. Kyle Busch – $80 Million
Longevity is the name of Kyle Busch’s game, having competed in his first NASCAR race in 2001 in a Truck Series event where he finished in ninth place. Like Harvick, Busch’s career in NASCAR has long-since entered its third decade and he is showing no signs of slowing down.
4. Denny Hamlin – $80 Million
With Jimmie Johnson driving for Petty GMS Motorsports in 2023, Denny Hamlin is the only driver on this list to have competed for just one team throughout his Cup Series career – Joe Gibbs Racing. He joined the team midseason in 2005 to replace the then recently-released Jason Leffler, and he has not looked back.
5. Kurt Busch – $70 Million
The elder Busch may not have Kyle’s credentials, but Kurt still notched 34 Cup Series wins and 339 top 10s in a career that kicked off at the Truck Series’ Daytona 250. Injury concerns forced Busch out of his 2022 ride, and he has stepped away from competing in the Cup Series full-time. However, the door remains open that he, like Jimmie Johnson, will race part-time.
The 8 Highest Paid NASCAR Drivers On The Current Grid
1. Kyle Busch – $18.6 Million
Kyle Busch earns $16.9 million on driver salary and another $1.7 million on sponsors. Until 2022, his primary sponsors were Mars Incorporated (M&Ms), Snickers, Pedigree, and Skittles. From 2008 until 2022, he raced for Joe Gibbs Racing, and starting in 2023, he will see new sponsors as he switches over to drive the #8 car for Richard Childress Racing.
2. Denny Hamlin – $14.6 Million
Denny Hamlin has driven for Joe Gibbs Racing since 2005 (full-time since 2006), piloting the #11 FedEx Toyota. Besides FedEx, Hamlin also earns income from endorsing SportsClips. The total earnings from his driver salary top out at $13.1 million, and he makes another $1.5 million on endorsements.
3. Kevin Harvick – $12.4 Million
Kevin Harvick has earned $10.9 million from his contract with Stewart-Haas Racing, and another $1.5 million in endorsements. His sponsors include GearWrench, Mobil 1, Subway, Hunts Brothers Pizza, and Busch Light. Having raced in the NASCAR Cup Series since 2001, Harvick got his start driving for Richard Childress Racing, where he won in just his third start.
4. Martin Truex Jr – $11.5 Million
Martin Truex Jr started his career in 2005 with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and he later won a Cup Series championship with the now-defunct Furniture Row Racing. He currently races for Joe Gibbs Racing, and earns $10.4 million from his contract and another $1.1 million from his endorsements, which include Bass Pro Shops and Reser’s Fine Foods.
5. Brad Keselowski – $10.5 Million
The 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion, Brad Keselowski currently pilots the #6 car for RFK Racing, where he is part-owner. Keselowski earns $9.4 million from his salary, and another $1.1 million from sponsors. His endorsements include Kohler Generators, Solomon Plumbing, Castrol, Wyndham Rewards, Fastenal, and Violet Defense.
6. Chase Elliott – $10.2 Million
Chase Elliott has driven for Hendrick Motorsports since his rookie season in 2016, succeeding the legendary Jeff Gordon before he snagged his dad’s old number 9. He won his first Cup Series championship in 2020, and he earns $8 million in salary, plus another $2.2 million in endorsements. Elliott’s top endorsements include NAPA, Siemens, Uni-First, Chevrolet, and Mountain Dew.
7. Joey Logano – $10 Million
The reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion, Joey Logano has raced for Team Penske since 2013, driving the #22 Pennzoil car. His current contract yields him $9 million in salary, and he gets another $1 million in endorsements. Besides Pennzoil, Logano’s endorsements also include Autotrader, Money Lion, AAA, and the Auto Club of Southern California.
8. Kyle Larson – $9 Million
Kyle Larson won the NASCAR Cup Series Championship in 2021, driving for Rick Hendrick, and he was paid well for it, earning $8 million in salary plus another $1 million in sponsorships. His top sponsorship has been the Hendrick Automotive Group.
Who Is The Richest Team Owner In NASCAR?
The richest team owner in NASCAR is Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, with a net worth of around $1 billion. He owns one of NASCAR’s most successful teams, having won 14 Cup Series championships and winning almost 300 Cup Series races since being founded in 1984.
Some also call him, and not Dale Earnhardt Jr, the richest NASCAR driver of all time since Hendrick technically competed in NASCAR’s top three series. However, he drove in just two Cup Series races, one Xfinity race, and one Truck Series race, mainly on road courses. That said, most look at Hendrick not as a NASCAR driver, but almost universally as a team owner.
Rick Hendrick’s Net Worth
Rick Hendrick has a net worth of $1 billion, and his team, Hendrick Motorsports, has been arguably NASCAR’s most successful team since its founding in 1984.
Since 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has achieved:
- 14 Cup, 1 Xfinity, and 3 Truck Series championships
- 291 Cup, 26 Xfinity, 26 Truck, and 7 ARCA Menards Series wins
- 239 Cup, 39 Xfinity, 22 Truck, and 8 ARCA Menards Series pole awards
Besides NASCAR, Hendrick’s billion-dollar net worth also stems from his ownership of Hendrick Auto Group, a parent company that owns at least 100 car dealerships in America.
What Is The Richest NASCAR Team?
Hendrick Motorsports is the richest team in NASCAR, with a value of between $315 and $350 million. The team is also the most successful NASCAR Cup Series team, with the most wins (291) and the most championships (14). The team was founded in 1984 by Rick Hendrick.
In the above section, you can see clearly how Hendrick Motorsports’ success reached its current value, but a great team also had to attract great drivers in order to win races and championships.
Notable Hendrick Motorsports Drivers
Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are two of the most notable drivers who have driven for team owner Rick Hendrick, and the duo combined for 11 Cup Series championships. Other notable names like Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Terry Labonte, Ken Schrader, and Mark Martin also drove for Hendrick.
And if you look at the list of the top 10 richest NASCAR drivers, you will see Earnhardt Jr, Gordon, Johnson, Busch, Schrader, and Martin on that list. Kahne is one notable driver that just missed the cut on that list, with a net worth of $50 million.
Compared To Other Sports
NASCAR is not the popular sport it once was, and Hendrick Motorsports’ value pales in comparison to teams from America’s other top sports leagues. The least valuable NHL team, the Arizona Coyotes, is valued at $465 million, with many teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB being valued above $1 billion.
While Hendrick Motorsports probably won’t catch the Coyotes any time soon, expect them to remain NASCAR’s most valuable team for years to come.
With a net worth of $300 million, Dale Earnhardt Jr is the richest NASCAR driver of all time, but Rick Hendrick, worth $1 billion, is the sport’s richest team owner. Six of the 10 richest drivers in NASCAR history also drove for Hendrick’s team. Kyle Busch earned $18.6 million from his NASCAR contract and endorsement deals, and is the highest-paid driver on the current grid.