The lawsuit launched against DEI/Ginn by Sterling Marlin, Joe Nemechek, and others really opened my eyes as to how much a Nextel Cup driver can actually make. You know, this has been sitting right under my face for a very long time but I never really realized it - if you know what I mean.
Both Marlin and Nemechek were under contract for a cool 1.2 million, and they both aren't considered to be the 'most bang for the buck' type of driver either like a Gordon or an Earnhardt. Not only that but they were allowed to keep 45% of their winnings. Marlin made just over 4 million in prize winnings last year - that is just under 2 million in his pocket on top of his driver salary! But it gets better, Joe Nemechek was allowed to keep 33% of his souvenir sales so you know other drivers have similar deals as well. Oh wait there is more, there are the bonuses; the bonuses for races (ie. winning, for placing in the top 5, the top 10) as well as bonuses for where you finish in the standings. I'm not done yet! There are allowances as well such as transportation, accommodation, RV fees, and so on.
With all that being said, these drivers still put their lives on the line each and every week - more so than a football or baseball player - and they don't make as much money as some other athletes in other sports - just how much does David Beckham make? Point made.
Still, if I hear a driver complaining about 'poor old me' I won't have any sympathy for him, after all they still make more money running for a low tier team in a year than a lot of people make in a lifetime.