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Kyle Larson discusses about the shocking differences in pay in NASCAR and dirt racing

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In a recent appearance on the Kenny Wallace Show, NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson shed light on the evolving landscape of racing salaries, emphasizing the changing fortunes of drivers in both dirt and NASCAR circuits. Larson, who has been making waves in both disciplines, shared insights into the financial dynamics of the two racing worlds.

Kyle Larson, known for his success in NASCAR, is not solely dependent on his Cup Series salary to fund his passions. Besides his NASCAR commitments, he plans to participate in up to 15 Late Model and 25 Sprint Car races, along with a bid for the Indianapolis 500.

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Kyle Larson plans to participate in up to 15 Late Model and 25 Sprint Car races, along with a bid for the Indianapolis 500.

Kyle Larson believes the drivers in NASCAR get paid 50% less now than in 2015

During the conversation with Kenny Wallace, Larson highlighted the disparity in earnings between top-tier drivers in dirt racing and their NASCAR counterparts. Despite NASCAR’s historical mainstream popularity, Larson suggested that some dirt racers now earn more than most drivers in the Cup Series.

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Kyle Larson pointed out that even top-tier NASCAR drivers are not earning salaries comparable to legends like Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon. He believes that driver salaries have had roughly a 50% reduction from 2015 to the present. He stated, “You still have your top tier drivers that are still not making anywhere near what Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon or anybody like that did. I would say, through earnings and potential for a team, it’s been down 50 percent. For a driver contract, from 2015 to where it is now, it’s probably half, even for the top drivers.

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Kyle Larson highlighted the thriving visibility of dirt racing, with major events now accessible through digital streaming platforms like DirtVision or FloRacing. While acknowledging that dirt racing may not be more financially viable than NASCAR, Larson noted the increased visibility of dirt events compared to the decline in NASCAR’s popularity.

He stressed that while he is content with his earnings, they are still considerably less than what drivers were making during NASCAR’s heyday. He emphasized, “I make a really good living. I’m totally happy with my contract and all that. But, it’s still not anywhere near the level, probably not even half of what Jimmie was getting paid in his heyday.

Kyle Larson highlights the pay gap in NASCAR and dirt racing

Larson argued that the top drivers in dirt racing, particularly in series like the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, are likely earning more than a significant portion of Cup Series drivers. He commented, “I bet you the top 4 drivers in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series are making more money than a third to half of the Cup Series guys. Probably half of the Cup Series guys. That’s pretty crazy to think about. But, everybody chooses their own route, I guess.

As Kyle Larson plans for a future beyond his NASCAR career, he intends to chase championships in both the national Sprint Car and Late Model touring series. With the potential to continue making millions, Larson’s journey reflects the changing dynamics of racing salaries and the choices drivers make to secure their financial futures.

Kyle Larson’s success in the dirt racing scene, including a 2021 Cup Series championship and 17 victories over the past three years, has contributed to his substantial income. Unlike in NASCAR, where teams and the sanctioning body take a cut of merchandising sales, Larson retains the entirety of his merchandising revenue in dirt racing.

Read more: Max Verstappen Sets Record Straight On His Rivalry with Lewis Hamilton

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Saswata Saha
Saswata Saha
I'm a sports enthusiast with a strong interest in pursuing a career in sports. I watch most of the sports and try to analyse it for a better understanding.
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