MARTINSVILLE, Va. – The introduction of the new charter system – and the subsequent restructuring and distribution of purse money and other revenue streams – caused some feverish preseason reworking of driver contracts.
It also caused some hand-wringing among stars who were accustomed to being paid by a percentage of a purse that was posted publicly in every race box score, along with the winnings for each finishing position. Citing the complicated revenue streams, NASCAR discontinued publishing winnings and races purses as part of the new charter system.
Five races into the season, Denny Hamlin said concerns have settled about the latter as drivers are being paid as they’d expected, though the contracts vary much more widely than before when virtually every driver drew a defined percentage of the purse as a slice of the overall salary.
“I think that really everyone had to just essentially renegotiate a fair purse amount, and I think everyone is different and everyone is all over the board,” said the Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who has emerged as a de-facto leader of the Driver Council. “I think everything is better the way that they’ve formatted the purse now. It’s more of a linear line instead of a weird looking line.”
Hamlin, though, said drivers would like NASCAR to return to including race winnings in box scores, if only in appealing to fans who grew accustomed to the format.
“I think some fans like to see that and us drivers I think we like to see purses posted personally,” Hamlin said. “Sometimes if you win a race it’s cool to see, ‘Hey, I did good this week.
“I think everyone feels like they have a fair deal at this point. It’s all for the better I believe, but we would like to see the numbers get posted.”
A NASCAR spokesman said the policy of whether to publish purses currently isn’t being reviewed, but Hamlin believes officials are “considering it. I think if everyone knows what they’re getting, I don’t know what the benefit is from keeping it from the public. I don’t know but there’s probably some sort of reason that I don’t know about.”