With the upcoming Winston 500, we are getting excited for the thrills of speed and cars, but NASCAR is a little bit more than that. For instance, these famous racing events are renowned for bringing people together from different parts of the world to witness the live-action. As the pros behind the wheels navigate a circular track and make left turns with their feet rock-hard on the gas pedals, one thing is for sure, some of the largest companies are showcasing their brands and promoting their products.
One question lingers in the minds of many people about NASCAR. It might have crossed your mind at some point. “How much does it cost to race NASCAR, and can you drive a Mustang in NASCAR?
In this article, we shall highlight a few surprising facts you might want to learn about NASCAR, focusing mainly on the racing costs. Let’s dive right into it!
1. Incredible Driving Competence
To participate in a NASCAR race, a driver must be incredibly sharp, fast, and always super alert. This means being able to make a split-second decision anytime, a decision that could either propel your racing career forward or end it. In some cases, such a decision could easily mean the end of a driver’s life.
To get the most out of their bodies, drivers must dedicate themselves to strict training and diet regimes. In one of the strangest sporting rules, a NASCAR driver is required to weigh the standard 200 pounds, no more – no less. For drivers who weigh less than 200lbs, 10 pounds increments of weight are added to the car until the standardized weight limit is reached. If you weigh more, you may need to hit the gym harder until you attain the minimum requirements.
Due to the high amounts of risk, skill, and demand involved for the driver, they command a high price, with potential salaries being over $15 million a season.
2. An Incredible Gen-6 Car
NASCAR Championship races use the Generation- 6 car design, also known as Gen-6. These cars were introduced back in 2013, replacing the CoT or Car of Tomorrow models due to safety concerns noted in the predecessors. In 2022, the NextGen Model cars will replace the current Gen-6 cars.
Nonetheless, Gen-6 rides come with incredible aerodynamics and downforce systems designed to boost racing performance and enhance safety. The total cost of a good car racing in NASCAR can range between $200,000 and $400,000. The actual cost may depend on the available budget of the team sponsors. Of course, this excludes the cost of maintenance, repair, and upgrades. It may also depend on the car brand picked. Currently, the major car brands used in NASCAR races include Chevrolet, Toyota, and Ford.
3. A Competent Crew
The driver and his car are not the only important people in a NASCAR race. The crew is as important as the actual participants because they ensure that the cars used in the race are at top-level performance before the race, during, and afterward. With valuable seconds gained or lost while the car is stopped in the pit box, even entry-level pit crew salaries can be $45,000 a year, with the best of the best earning up to $150,000 a year. With a pit crew of eight, the sunk costs can quickly grow.
Every NASCAR race consumes multiple gallons of gas. According to NASCAR, the 43 cars racing in the Daytona 500 race of 14th Feb 2021 were estimated to use 5,375 gallons of racing fuel. This might lead you to believe that fuel would be a major expense but thanks to a contract with a fuel supplier, most of the fuel on the track is provided for free by NASCAR, so the teams and drivers do not feel the weight of fluctuations in fuel prices. Giving image credit to CTM, we see it would cost a consumer $12,411.41 just to complete a race.
5. Engine Cost for NASCAR Car
Remember we talked about upgrades and repairs above? Well, NASCAR race cars have engine specifications as well. The engine is not allowed to surpass 358 cubic inches to keep the maximum speed and horsepower in check. It is worth mentioning that these NASCAR-specific engines can reach a maximum speed of 322 km/h with an output of around 860 to 900 horsepower. Nonetheless, a single-engine and transmission for a NASCAR car can cost between $60,000 and $150,000 without upgrades included.
6. Tire Costs
Racing tires for NASCAR cars are hardly anything close to ordinary street tires. They are much wider and lack a tread, allowing them a grip onto the flat surface of the track much quicker. These tires can cost anything from $350 to $450, bring it to around $2000 for a set. A single race can cost up to $20,000 for tires alone. In an entire season, NASCAR teams can spend close to a quarter-million on racing tires only, according to NBC. The good thing is that many team sponsors choose to purchase tires directly from manufacturers, thus cutting the costs involved in the distribution chain. They also buy them in bulk, which attracts discounts.
7. Chassis and Body Parts Costs
Cars will always require regular maintenance to remain in tip-top shape. This means changing parts such as breaks and rotors regularly, in addition to oil changes, filter replacement, and minor bodywork. When it comes to the essential parts; components such as rotors and brakes could cost anything between $20,000 and 40,000. For a new chassis or base stock, you can expect to cough up a minimum of $70,000 to $120,000. In case you encounter an accident, replacing the major components like the axles, suspension parts, driveshaft, gears, and cooling systems may cost anything between $30,000 and $50,000. The best part is that you may not need parts like the following when it comes to these race cars:
- Gas gauge
- Brake lights
8. NASCAR Race Entry Fees and Miscellaneous Costs
Participating in a NASCAR race also requires the team to pay an entry fee. These fees largely depend on the team sponsors’ budget as well as the race they are participating in. In addition to these, associated costs such as travel tickets, accommodation, food, and logistics for car and accessory shipping may increase the costs further.
As we have established above, racing in a NASCAR event is no child’s play. It requires great drivers, great cars, and superb teamwork. It is quite costly, which is why sponsorship is of the utmost importance. For those keeping up with the mathematics, the cost per race can be upwards of $1,125,000 per race.