Dale Earnhardt Jr. explains economics of 2017 Silly Season

Leave it to Dale Earnhardt Jr. to perfectly explain why this year’s Silly Season seems so crazy.

Unproven Alex Bowman was named as Earnhardt’s replacement in the No. 88 and former champions Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch are currently free agents. Eighteen-time race winner Kasey Kahne may be on the hot seat, too.

So what the hell is going on? Well, it all comes down to driver salaries.

Here’s Earnhardt talking about the economics of NASCAR today at Watkins Glen:

“You’ve got more drivers coming in being offered — and accepting — contracts that are a fifth to a tenth of what veterans are getting paid. And that’s money that can go into the team. These sponsors aren’t giving teams the money they used to, so everybody’s got to take a little cut. Everybody’s got to dial it back. Everybody’s got to realize they’ve got to accept some of that difference.

“You’ve got a guy who you think has got a lot of talent, very young, lot of potential — and a veteran who is established but he wants three, four, five, six times the amount of money. I mean, you’re going to go with a younger guy because it’s a better deal financially.

“It took awhile, but when we had our major reset (financially) — the trickle-down effect is coming through the drivers’ contracts and making a big difference into the decisions these owners are making. You can’t pay a driver $5 to $8 million a year if you ain’t got but $10 million a year in sponsorship. You can’t. That ain’t gonna work. (Owners) aren’t getting $20, $30, $40 million a year on sponsorship.

“Drivers sort of have to understand that change is coming down the pipe. If it hasn’t happened to ’em yet, it’s going to happen to them. And the young guys, they don’t know any better. They’re taking a nickel to race. They’re taking whatever they can get.”

“That’s a shift that’s going to be better for the sport. Get those salaries in a realistic range for how much money we have from corporate America.”

9 Replies to “Dale Earnhardt Jr. explains economics of 2017 Silly Season”

  1. It will definitely help the sport, in more ways than most realize. It is time. Think–the new young drivers are like the “good ole boys” of back in the day. Not all, but many of the veteran drivers have a real ego problem. IMHO

  2. Leave it to Professor Jr. to say what most in the industry already knew, but no one would say publicly. Good insight. Love Professor Jr lectures.

  3. True true true , look at all the empty seats in these tracks that added thousands of seats in boom boom times and now back to the real world. Follow the dollars and they will explain it all.

  4. Then why pay Danica all the big buck, give her a good car and she maybe finishes 20 something….don’t make sense to me. She’s not that great a driver at least not in the top 20-30 anyway. Give an up and coming new kid a try in her good rides!

  5. All true in what Dale Jr says, but when you have billionaire car owners with other businesses outside of racing to offset the salary of the driver the sponsor is not on the hook for what the driver makes.

    1. Did you really just advocate that a car owner take his outfits from a entirely different company and pay drivers? I’m pretty sure they aren’t owners for a hobby that drains them from millions. You have never ran a business, have you?

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