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How rich are these guys? Well, Dale Earnhardt Jr. made $35 million last season

   By Mike Mulhern

   Are NASCAR drivers overpaid?
   Well, after 1,000 NASCAR crewmen got pink slips at the end of the 2008 season, and with team owners struggling to make ends meet, and with a number of owners simply calling it quits, that's a big question.
   And Wednesday Forbes reported that its research showed the top 10 drivers in NASCAR grossed a total of $180 million last season.
   Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned the most, $35 million, including $23 million in endorsements and merchandise.  That's a 30 percent raise from his last paycheck from DEI's Teresa Earnhardt, his former boss.
   Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt's new teammate and the biggest money winner in NASAR history, racked up $30 million last year, according to Forbes, with $16 million from souvenirs and other off-track stuff.
   Eight other NASCAR drivers also earned more than $10 million last year. And four men signed new contracts last year for more than $5 million a season. One of those was Carl Edwards, who Forbes says will make at least $7.5 million in salary alone this season.

The color of money: NASCAR's $35 million man (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



But perhaps all this should be taken with a grain of salt: here's how Forbes valued NASCAR's top teams last June:

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I am always skeptical of figures like this from FORBES - and they don't disclose the source of their numbers. I wouldn't be at all surprised that FORBES' estimates are off 20% or more. As I recall, last year FORBES opined that Petty Enterprises was worth over $100,000,000.

Upon further review:

Point well taken. So I went back to Forbes' report last summer on the valuation of teams and have added that to the story. Hmmmmm. If Bill Davis and Richard Petty had teams worth so much money then, what happened?

And the full story is here

Bobby Labonte

Why was Bobby Labonte not able to remain in the #43? Did he request to be released from his contract because of all the sponsorship uncertainty, or did Petty have to put one of the Gillette/Evernham drivers in the car as part of the "merger."


Gary in Germanton, NC

Bobby says the Petty-Gillett

Bobby says the Petty-Gillett deal wouldn't have worked if he were part of it, because Labonte says his contract with Petty "was too big a burden," so he opted out. I get the impression that Labonte stepped aside in order to let Richard make a deal. Of course that left Labonte himself hanging, and waiting....but when Jack Roush's miracle worker, Geoff Smith, pulled out a sponsorship rabbit from the hat, Labonte was the perfect fit. As for what's really going on at the Petty-Gillett-Evernham operation, well, that's anybody's guess. Doesn't look like it's running very smoothly. And sponsorship still seems up in the air.

oh...and thanks for finding

oh...and thanks for finding us on the web....pass the word: we're back!

The Journal Messed Up

The W-S Journal Sports coverage won't be the same without your columns...Been reading you for many years.

I'm still at it....right

I'm still at it....right here...and if you sign up for this twitter thing, you'll get my breaking headlines on your cell phone.
were you really at Daytona when richard won in '64?

No, not at Daytona in

No, not at Daytona in 64...Just a fan of Richard and the '64 Plymouth.

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