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NASCAR Cup: Denny Hamlin calls for shift in revenue distribution

Denny Hamlin (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

Denny Hamlin (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

During a sponsor event to promote International Walk to School Day for his primary sponsor FedEX on Wednesday, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin tackled the issue of NASCAR revenue distribution, calling for a restructuring of that model, according to an NBC Sports article.

“The pie has to be shifted for sure,” Hamlin said. “The TV dollars coming into NASCAR is higher than it’s ever been, but we’re seeing fewer and fewer teams, and it just can’t survive, so it economically doesn’t make sense. The pie, the amount of TV money that the race teams share, has to go up, in my opinion.”

Under the current structure, tracks receive 65 percent of the funds from the TV deal, while teams receive 25 percent and NASCAR 10 percent. Hamlin believes the tracks’ percentage is too large and the teams’ percentage too small. The 2017 season is the third of 10 in the deal that has been estimated to pump $8 billion to the sport.

Meanwhile, there’s been a lack of sponsorship money to go around in recent years, compared to the big-dollar sponsorships that dumped huge sums of money into the sport a decade or so ago. Hamlin, though, believes that the sponsorship money should be “bonus money” for teams, that teams should be able to get by on purse money. He thinks a redistribution of money from NASCAR’s TV deals with broadcast partners NBC and FOX could accomplish that.

The “silly season” trend ahead of the 2018 season has had teams going with younger drivers with those younger drivers, reportedly, agreeing to contracts for less pay. Veteran driver Matt Kenseth will be replaced at Joe Gibbs Racing next year by Erik Jones, who’ll be a second-year driver in 2018. Meanwhile, at Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne will be replaced by William Byron, despite Kahne having one year remaining on his contract with HMS.

Hamlin, though, believes that participants in the sport — from drivers to other team members — aren’t making enough money. Specifically, he thinks drivers should have salaries comparable to NBA and NFL players for reasons including length of seasons and the dangers of auto racing.

“I think we’re way underpaid on that as race car drivers,” Hamlin said. “That’s a fact. I think there’s no doubt, doing what we do, the schedule we have, the danger we incur every single week, NASCAR drivers should be making NBA, NFL money. I really, truly believe that, but it can not come out of the owners’ pockets.”

According to Forbes, Hamlin made approximately $15 in 2017, but Hamlin said that his idea isn’t based on his own financial situation; instead he was considering drivers normally running in the second half of the race field.

“I’m not including myself,” Hamlin said. “I’m including, probably, the back half of the field, that those drivers are risking the same amount I am, and they should be paid a hell of a lot more.”

Hamlin also was critical of some tracks, seemingly, reinvesting too little of its portion of the pie back into the sport.
“Racetracks are making a lot of money, and I’m not trying to throw anyone under the bus, but they’ve either got to reinvest that money, which some tracks are,” Hamlin said. “I’m not going to put some on the same island as others, but Dover (has) terrible garage stalls. It’s not even a garage. A garage is defined as something that’s enclosed. We have lean-tos that we’re working under. The crew members deserve better working conditions than what they’ve got. We’ve got to hold these tracks to a higher standard, not only with the race surface but the fan experience, the team experience. That money has to be reinvested to give us a better product and something for fans to see.”

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer).

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Posted by on October 5, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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