Denny Hamlin's 2017 warning resonates in Larson's push for better NASCAR pay

"I make a really good living…But, it’s still not anywhere near the level."- Larson said.

by Sead Dedovic
Denny Hamlin's 2017 warning resonates in Larson's push for better NASCAR pay
© Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images Sport

Kyle Larson is one of the ambassadors of NASCAR drivers, and he has highlighted certain issues regarding NASCAR and the attitude toward drivers many times. However, he is not the only one who pointed out these things. In modern times, when athletes in general are paid more and more, Larson and many others believe that NASCAR drivers must be paid much more than is currently the case. NASCAR is a motorsport that progresses year by year and attracts an increasing number of people. At the same time, the earnings of the leaders of this organization also increase. Many believe that all this should create a domino effect, which in the end would bring much higher income to NASCAR drivers. Most of the NASCAR drivers are silent and not talking much about it at the moment, probably due to a certain amount of fear. Nevertheless, Larson, as one of the best Cup Series drivers, decided to speak honestly and clearly about this problem.

Kyle Larson is happy with his earnings, although he thinks it's far below the standards some have set. He put more emphasis on his colleagues, who have been on the big stage for years, and their incomes are not at all up to standard. The fact is that most NASCAR Cup Series drivers are happy to be a part of this competition, and rarely or rarely want to talk about this topic. Larson could be instrumental in starting this topic and creating some completely different conditions.

"I make a really good living…But, it’s still not anywhere near the level, probably not even half of what Jimmie was getting paid in his heyday. I know I’m making way more than a good majority of the field. I don’t really know what to think. But, I think a lot of guys are just happy to say they’re a Cup Series driver and they don’t care...That just hurts the whole overall driver’s side of it, trying to have leverage for some of these drivers to make more money," Larson told Kenny Wallace (H&T: Racing News)."- he told Racing News.

Larson even mentioned the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. This great NASCAR driver believes that individuals in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series make more than a third, or at least half, of the NASCAR Cup Series drivers. This fact is what frustrates him, but he seems to have accepted things as they are.

"I bet the top 4 drivers in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series are making more money than a third to half of the Cup Series guys. Probably half of the Cup Series guys. That’s pretty crazy to think about. But everybody chooses their route, I guess."

Fans of this sport had positive reactions to Larson's statements, and they believe that Cup Series drivers must be paid more. We will see what kind of reactions this will cause, and whether the leaders of NASCAR will consider certain changes. The rest of the drivers can be proud of their colleague who decided to speak so bravely about the problem of all of them.

Denny Hamlin and his statement from 2017

In 2017, Denny Hamlin spoke about a financial challenge in NASCAR, emphasizing the need to address economic issues faced by race teams. He pointed out that while TV revenue in NASCAR was higher than ever, there were fewer teams, posing a threat to the sport's survival. To address this, Hamlin suggested increasing the share of TV money allocated to race teams. 

Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin© James Gilbert / Getty Images Sport

Hamlin also discussed the comparatively low pay for NASCAR drivers, stating that they should be earning salaries on par with athletes in the NBA and NFL. He highlighted the demanding schedules and risks faced by NASCAR drivers, expressing the view that their compensation should reflect the challenges of their profession.

Hamlin dared to speak about such a problem 7 years ago, which is still present today. The fact that NASCAR has progressed since that period and that their income has increased, causes additional frustration for everyone. Since Hamlin's statement, it seems that no one dared to speak publicly about this problem, until now when Larson decided to make the same move. It is difficult to know what kind of reactions this will cause, and whether there will really be changes, but it is certain that NASCAR drivers should be proud of their colleagues considering that they are fighting for all of them.

It is expected that NASCAR will continue to make progress and increase its income in the coming years. What we can certainly expect is an exciting season with a handful of interesting moments. We hope that the new season will also bring new changes.

Denny Hamlin