Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin earns champion's share of record purse

Hamlin won the Daytona 500 for the second straight year.

NASCAR star Denny Hamlin will take home a champion's share of a record purse after winning the Daytona 500 on Monday night.

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This year’s race will feature a total purse of $23.6 million, NASCAR said in a press release on Friday. The top-tier racing circuit touted the prize money as the largest purse in the history of American motorsports.

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NASCAR did not disclose how much money the 2020 Daytona 500 winner would receive. However, based on previous payouts at the race, Hamlin likely earned about $2 million. Hamlin won the race for the second consecutive year and the third time in his career.

“The Daytona 500 is more than just the season-opening race,” said Chip Wile, president of Daytona International Speedway. “It’s a life-changing event for the winner, whose name will join the legends of this sport. Fans will pack the state-of-the-art motorsports venue, and millions will watch on television. And the reason is simple: The Daytona 500 is one of the premier events in all of sports, and now has the richest purse in history.”

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NASCAR’s unveiling of the Daytona 500 purse marked a reversal of its policy in recent years. Race purses have been a fixture at NASCAR races for decades, but the stock car circuit stopped publicizing prize money payouts in 2016 following the announcement of a revamped charter agreement with team owners. As a result, race fans have had little guidance about how much drivers have earned.

A 2018 court filing from the now-defunct BK Racing revealed that year’s Daytona 500 had a total purse of $15.47 million. The biggest share of that purse went to 2018 Daytona champion Austin Dillon.

The Daytona 500 has traditionally served as NASCAR’s most lucrative individual race. In 2015, the last year the race purse was publicized, Joey Logano earned a winner’s share of more than $1.5 million.

In the five years prior to 2015, Daytona 500 purses generally increased by up to 2.5 percent on an annual basis, according to ESPN.

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Before NASCAR stopped revealing prize money, racing legend Jeff Gordon ranked as the top-earning driver in the sport’s history. At the time of his retirement in 2016, Gordon had earned more than $150 million in career prize money — a sum that included his winnings from three victories at the Daytona 500.

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NASCAR officials postponed the Daytona 500 on Sunday due to persistent rainfall. The race resumed on Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET.

The stoppage was the second time in the last 62 years that the Daytona 500 was postponed due to rain.

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