What is a Drag Racer Salary?

OPTIMA Batteries
Las Vegas, NV

What is the salary of a drag racer? Unlike professional sports, such as football, basketball and baseball, where that information is public knowledge, there isn't a lot of well-documented sources divulging how much NHRA dragracers earn at the pro level, although lots of job and career websites that don't know the first thing about drag racing will try to lure you in with fake numbers. Some more knowledgeable folks have suggested the salary for a professional NHRA drag racer is in the range of $75,000 to $200,000 per year, while others have indicated drivers who aren't full-time on the NHRA series may be willing to strap in for nothing or close to it, just for the chance to compete at the top level.

What we can tell you is that there is money to be made in drag racing at other levels and to that end, we point you to the Moser Spring Fling Million races in Las Vegas, which are presented by OPTIMA Batteries. The cash payouts are a big part of the draw of these races, so the amount of money these drivers earn (or at least the owners of the cars, which might be the same person) is very well-known.

Most recently, Andy Schmall took home a $400,000 payday for his win at the 2023 Spring Fling. While that is the biggest payout the Spring Fling races have ever made, Andy is no stranger to big checks in drag racing. He took home a $30,000 check from the 2021 Spring Fling Million and another $30,000 check from the 2018 Firecracker Bracket Nationals at Byron Raceway and other assorted paydays, including a $10,000 check in 2022 and a $5,000 check at the 2017 Summer Send-Off bracket races. 

There are three other "Fling" drag races in 2023, but the Spring Fling is the only one with "Million" in the name. However, that doesn't mean there aren't big paydays waiting for drag racers at those upcoming dragraces. They guaranteed payout at the Galot Spring Fling is $890,000, with $50,000 to win on each of the three days. The Summer Fling has a $690,000 payout with $30,000 to win on each of the three days, plus a $100,000 All-Star Shootout.

So does the money waiting to be earned in drag racing sound like the right career for you? Before you jump in head-first, you might want to investigate what it costs to buy or build a top-level bracket racer, as well as a trailer and truck to haul it around...and hotel rooms, spare parts, rebuilt engines and from our count in that photo above, at least 22 mouths to feed (not including the showgirls). You get the idea. For most competitors, drag racing is not a money-making endeavor. If you'd like to see some fun that we had with dragracing, check out this video!