Shocker: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was NASCAR's Highest Earner in 2017
Junior was also named the sport's most popular driver for a fifteenth consecutive year.
While NASCAR drivers may not fetch the astronomical salary figures of Formula 1's biggest stars, there's no question that they do alright for themselves. In fact, according to Forbes, the top 12 earners in America's largest spectator sport accounted for a total of $155 million this past year. That list is comprised of a healthy mix of veterans and newcomers, but it can only be topped by one man: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
That announcement may not come as a surprise; however, the fact that Junior pulled in a healthy $22 million in 2017 is nonetheless respectable. After all, this is the age of endorsements for athletes, many of whom make more from sponsorships than they do team contracts. Earnhardt's income was reported to be a decent amount of both with his salary and winnings totaling $14 million in addition to other outside earnings.
The now-retired driver was able to eclipse Jimmie Johnson's 2017 total of $19.2 million. While that monstrous figure was good enough to slot Johnson in second, it's likely that he will take over first place at the end of the year with Earnhardt out. The top five is then finished out by Kyle Busch ($14.7 million), Denny Hamlin ($14.6 million), and Kevin Harvick ($13.8 million).
Earnhardt's new role as a NASCAR analyst with NBCwill undoubtedly pay less, but that shouldn't be a concern given Junior's other revenue. He's currently the team owner of JR Motorsports alongside several unique business ventures including the restaurant business and his own line of sunglasses with NY Eye.
Junior's total net worth is estimated to be around $400 million collectively.