Back in 2017, American racing legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. made the decision to halt his full-time stock car racing career and step into the NBC Sports broadcaster’s booth, and it certainly ended up being quite the lucrative decision for the 46-year-old Kannapolis, North Carolina native.
But, take one look at his net worth, and you’ll see that the son of late NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Sr. hasn’t been doing the broadcasting gig for the money.
According to Forbes magazine, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not only one of the richest NASCAR drivers in history, but also one of the richest athletes of all time. He may have dropped off the Top 100 list in 2018, but one doesn’t stop being a NASCAR legend just because they’ve gone part-time.
So, how did Dale Earnhardt Jr. end up amassing a giant fortune? Is the career of stock car racing driver really that lucrative? Well, let’s take a look!
Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr (did you know Ralph was actually his first name?!) started his NASCAR race career in 1988. With that many years behind the wheel, he naturally earned a lot of money from his career as a race car driver. In 2016 alone, Dale Jr. made around $23.5 million in earnings, with $15 million of that in salary and winnings. That’s a far cry from his slightly over $1 million salary back in 1998, but hey, even the son of a NASCAR legend has to start somewhere.
Take a look at Junior’s accomplishments, and you’ll see how he turned a pretty penny as a racer. You might remember his turn as the Pied Piper of Daytona, thanks to his two-time Daytona 500 wins in 2004 and 2014. In total, he has 26 Cup Series race wins, 260 top-10 finishes, and 15 pole positions. As a NASCAR Xfinity Series driver, he has 24 wins, 94 top-10 finishes, and 10 poles. Not to mention, he won the Cup Series Most Popular Driver award a whopping 15 times.
When he joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s net worth really shot up. Even though he only won nine races from 2008 to 2015, he was still the highest paid driver during that time.
Dale Jr. did make less in 2016 (he missed the final 16 races due to a concussion), but as you will soon see, he’s also made quite a bit through merchandising and endorsement deals.
Merchandising and Endorsements
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had a number of endorsements and merchandising deals throughout the course of his career. In his heyday, Junior earned anywhere from $1 million (2000) to $23 million (2008) a year on endorsement deals. From 2000-2007, Junior was sponsored by Budweiser, and sponsorship on his race car was worth a NASCAR-high $1 million per race. Junior also had such personal endorsement sponsors as Nationwide, Chevrolet, Axalta, Goody’s, TaxSlayer, and Wrangler.
Then, there’s merchandising. Junior’s merchandise sales often represented a whopping 25% of NASCAR’s sales and twice as much as any other driver. Looks like he was most popular driver all those times for a reason.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Net Worth and Other Ventures
Dale Earnhardt Jr has an estimated net worth of $300 million. Now, it should come as no shock to you that Dale Jr. (who still finds time to race part-time, by the way) likes to stay busy, and his foray into other business ventures sure speaks to that.
In 2003, he and his stepmother Teresa founded Chance 2 Motorsports. While the company went out of business in 2006, Junior found much more success as the team owner of JR Motorsports, a NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series team that he co-owns with Rick Hendrick and sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller.
He is also the co-owner of Whiskey River Beer and Wings restaurants in Charlotte, North Carolina, and also partnered with NY Eye Inc. in 2013 to start his own line of eyeglass frames.
Earnhardt is the owner of media production company Hammerhead Entertainment, and has also hosted the show Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Unrestricted on Sirius XM Sports Nation. He’s also had quite the movie career (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Herbie: Fully Loaded, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon) and has appeared in a host of TV shows and music videos.
Then, of course, Dale currently works as a broadcaster for NASCAR on NBC and hosts The Dale Jr. Download podcast.
So, what is Junior up to these days? Looks like a little bit of everything, and good for him.