Back in 2017, 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 43-year-old Kannapolis, North Carolina native.
With an estimated net worth of about $400 million, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not only one of the richest NASCAR drivers in history, but also one of the richest athletes of all time.
Where did Dale Jr. get all that money though? Well, let’s take a look!
With around 20 years behind the wheel, Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. (did you know Ralph was actually his first name?!) naturally earned a lot of money from his career as a NASCAR 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 from racing. He’s a two-time Daytona 500 winner. As a Monster Energy Cup Series driver, he had 26 wins, 260 top-10 finishes, and 15 poles. As a NASCAR Xfinity Series driver, he had 24 wins, 91 top-10 finishes, and 10 poles. Not to mention he won Most Popular Driver award a whopping 15 times.
When he joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, that’s when 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, his 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.
It should come as no shock to you that Dale Earnhardt 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.
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. He’s also the host of the extremely popular podcast Dale Jr. Download.
Then, of course, Dale currently works as a broadcaster for NASCAR on NBC.
We wonder what Junior will get into next! At only 45, the sky certainly is the limit.