Denny Hamlin says NASCAR drivers deserve comparable pay to NBA, NFL

Denny Hamlin is introduced prior to the NASCAR Cup Series 300 auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WATE) — Should NASCAR drivers make comparable pay to NBA and NFL players?

Driver Denny Hamlin says NASCAR drivers risk their lives. He says stars in other sports have eight and nine-figure deals, but NASCAR drivers typically make seven figures.

“We’re way underpaid as race car drivers,” Hamlin told ESPN. “There’s no doubt, doing what we do, the schedule that we have and the danger that we incur every single week, NASCAR drivers should be making NBA, NFL money.”

Hamlin’s comments were made after it was suggested that drivers should take pay cuts. He says he knows that many NASCAR teams are struggling to find sponsorship dollars, but he says he hopes NASCAR will shift their revenue distribution model in their premier series, giving teams and drivers the opportunity to make money.

NASCAR’s television deal, which runs through 2024 yields $820 million a year. They distribute 65 percent of the money to the tracks, 25 percent to the teams and keep 10 percent.

Hamlin says he hopes NASCAR will give more money to teams. He says NASCAR is making more money every year, but there are fewer and fewer teams because they don’t make enough money to support their crews.

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