Yes, we've all known that it takes a lot of money -- certainly more than you, I and the thousands of others who read this blog on a daily basis have combined -- but we've never really had an idea of what it costs to currently run a NASCAR team other than "it's a lot of money."
But thanks to Michael Waltrip's appearance at Adweek, we now do. Lewis Franck pointed out that during a discussion between Waltrip, Fox's Mike Joy, Nationwide's John Aman and soon-to-be Nationwide Series driver Ricky Carmichael, Waltrip's annual budget for three Sprint Cup teams and his Nationwide effort is a whopping $87 million. (The No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing car of Marcos Ambrose is essentially considered to be MWR's third car)
That $87 million is more than the payrolls for 16 Major League Baseball teams -- including three that have already clinched playoff berths -- and according to Pro Football Talk, it's more than the payrolls of two NFL teams, the Bucs and the Chiefs.
How's that money divided? Well, it's probably a safe (and conservative) estimate that each Sprint Cup team has an operating budget of at least $20 million, and the Nationwide effort is roughly half of that, leaving $17 million or less for administration, overhead and research and development.
We must admit, this news really throws a wrench into our plans to run for the title in 2011 with the From the Marbles car. We may be having to look at starting and parking now unless you fine commenters want to give us $5,000 apiece.