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How much are NASCAR pit crews paid?

(NEXSTAR) — Kyle Busch, who drives the No. 8 Chevy Camaro for Richard Childress Racing, is said to be the highest-paid NASCAR driver this season. Over the 38-race season, Busch will reportedly earn $16.9 million.

Other top-earning drivers include Denny Hamlin, who’s making $13.1 million driving No. 11 for Joe Gibbs Racing, and Kevin Harvick, who will make $10.9 million while driving No. 4 for Stewart-Haas Racing, according to Front Office Sports.

While Busch, Hamlin, Harvick, and their fellow NASCAR drivers are the faces of the sport, they aren’t the only athletes at the race track on Sunday. Just take a look behind the pit wall and you’ll find dozens more on the pit crew.

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It’s true, pit crews arguably work as hard as the drivers behind the wheel. Some even come from other sports and partake in a “pit crew combine” before becoming “pit road talent.”

Does that mean pit crew members are earning multi-million dollar paychecks? Not exactly.

As mentioned, some pit crew members in NASCAR come from other sports. For example, Hendricks Motorsports’ pit crew development coach Keith Flynn will visit colleges and universities as part of his recruitment process. That can bring in former collegiate athletes, primarily from football and wrestling, according to the racing team.

Once a part of the Hendricks Motorsports team, those pit crew members will tend to their nutrition and strength and agility training like any athlete would. Before they have the opportunity to go over the wall on race day, though, those athletes may spend years developing their skills.

  • MADISON, IL – JUNE 02: Drivers use a caution flag to pit early in the race during the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter on June 02, 2024, at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Madison, IL. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    MADISON, IL – JUNE 02: Drivers use a caution flag to pit early in the race during the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter on June 02, 2024, at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Madison, IL. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
  • MADISON, IL – JUNE 02: Ty Gibbs (#54 Joe Gibbs Racing Monster Energy Toyota) drives off after a pit stop during the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter on June 02, 2024, at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Madison, IL. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    MADISON, IL – JUNE 02: Ty Gibbs (#54 Joe Gibbs Racing Monster Energy Toyota) drives off after a pit stop during the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter on June 02, 2024, at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Madison, IL. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
  • The pit crew for Ross Chastain (1) rush to complete a pit stop during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Concord, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)
    The pit crew for Ross Chastain (1) rush to complete a pit stop during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Concord, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)
  • The pit crew for Denny Hamlin rush to complete a pit stop during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Concord, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)
    The pit crew for Denny Hamlin rush to complete a pit stop during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Concord, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)
  • MADISON, IL – JUNE 02: The pit crew for Erik Jones (#43 LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Family Dollar Toyota) hustle to refuel and replace tires during a pit stop during the NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter on June 02, 2024, at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Madison, IL. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
  • Crew members perform a pit stop on the car of driver John Hunter Nemechek during the NASCAR All-Star Open auto race at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, N.C., Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
    Crew members perform a pit stop on the car of driver John Hunter Nemechek during the NASCAR All-Star Open auto race at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, N.C., Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Like other athletes, many pit crew members will be signed to contracts. Dave Alpern, the president of Joe Gibbs Racing, explained on TikTok that pit crew contracts are based on the position that member has and can vary in length.

While they train like athletes, and get contracts like athletes, a pit crew member isn’t making as much as Busch, Hamlin, or Harvick.

A race team will spend, on average, about $83,500 a week paying their pit crew, as well as their mechanics, public relations team, and engineers, according to The Florida Times-Union.

Within the pit crew, there are various roles, ranging from utilityman to crew chief. On the lower end, a utilityman may make around $500 a day, Sportskeeda reports. The crew members responsible for changing the tires can earn about three times that. The jackmen who help them and the fuelmen on the crew are said to earn about $3,000 per race. Meanwhile, the crew chief may earn well over $10,000 on race day.

Like caddies at the Masters, NASCAR pit crew members can earn bonuses along the way based on their driver’s performance.

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After winning his second Daytona 500 in 2019, Hamlin explained during an episode of the podcast “Pardon My Take,” that he gave every member of his 20-member pit crew $2,000 bonuses. That’s on top of another incentive he offered: $200 a member if they can pick up one spot per pit stop.

Pit teams also have the chance to compete for a $100,000 prize in the Pit Crew Challenge ahead of the NASCAR All-Star Race.

Overall, reports say a pit crew athlete will make between $30,000 and $100,000 annually, with an average salary of around $87,000. In addition to their role, a member’s salary can vary based on experience, the team’s success, and sponsorship deals the team has.

Pit crew members and other NASCAR employees don’t necessarily get to stop working after the nine-month season ends, either. As Alpern explains, team employees will spend “the short off season that we have” preparing for the next season. All pit crew members at Joe Gibbs Racing are considered full-time employees, according to Alpern.

Ready to join a NASCAR pit crew? Team Penske currently has an opening for “pit crew member,” though it doesn’t list any pay range.

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