Daytona 500 purse in high gear, topping $23 million

Big Race - Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR will dole out a record $23.6 million to the 40 drivers racing in the Daytona 500. The sanctioning body released the total purse for the first time since the 2015 season.

The Daytona 500 purse grew steadily since the race’s inception in 1959. Lee Petty took home nearly $20,000 for winning the inaugural “Great American Race.”

This year’s winner will receive an undisclosed amount. The purse topped $1 million in 1985 and rose to a little more than $18 million in 2015. That’s last year the figures were released publicly.

The race Sunday is a sellout for the fifth consecutive season. President Donald Trump will give the command for drivers to start their engines.

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