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How Times Have Changed #1
Stock Car Payouts

Everyone gripes about the payout not being enough. A bit of research would indicate that oval track payouts have not kept up with the times. This is illustrated in an August 14, 1967 Toronto Star article entitled "All Lelliott needs is just a chance". It details Norm Lelliott's winnings the previous week. Here they were:

Date

Track

Finish

Winnings

Tuesday August 8, 1967 Nilestown

2nd

$500

Wednesday August 9, 1967 Flamborough

1st

$1000

Saturday August 12, 1967 Pinecrest

1st

$1000

Sunday August 13, 1967 Westgate

1st

$500

TOTAL    

$3000

He made $3000 in one week in 1967 dollars! It would be very difficult to win $3000 today, over 36 years later. Never mind the fact that you can't even race that many nights a week today. Take the inflation factor into account and how much do his winnings translate to today? Even if it was only 3 times more than it would be worth $9000 today. There is no way any Late Model driver could win that much in Ontario.

The table below shows the payout for a 75 lap open event at Pinecrest in 1970 and compares it to payouts of today.

August 9, 1970
75-lap Canadian Open, Pinecrest

2003 Payouts

Pos

Driver

1970 Pinecrest

OSCAAR

ALSTAR

1

Earl Ross

$2,260.00

$1,500.00

$2,000.00

2

Don Biederman

$1560.00

$1,200.00

$1,300.00

3

Ed Howe

$1100.00

$1,000.00

$800.00

4

Doug Warnes

$825.00

$900.00

$700.00

5

Harvey Walsh

740.00

$725.00

$600.00

6

Ross Howes

350.00

$600.00

$550.00

7

Bruce van Dyke

325.00

$525.00

$500.00

8

Ray Gullison

260.00

$475.00

$450.00

9

Norm Lelliott

190.00

$425.00

$400.00

10

George Pringle

180.00

$400.00

$400.00

11

Tom Milligan

135.00

$350.00

$375.00

12

Jim Hallahan

125.00

$275.00

$350.00

13

Lloyd Howard

125.00

$250.00

$340.00

14

Joe King

110.00

$250.00

$330.00

15

Del Meeks

100.00

$250.00

$320.00

16

Charlie Greenlaw

100.00

$250.00

$310.00

17

?

?

$225.00

$285.00

18

?

?

$200.00

$275.00

19

?

?

$200.00

$265.00

20

?

?

$200.00

$255.00

21

?

?

$200.00

$250.00

22

?

?

$200.00

$250.00

23

-

-

$200.00

$250.00

24

-

-

$200.00

$250.00

25

-

-

-

$200.00

26

-

-

-

$200.00

TOTAL

$10,000

$11,000.00

$12,205.00

The events listed in 1967 and 1970 were specials, so how much were the regular pay outs? Pinecrest paid $425 to win the feature in 1971. Compare that to the top division at your local track. Normally they pay about $800 - $1000 today.

Now, before I get yelled at by track owners, I'm not suggesting that track owners are getting rich. I know they are not. This is also not meant to be a slam on OSCAAR, ALSTAR or any track. This article is really highlighting economic changes and the comparitevely huge payouts of many years ago.

One thing that has changed is the purse distribution. In 1970 the bulk of the purse was paid to the top 5 with a big drop off from 6th and farther back. Today, finishing farther back pays better than in 1970.

In future articles we'll look at changes in the cost of admission, attendance and the cost to the racer.