From Curtis Turner to Tony Stewart drivers involved in businesses outside the sport is as old as NASCAR itself. While we don’t have any timber barons out racing today (Curtis Turner made his living in timber before spending it on racing), many drivers are utilizing their resources to build empires that will outlast their driving careers.
Before there was a Stewart Haas Racing, there was Tony Stewart the race car driver and business owner. On top of one IRL Championship, two Sprint Cup Series champions, 35 Cup Series wins, eight Nationwide wins and two truck series wins, Stewart managed to build a thriving business in the form of True Speed Enterprises. The enterprise encompasses twelve different businesses that include whole or partial ownership stakes in three different race tracks, ownership of two World of Outlaw cars and entries in the various USAC series and True Speed Communications a full service public relations and marketing business servicing clients throughout motorsports. On top of that is ownership of Denver, N.C. based Custom Works R/C Cars, a manufacturer of R/C cars.
As one of the shrewdest businessmen in the garage Tony Stewart has built an empire only few can compare to.
While he doesn’t quite have the portfolio of Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has business interests that are just as diverse. Need to produce a commercial? Hammerhead Entertainment is a production company Junior founded in 2006. Among their clients are the PBR and the National Guard. The company also does work for Junior’s own television projects including Shifting Gears and Back in the Day. Are you looking to buy a house in the Charlotte area? DEJ Realty is a full service real estate company started by Junior and sister Kelley Earnhardt Elledge in 2007. And finally if your in Uptown on Friday looking for something to do, Junior’s got you covered. His Whiskey River bar opened last year and is a popular night spot. Oh and don’t forget JR Motorsports.
Like Stewart Earnhardt Jr. also has stakes in two race tracks: the yet to be built Alabama Motorsports Park and Paducah International Raceway (which he co-owns with Stewart, Ken Schrader and Bob Sargent).
While his successes on track weren’t great, as a team owner Childress has been able to build his Richard Childress Racing into one of the top teams in the sport. Amongst the three series Childress has 12 championships and 180 wins. Also part of Childress’ portfolio are Childress Vineyards and Yadkin River Angus. If you need wine or beef, Childress is your guy.
While throughout much of NASCAR’s history many drivers worked to race, today the decision to start businesses and diversify one’s interests is just good financial sense.