Driving fast is associated with being young, but most of the top earning race drivers are in their late 30s and early 40s. This is a matter of arithmetic. The more years spent racing, the more money they accumulate. There are, however a few exceptions to the rule. For every Dale Earnhardt Jr and Tony Stewart, there’s a Kyle Busch. For every Jeff Gordonr, there’s a Travis Pastrana. For each Mark Webber or Valentino Rossi there’s Sebastian Vettel.
Here are four of the highest paid auto racers under the age of 30:
Kyle Busch, 28
Sources indicate that Kyle Busch, an American stock car racer, is worth $40 million. This includes salary and winnings as a driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series. Busch is also the owner of Kyle Busch Motorsports which also competes in the Camping World Truck Series. He holds multiple NASCAR records and was 2005 Nextel Cup Series Rookie of the Year and the 2004 Busch Series Rookie of the Year.
Lewis Hamilton, 28
Lewis Hamilton is a British driver for the Mercedes Formula One team. His net worth was estimated in 2013 to be $27.5 million, with most of that coming from salary and winnings and an additional $1.5 million in sponsorship fees. Hamilton’s first win came in the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix when he raced for McLaren. He has since won over 20 F1 races and earned over 30 pole positions. In 2008 he was the Formula One World Champion and is currently in 3rd place in the 2013 points standings.
Sebastian Vettel, 26
Sebastian Vettel is one of the hottest drivers in all of motorsports. While Forbes estimated his net worth in June 2013 to be $18 million, the young driver has already one three straight World Championships in Formula One and is on track to win his fourth when the 2013 season comes to an end. He holds a number of F1 records, including 12 as the “youngest driver to..” When he was 21 he was the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix and at 23 he added the distinction as youngest driver to win a world championship (a record previously held by Hamilton). He is currently tied for fourth place on the All-time F1 Grand Prix winners list with 32 wins.
One other racer of note is Travis Pastrana, 29, who has earned $30 million dollars racing motorcyles and performing as a stunt driver.
Drivers in their early 30s who have a net worth of over $10 million include Fernando Alonso, 32 ($30 million), Danica Patrick, 31 ($15 million), and Kimi Raikkonen, 33 ($130 million)
Mark Oliver is a motorsports writer who has covered Formula One and endurance racing for a number of racing websites and blogs. He has also written profiles of numerous race car drivers from around the world.