Are NASCAR drivers allowed to bet on races?

Tyler Reddick, Richard Childress Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Tyler Reddick, Richard Childress Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

With sports betting continuing to surge in popularity, NASCAR has inevitably seen its own involvement in the industry increase.

NASCAR has not made itself a stranger to the recent surge of the sports betting industry, with multiple teams signing official betting partners and several sportsbooks appearing on cars during races. The sanctioning body itself has formed multiple betting partnerships.

However, the sport’s involvement in the industry raises an interesting question: are drivers themselves allowed to bet on the races?

NASCAR took a proactive approach here back in 2019, prohibiting not just drivers but all members, including but not limited to team owners, crew members, and race officials, from betting on races and also from giving away inside information for “their own gain, or for the gain of others”.

Before the 2019 season began, they introduced a new policy stating the following.

"“All NASCAR members have an obligation to protect the integrity of the sport. Gambling on NASCAR Events by Members can pose a serious threat to the integrity of NASCAR, its stakeholders, and the industry as a whole.”"

The move to add Section 12.9.2 to the Rule Book made sense, and nipping it in the bud well before the recent surge was the right call.

What if a situation were to arise where a race leader had bet on the second place driver to win and then purposely slowed down in the closing laps to let him win?

There are obviously far less extreme examples to consider here, but anything along those lines would absolutely pose a serious threat to the sport’s integrity.

But what about drivers betting on themselves?

In an attempt to completely eliminate any source of potential controversy, NASCAR went a step further and also banned drivers from doing just that. And yes, in 2020, amid the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, NASCAR esports events were added to the list of events on which members are not allowed to bet.

So what if a driver were to violate this policy?

The NFL saw an interesting situation last season in which Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley was found to have bet on multiple NFL games, leading the NFL to suspend him indefinitely through at least the 2022 season.

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If a driver were to bet on a race, that driver could be hit with a fine of between $150,000 and $250,000. The driver may also be suspended, possibly indefinitely, or even removed from the sport entirely.