By Joe Longo for NTRA.com
There are 507 total contestants vying for the 1st place prize of $800,000. For the first time, the top 63 finishers will be paid out with the final placing being worth $5,000. While there are 509 contestants, there are a total of 629 entries into the contest with 122 having qualified twice. These numbers have been tossed around since the start of the tournament, but an in depth look into these numbers provides some interesting things to note.
Forty-two of the50 US states are represented along with several countries around the world. California led the way with a total of 117 entries or almost 19% of the total entries. New Jersey was second with 64, followed by New York with 59, Illinois with 39, and Florida and Texas both tied in fifth with 29 each. More astonishing is that of the total entries, these six states accounted for 54% of the total. Of the countries represented, beyond the U.S., Canada led the way with 27 entries.
According to the 2014 census estimates, the top five states according to population are all represented in the top five, with only New Jersey ranking outside in terms of population. While being a little light on the population side, as a percentage of entries per person New Jersey did rank the highest. It should also come as no surprise that each of the top five states represent the major race track circuits in the US in both races run and money handled.
It is easy to see the correlation between being a large state with a major race circuit and the number of entries represented. Kentucky was represented with 12 entries despite having a major race circuit. Maryland also lagged behind the field with six. States that didn’t have a representative or very few entries did not have a major race track in its general vicinity.