It is true that sport is not all about winning. The experience itself is enough for the payment, but let's be truthful as we need the money to buy anything that we want. Also, we need money to buy some upgrades for our car in time for the next race. In short, we need to win the race.
The idea here is to win the race. Second place will not do as that is also considered as a lost. You can't advance to the next race if you can't get first place. The secret is to stay on the road no matter what since there are many hindrances on side lanes that you might encounter.