In every race, you need to get ahead of the rest because that is where the money. You do understand that in order to get ahead, you will need some money to buy some upgrades, but that would be a problem if you don't have any sponsor. Most sponsors are betting their money on the best racers on the land, so if you want get sponsors then do your best.
The idea of the game is to win a race, but that would be too hard for a new car racer, so the short term goal would be to upgrade your car. There are some cash on the road and the further you go, the more money you will see.