WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Nov. 22, 1999) R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and its Winston brand announced Monday the richest single-season bonus program in NASCAR Winston Cup Series history will return in the 2000 season, featuring a short-track event for the first time in the three-year history of the program.
The "Winston No Bull 5" will welcome the addition of the 0.75-mile Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va., to its 2000 lineup. The Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400, to be run on Sept. 9, will replace the Pepsi Southern 500 at Darlington, S.C., which previously had been a Winston No Bull 5 event since the program's inception.
"Winston is looking forward to bringing the Winston No Bull 5 program to Richmond International Raceway in 2000," said Rick Sanders, president of RJR's Sports Marketing Enterprises. "We felt that adding a short track to the Winston No Bull 5 lineup would add an additional level of fan involvement, as well as driver interest and excitement.
"We saw the same kind of positive response last year when we added Las Vegas to the Winston No Bull 5 lineup."
The program has always created a flux of tracks in and out of the rotation. The five races comprising the Winston No Bull 5 in 2000 are, in chronological order: The Daytona 500 (Feb. 20); the Las Vegas 400 (March 5); the Coca-Cola 600 (May 28) at Concord, N.C.; the Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 (Sept. 9) at Richmond, Va.; and the Winston 500 (Oct. 15) at Talladega, Ala.
The Winston No Bull 5 in 2000 will offer $1 million to drivers in each Winston No Bull 5 event. In addition, fans once again will have the opportunity to win $1 million at each event.
In the Winston No Bull 5, eligible drivers win $1 million by capturing a Winston No Bull 5 event. Drivers will once again become eligible to compete for the Winston No Bull 5 bonus by finishing in the top-5 at the previous Winston No Bull 5 event.
"All of us at NASCAR appreciate all the things Winston has done over the years to support NASCAR Winston Cup racing," said Mike Helton, senior vice president and chief operating officer of NASCAR. "The Winston No Bull 5 program creates a great deal of excitement among drivers and fans alike and we look forward to its continuation in 2000."
Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Ward Burton and Kenny Wallace have qualified as Winston No Bull 5 competitors at next year's Daytona 500 by virtue of their top-5 finishes at the Winston 500 in October at Talladega Superspeedway.
Jeff Burton won the Winston No Bull 5 million-dollar bonus twice in 1999, with victories at Concord and Darlington. Jeff Gordon earned $1 million with his victory at the Daytona 500.
Those victories guaranteed an additional $3 million would be awarded as a part of the "They Win, You Win" Winston No Bull 5 fan sweepstakes. Ray Grimm of Hagerstown, Md., collected $1 million at Daytona; Wade Smith of Metropolis, Ill., received the bonus at Concord; and Phyllis Farmer of Hillsboro, Mo., became a millionaire at Darlington.
"The people at Winston and R.J. Reynolds never stop creating ways to contribute back to the sport," Gordon said. "The opportunity to win $1 million certainly gets the drivers excited, but the program also gets the fans involved and is a way to give back to them. It's just awesome to have the opportunity to make a fan a millionaire."
The Winston No Bull 5 replaced the "Winston Million" program in 1998. The program has paid out $6 million in each of its first two seasons.
In 1998, Gordon captured the Winston No Bull 5 bonus on two occasions, the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis and the Pepsi Southern 500 at Darlington. Jarrett pocketed the million at the Winston 500 at Talladega.
In all, 29 different NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers have had the opportunity to race for a $1 million bonus as part of the Winston No Bull 5 program.