Report from Motorsport News International
NASCAR Public Relations
Winston Million becomes Winston No Bull 5 TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 10, 1997)
In tribute to NASCAR's 50th-anniversary celebration next year, the Winston brand will sponsor the "Winston No Bull 5" in 1998,the richest single-season bonus program ever conducted in NASCAR Winston Cup racing. Jeff Gordon will be the last winner of the coveted Winston Million. The Winston No Bull 5 offers a total of $5 million to drivers, comprising possible $1 million pay-outs at five different events in 1998. A major consumer-oriented program also will be announced in New York during the week of the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Banquet in early December.
The Winston No Bull 5 will replace the Winston Million in 1998.
"We're very happy today to announce an exciting new program that helps us celebrate NASCAR's 50th anniversary," said T. Wayne Robertson, president of RJR's Sports Marketing Enterprises. "The Winston No Bull 5 offers significant rewards at five of the most prestigious events of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series next year. I fully expect it to create a lot of enthusiasm for drivers and teams as well as the fans."
The five races in the Winston No Bull 5 are, chronologically, the Daytona 500 (Feb. 15), Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (May 24), Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis (Aug. 1), Southern 500 at Darlington (Sept. 6) and the Winston 500 at Talladega (Oct. 11).
Five drivers will be qualified for each Winston No Bull 5 event. If an eligible driver wins that race, he wins $1 million.
"I can't believe that we could be racing for that much money next year," said Jeff Gordon, the most recent winner of the Winston Million. "I was overwhelmed at the thought of winning the Winston Million this year, and to think that a person could do it five times next year is really unbelievable."
In the history of Winston's previous bonus program, "The Winston Million," only Gordon and Bill Elliott have been able to take home the money.
"This sounds like somebody could make some serious money," said Elliott, who won the Winston Million in its inaugural year of 1985. "Theoretically, there's a chance one driver could win $5 million.
"From the standpoint of the competitors, we race hard every week, but this may put more of an emphasis on trying to finish in the top-five. The Winston Million is great, but it narrows it down to just one driver. This is a neat concept because more drivers have a chance to win, and I'm looking forward to having that opportunity myself." Drivers qualify for the No Bull 5 by finishing in the top five in the previous No Bull 5 event. The qualifiers for the 1998 Daytona 500 will be determined by this week's top five at Talladega.
The top-5 finishers this week at Talladega will be eligible for the Winston No Bull 5 at the 1998 Daytona 500. If one of those five wins the Daytona 500, he wins $1 million.
The top-5 finishers in the Daytona 500 will be eligible for the Winston No Bull 5 at the Coca-Cola 600.
The top-5 finishers in the Coca-Cola 600 will be eligible for the Winston No Bull 5 at the Brickyard 400.
The top-5 finishers in the Brickyard 400 will be eligible for the Winston No Bull 5 at the Southern 500.
The top-5 finishers in the Southern 500 will be eligible for the Winston No Bull 5 at the Winston 500.
The Winston Million has been staged since 1985. Drivers were eligible to win $1 million if they could capture three of four designated NASCAR Winston Cup races -- the Daytona 500, Winston 500, Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500. "The Winston Million has been a program that worked well for the Winston brand and well for NASCAR Winston Cup racing," Robertson said. "And the Winston No Bull 5 should have a similar impact. It brings even more rewards to the sport and, we believe, even more excitement.
"The Winston No Bull 5 will bring more drivers into the competition for a million- dollar payout. In fact, over the past four seasons (since the Brickyard 400 was added to the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule in 1994), an average of 14.5 drivers would have been involved in the Winston No Bull 5 program each year.
"That kind of involvement is good for the sport. We want every driver in competition to have a shot at winning $1 million." Dale Jarrett nearly missed winning the Winston Million in 1996.
"This is an incredible concept," said Jarrett. "I'm really excited about having the opportunity to fight for a top-five finish this weekend and then have a chance at $1 million in Daytona. Certainly there are guys battling for the championship or for a top-10 finish in the points, but now there are more reasons than ever before to go out and run well this weekend. This is great because it gives more people an opportunity."
"We are continually gratified by the support shown to our sport by Winston and the people at Reynolds Tobacco," said Bill France Jr., NASCAR's president. "The Winston No Bull 5 program certainly will enhance NASCAR Winston Cup racing for everyone involved during our 50th anniversary year."
To see how many different drivers this program would have involved had it been in existence since the Brickyard 400 was added to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule in 1994, refer to the chart below:
The following are the top five finishers of Winston No Bull 5 races over the past four seasons. If the Winston No Bull 5 had been in effect during those seasons, the drivers whose names are listed with an asterisk would have won $1 million:
Daytona 500 Coca-Cola 600 Brickyard 400 Southern 500 Winston 500
1997 (14 drivers) J. Gordon J. Gordon R. Rudd *J. Gordon M. Martin T. Labonte R. Wallace B. Labonte J. Burton D. Earnhardt R. Craven M. Martin D. Jarrett D. Jarrett B. Labonte B. Elliott B. Elliott J. Gordon B. Elliott J. Andretti S. Marlin J. Burton J. Mayfield R. Rudd J. Gordon
1996 (14 drivers) D. Jarrett T. Labonte *D. Jarrett J. Gordon S. Marlin D. Earnhardt M. Martin E. Irvan H. Stricklin D. Jarrett K. Schrader D. Jarrett T. Labonte M. Martin D. Earnhardt M. Martin S. Marlin M. Martin K. Schrader T. Labonte J. Burton R. Craven M. Shepherd J. Andretti M. Waltrip
1995 (15 drivers) S. Marlin *M. Martin *D. Earnhardt J. Gordon M. Martin D. Earnhardt D. Earnhardt R. Wallace D. Earnhardt J. Gordon M. Martin T. Labonte D. Jarrett R. Wallace M. Shepherd T. Musgrave R. Rudd B. Elliott W. Burton D. Waltrip D. Jarrett D. Jarrett M. Martin M. Waltrip B. Labonte
1994* (15 drivers) S. Marlin D. Jarrett J. Gordon *B. Elliott * D. Earnhardt E. Irvan M. Shepherd B. Bodine D. Earnhardt E. Irvan T. Labonte D.. Earnhardt B. Elliott M. Shepherd M. Waltrip J. Gordon K. Schrader R. Wallace R. Rudd J. Spencer M. Shepherd L. Speed D. Earnhardt S. Marlin K. Schrader