Source: NASCAR Online

NAPA Auto Parts 300 posts record purse

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 22, 1998) Total posted awards will top $1 million for the first time in NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division history on Feb. 14 at Daytona International Speedway with the 40th Annual NAPA Auto Parts 300.

Total awards for the top event on the NASCAR Busch Series schedule will be $1,121,428, eclipsing the previous record for payout set last year in the same event. That race saw awards of $945,319 distributed to the 45 drivers participating.

"Daytona International Speedway has been the leader in the world of motorsports throughout its 40-year history," said Speedway President John Graham. "We are again proud to further elevate the NASCAR Busch Series by posting awards exceeding $1.1 million for this great race."

The event is set to begin at 12 noon on Saturday, Feb. 14. Bud Pole Qualifying to set the top-25 starting positions in the field is set for Tuesday, Feb. 10.

Randy LaJoie, the 1997 NAPA Auto Parts 300 champion who is the two-time defending NASCAR Busch Series champion, will seek his second title in the famed race. LaJoie won $82,337 for his victory a year ago.

Among the drivers who have won the NAPA Auto Parts 300 multiple times are Dale Earnhardt (7), Darrell Waltrip (5), Bill Dennis (3), LeeRoy Yarbrough (3), Geoff Bodine (2), Jack Ingram (2) and DeWayne "Tiny" Lund (2).

The race traditionally features a huge entry of NASCAR Busch Series teams along with many of the strongest competitors in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. 1998 should be no exception.

"The more the merrier," said LaJoie when informed of the awards increase. "This series has come a long way. It's reached new heights, and that's very good."

LaJoie is thoroughly committed to the NASCAR Busch Series, citing the "family" aspect of competing in the division as well as the time it allows him to spend with his family on Sundays.

"The more we win, the more we get and that we can bring home to our families," he said.

In 1997, 13 NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers and 32 NASCAR Busch Series stars started the NAPA Auto Parts 300, much to the delight of the largest crowd to ever witness a NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

The NAPA Auto Parts 300 will get the green flag at 12 noon on Feb. 14. CBS Sports will again televise the event to a live audience and MRN Radio will broadcast the event through its more than 400 affiliates.