IRL: New IRL season awards announced

$2 MILLION-PLUS IN ADDITIONAL AWARDS POSTED FOR 1996-97 IRL CAMPAIGN ORLANDO, FLA., January 23, 1997 -- More than $2 million in contingency, accessory and additional awards have been posted for events in the 1996-97 Indy Racing League season,...

$2 MILLION-PLUS IN ADDITIONAL AWARDS POSTED FOR 1996-97 IRL CAMPAIGN

ORLANDO, FLA., January 23, 1997 -- More than $2 million in contingency, accessory and additional awards have been posted for events in the 1996-97 Indy Racing League season, it was announced today by Leo Mehl, the League's executive director.

The total of $2,126,800 -- in addition to the minimum $1 million in prize money for each IRL event -- was announced in the conference room at the media center at Walt Disney World Speedway, where teams were preparing for Saturday's Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Presented by Aurora.

"This additional program is evidence that our new series has created a lot of interest," said Leo Mehl, the League's executive director. "This is just the beginning. We know all of our teams really appreciate what these sponsors have contributed. We certainly expect to announce more participation in the future."

The additional awards raised postings and prize money for Saturday's race to a total of $1,161,900. Last year, competitors took home $1,078,500 from the inaugural Indy 200, with winner Buzz Calkins getting the lion's share at $122,500.

Oldsmobile and Nissan, the two engine manufacturers for 1997, each have posted $17,500 in performance awards for each IRL race. Both have posted $157,500, including $25,000 for a victory in the 81st running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.

The largest single posting came from longtime sponsor PPG Industries, with $685,000 -- $10,000 per race and $595,000 for the 81st running of the Indianapolis 500.

Pennzoil, through two programs for product use and the Pennzoil Performax "Performer of the Race" Award to the chief mechanic of the winning team, has posted $145,000. Coors Brewing, through its escalated pit performance and pit-stop challenge programs, has posted $140,000. Valvoline has posted $110,000 in contingency awards, MBNA has posted $105,000 for its MBNA Motorsports America "Lap Leaders Award" and True Value/Cotter & Co. has posted $100,000 for its True Value Pole Winning Chief Mechanic Award.

Others posting awards so far for the 1997 part of the season are the American Dairy Association ($22,500), Bart Wheels ($13,000), Robert Bosch Corporation ($53,000), Cooper Automotive/Champion ($60,000), Earl's Performance Products ($72,500), EMCO Gears ($23,000), J.C. Carter Company($37,500), Keco Coatings ($19,000), Kruse International ($10,000), Lincoln Electric ($15,000), Raybestos ($80,000), STP ($58,000), Sun Industries ($10,000) and Weld Wheel Industries ($23,300).

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Media Contact: Mai Lindstrom Walt Disney World Speedway Media Center (407) 939-0040, 939-0041, 939-0042

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins