Record payoff awaits 1999 Daytona 500 champion Daytona Beach, Fla. (Jan. 22, 1999) For the second straight year, the posted awards for the Feb. 14 Daytona 500 -- the NASCAR Winston Cup Series opener tagged as the "Great American Race" -- will...
Record payoff awaits 1999 Daytona 500 champion
Daytona Beach, Fla. (Jan. 22, 1999) For the second straight year, the posted awards for the Feb. 14 Daytona 500 -- the NASCAR Winston Cup Series opener tagged as the "Great American Race" -- will set the standard for the country's leading motorsports series. Daytona International Speedway President John Graham announced Friday that the posted awards for the 41st annual event would increase by nearly $1 million to more than $8 million, and that the event winner would be guaranteed $1.1 million, which would also mark an event record. In 1998, Daytona 500 champion Dale Earnhardt carried off $1,059,805 from the total posted awards of $7,092,557, which was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series record at the time. Both figures were records and made a graphic statement of how far the event had come in its 40-year history. In perhaps the most dramatic finish in the history of Daytona, Lee Petty claimed the checkered flag in the inaugural 1959 Daytona 500, edging out Johnny Beauchamp and Charley Griffith in a photo-finish. For pushing his Olds 88 past the finish line first, Petty received what probably seemed like a king's ransom of $19,050 in prize money. Second-place finisher Beauchamp earned a paltry $7,650. The total purse for the race totaled $67,760. How times have changed, and Friday's announcement is proof. "The Daytona 500 is the crown jewel of motorsports," Graham said. "Every driver in motorsports wants to take the checkered flag here at the premier track on the NASCAR circuit. There should be no doubt that the winner of this race should be rewarded handsomely." The Daytona 500 has historically offered one of the largest awards packages each year on the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule. The 1998 awards grew by more than 37 percent over the 1997, and were nearly double the combined prize money awarded to drivers who competed in the race during the decade of the 1970s. Also, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. could award the Daytona 500 champion an additional $1 million bonus through its "Winston No Bull 5" program, payable to any of five drivers who finished in the top-five in last October's Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The eligible drivers are Dale Jarrett, Jeff Gordon, Jimmy Spencer, Terry Labonte and Jeremy Mayfield. The 41st running of the Great American Race is scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m. EST. It will be broadcast live on CBS Sports and carried by more than 500 radio affiliates via MRN Radio, the nation's largest independent sports radio network.
Source: NASCAR Online