Daytona Record purse for 500

Daytona 500 purse tops $7 million DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 23, 1998) NASCAR's 50th Anniversary celebration will stage its biggest event to date on Feb. 15 with the announcement by Daytona International Speedway President John Graham that...

Daytona 500 purse tops $7 million

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 23, 1998) NASCAR's 50th Anniversary celebration will stage its biggest event to date on Feb. 15 with the announcement by Daytona International Speedway President John Graham that posted awards for the 1998 Daytona 500 have grown to more than $7 million.

The champion of the 40th "Great American Race" will win $1 million. Both figures -- the $7 million in total posted awards and the $1 million for the championship team -- are NASCAR Winston Cup Series records.

In 1985, Bill Elliott became the first driver in the history of NASCAR Winston Cup Series competition to win more than $1 million in a single season. He accomplished that historic feat over a 28-race schedule. Now, just 13 years later, Elliott and as many as 42 other drivers will have the opportunity to top that mark in a single event -- the biggest race in the history of NASCAR Winston Cup Series competition.

"In celebration of NASCAR's 50th Anniversary and the 40th Annual Daytona 500, it is fitting that awards for this great event reach these levels," Graham said. "There are few sporting events anywhere that recognize an athlete's accomplishments to this degree. We're proud that the Daytona 500 is one of them."

The Daytona 500 is the first NASCAR Winston Cup Series event of the golden anniversary season for NASCAR, and is the most significant event of every season.

"Every year, the Daytona 500 is the race all drivers want to win the most," said seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt. "Prize money at this level is in line with the great stature of the event."

Jeff Gordon, winner of last year's Daytona 500 and the two-time and defending NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion, said "This further solidifies the Daytona 500 as the crown jewel of NASCAR, and in fact as the crown jewel of all of racing."

In addition to the top prize of $1 million, the second-place team will win more than $500,000 and each of the top-11 finishers will receive more than $100,000.

"Although winning the Daytona 500 is worth more than money, the awards being posted for this year's race make our team's motivation even greater as I attempt to win my third Daytona 500," said 1993 and '96 champion Dale Jarrett.

In addition to the $1 million first place prize, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. could award the Daytona 500 champion with a $1 million bonus through its unique "No Bull 5" program, which is payable to any of five drivers who finished in the top-five in the 1997 DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway and who win the 1998 Daytona 500. The eligible drivers are Terry Labonte, Bobby Labonte, John Andretti, Ernie Irvan and Ken Schrader.

Since its inaugural running in 1959, the Daytona 500 has been considered one of the great motorsports events in the world. Today, it has grown to become one of the greatest sporting events in the world.

In 1998, a record crowd will watch the Daytona 500 get the green flag at 12:15 p.m.. EST. Live television coverage by CBS Sports will begin at noon, and more than 400 affiliates will carry the MRN radio broadcast.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Ken Schrader , John Graham