Labonte Wants To Be A Millionaire
May 23, 2000 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Should the driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac win the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, he would take home the winner's share of the race purse, the million-dollar Winston No Bull 5 bonus and the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus.
The leader bonus hasn't been collected since Dale Jarrett won the season-opening Daytona 500.
Several drivers will have a solid shot at the $110,000 bonus this Sunday night in the Coca-Cola 600. Should a driver win the leader bonus this weekend, it would be the second-highest payout in the history of the program. Coincidentally, it would equal Jeff Gordon's 1998 payout received at the Coca-Cola 600.
Bobby Labonte enters the Coca-Cola 600 with a three-point lead over Ward Burton in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. Mark Martin trails Labonte by just 33 points while Jeff Burton trails the points leader by 59 points. Fifth-place Dale Earnhardt is just 78 points out of first place. All five drivers have a good shot at taking home the leader bonus.
The Leader Bonus is awarded to any NASCAR Winston Cup driver who wins a race and takes or maintains the lead in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus was collected six times during the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup season. After winning the season-opening Daytona 500, Gordon took home an additional $10,000 as the NASCAR Winston Cup points leader.
When Jeff Burton won the rain-shortened TranSouth Financial 400 at Darlington, S.C., he maintained his points lead and won an additional $40,000 bonus from Winston. Dale Jarrett, the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup champion, won the leader bonus four times for a total of $150,000.
The season ended with $140,000 of leader-bonus money on the table. When Jarrett did not win the season's last race, the money was divided among the top-10 drivers in the final NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. Jarrett also collected the leader bonus this year when he won the season-opening Daytona 500.