Labonte Poised For Possible Big Payoff At Pocono

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Bobby Labonte just might have a very big day this Sunday.

The driver of the Interstate Batteries Pontiac won both Pocono races last season, and he's been a model of consistency this season with eight top-five finishes. If he wins the Pocono 500 this weekend, it'll be the third straight win for him at Pocono, and he'll take home the $140,000 NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus.

The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus hasn't been collected since Dale Jarrett won the season-opening Daytona 500. That means someone could win an extra $140,000 this Sunday at Long Pond, Pa.

Just three drivers will have a shot at the $140,000 bonus in the Pocono 500. Labonte enters the race with a 98-point lead over Dale Earnhardt in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. Third-place Ward Burton trails Labonte by 102 points. Should a driver win the leader bonus this weekend, it would be the second-largest payout in the history of the program

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, Jeff 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.



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