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Gordon, Others Pick Up Bonus with Gatorade Front Runner Award

10 July 1997

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - For the second time in the three-year life of the
program, Jeff Gordon has walked away with the $50,000 Gatorade Front
Runner Award bonus.

In addition to the weekly $10,000 bonus Gatorade grants the driver
leading the halfway lap of each NASCAR Winston Cup championship point
event, the $50,000 award is earmarked for the driver leading the
Series point standings at the halfway point of the season. -- last
week's 400-mile event at Daytona International Speedway.

With the two bonuses Gordon has received during the season by leading
at the halfway mark in Darlington, S.C., and Martinsville, Va.,
Gatorade's contribution to run for the championship being mounted by
the DuPont Refinishes team is up to $70,000.

"You hear it every time a sponsor does something like this, but
Gatorade really has done a lot for this sport and we really appreciate
that," Gordon said.

The bonus helped push Gordon to just another $400,000 shy of the $2
million mark for the season.

Since the Gatorade Front Runner program made its debut in every NASCAR
division in 1995, Gordon has taken home $280,000 in bonus money from
the Official Sports Drink of NASCAR.

Defending NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie picked up the
$10,000 bonus when that circuit hit Dover Downs International Speedway
last month, entering the race nine points behind Todd Bodine and
leaving Dover with a 10 point lead.

"We've traded the lead back and forth a few times this year," LaJoie
said.  "We were fortunate enough to be in front to pick up that check
from Gatorade at Dover. Now we're shooting for that big check at the
end of the season."

If he could successfully defend his title, LaJoie would be the first
driver to win back-to-back NASCAR Busch Series championships since
Larry Pearson did so 10 years ago in 1986-87.

While three other Gatorade Front Runner mid-season awards (the NASCAR
Craftsman Truck Series, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour and the
NASCAR Winston Racing Series) yet to be decided, nine others are in
the books.

Besides NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series, other Gatorade
Front Runner winners are as follows:

 NASCAR Busch North Series, Grand National Division: Mike Stefanik, $5,000
 NASCAR Winston West Series: Gary Smith, $2,500
 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series: Jeff Fultz, $2,500
 NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour: Chris Raudman, $2,500
 NASCAR REB-CO Northwest Tour: Kelly Tanner, $2,500
 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series: Mike Swaim, Jr., $2,500
 NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour: Ray Guss, Jr., $2,500

This season along, Gatorade will hand out more than $500,000 in bonus money 
through the Gatorade Front Runner Award.

By NASCAR Public Relations