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NASCAR Winston West Series: Gilliland Crowned Series Championship

12 November 1997


SCOTTS VALLEY, CA - The crowning of this year's NASCAR Winston West Series 
champion and major announcements about the series for 1998 highlighted a 
spectacular awards banquet at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nev., on Nov. 10. 

The ceremonies culminated with the presentation of the championship trophy to 
Butch Gilliland of Anaheim, Calif.

Gilliland, an 11-year veteran of the series, received more than $35,000 in 
awards at the banquet -- including a $13,136 NASCAR championship award, a 
$10,000 bonus from series sponsor Winston, $5,000 from Raybestos Brakes, 
$2,000 from Champion Spark Plugs, $2,000 from Prestone Antifreeze, and $2,000 
from STP. The post-season awards pushed his winnings for 1997 to a 
season-record $183,768.

Gilliland was also presented with the Most Popular Driver Award during the 

The champion owner's trophy was presented to Bill Stroppe Motorsports. For 
his role this season as his father's crew chief, David Gilliland received the 
champion crew chief award. The Stroppe Motorsports/Pro Insulation Ford rolled 
into victory lane four times during the 14-race schedule. In addition, the 
team had 10 top-five finishes and 11 top-10 finishes. 

Major news about the NASCAR Winston West Series was announced during the 
ceremonies when representatives of NASCAR and series sponsor Winston revealed 
a major increase to the point fund for 1998. Dennis Huth, NASCAR's vice 
president for administration, made the presentation with Dan Henley, senior 
manager of the NASCAR Winston Racing Series for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. 

"The 1997 season was certainly an exciting one for the NASCAR Winston West 
Series with visits to beautiful new speedways and traditional stops in the 
Western. U.S.," said Huth. "We look forward to working hard as the series 
soars to a new level in 1998."

Henley said Winston would boost its contribution to the point fund from 
$50,000 to $300,000. Together with an increase from track operators, the 
NASCAR Winston West Series point fund will be a record $500,000, if all the 
events are run, Huth announced. 

"We at R.J. Reynolds are committed to the NASCAR Winston West Series," said 
Henley. "I think tonight's exciting news certainly confirms that commitment."

Other big news for the series came when the schedule was announced for 1998. 
Adding to the major races that were on this year's schedule are stops at 
Phoenix International Raceway and Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.), and an 
additional race at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Other awards presented during the NASCAR Winston West Series awards 
ceremonies included the Sears Point Raceway Rookie-of-the-Year Award, which 
was presented along with a check for $1,500 to Gary Smith of Malahat, 
British Columbia. Smith, who finished third in the point standings, also 
received the Gatorade Front Runner Award, with a check for $2,500 and a 
presentation from Goodyear with a check for $4,000.

Receiving the Most Improved Driver Award was series rookie Sean Woodside of 
Saugus, Calif. Woodside, who finished second in the point standings, also was 
presented with the Busch Pole Award and a check for $2,500. In addition, he 
was one of three drivers to receive a check from Unocal, with his award being 
for $3,000. 

Meanwhile, series veteran Scott Gaylord of Lakewood, Colo., was honored 
during the ceremonies with the Sportsman Award for 1997. 

The engine builder for the championship team, Ed Hanson of Shaver Engines, 
was presented with the AE Clevite Engine Bearing Award, accompanied by 

By NASCAR Public Relations