Brickyard 400: No Bull 5: Mark Martin
30 July 1998He's not a greedy man, but even Mark Martin can appreciate the earning potential he's being presented with during the Brickyard 400 weekend in Indianapolis.
Martin, whose $1,906,205 in winnings leads all NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers at midseason, is one of five drivers who have an opportunity to capture the $1 million Winston No Bull 5 bonus with an Aug. 1 victory in the Brickyard 400.
In addition, Martin would be guaranteed of winning at least $306,050 as the winner of the Brickyard 400. Last year's winner, Ricky Rudd, scored $571,000 for his victory.
To top it all off, Martin also has a chance to clinch the International Race of Champions series title and the $225,000 that accompanies it with a good showing in the July 31 IROC race at Indy.
Simply put, Martin could win at least $1,531,050 if he sweeps both events. Realistically, his total winnings could approach $1.9 million with contingency and bonus awards. Either way, it would stand to be the most profitable weekend for any one driver in the history of motorsports.
"We could just about double the amount of money we've won in one weekend," Martin said. "The reality of it all is that this could be the greatest weekend of any driver's career. I'm trying not to think about it too much, though, because it might put a different spin on my preparation."
Martin, along with Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon, qualified for the Winston No Bull 5 at Indianapolis by virtue of his top-five finish in the Coca-Cola 600, the previous Winston No Bull 5 race.
Unlike his fellow Winston No Bull 5 competitors, Martin is a rookie at racing for a $1 million bonus. Labonte and Wallace are repeat qualifiers for the Winston No Bull 5, and Gordon and Jarrett both have had a shot at the Winston Million, the program that predated the Winston No Bull 5.
"The chances are excellent that we will run good," Martin said. "That's not to say that we have a great chance of winning. It's not a 50-50 chance like winning a football game. There's too many great teams out there for that to happen. For sure, there's not going to be another team out there that will work harder or be better prepared."
The nine-degree banking of Indianapolis Motor Speedway should be to Martin's liking. He's already scored victories at Las Vegas and California -- flat tracks featuring banking of 14 degrees or less. He's also picked up victories at Michigan, Texas and in The Winston at Charlotte.
His track record at Indianapolis has been one of the best among all NASCAR Winston Cup drivers. After finishing 35th in the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994, Martin has finished fifth, fourth and sixth the last three seasons.
"We had some pretty good testing days at Indianapolis this year," Martin said. "I'm satisfied with them, but I'm not as happy as I could be. We built two new cars, and one of them is going to be really good. We're working hard to get it even better. There's not really any pressure because this team can't work any harder than it has all season.
"The only thing left to do is get in the car and race. We'll see what we can do then, and I hope when it's over, we'll have a shot at that money."