2002 Points Fund Money Won
and Post Season Awards:
- NASCAR Winston Cup Champ Stewart Gets $4.3 Million From Fund: 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart received $4,305,607 in point fund money Friday night at the series' annual awards ceremony, held for the first time at the Hammerstein Ballroom in the Manhattan Center. That amount - which included a $3.75 million contribution from series sponsor R.J. Reynolds - brought Stewart's season winnings total to $9,163,761 and his career total to $20,937,721. This is the second-highest season winnings total for a NASCAR Winston Cup champion. The record belongs to Jeff Gordon, who won $9,306,584 in 1998 (Although the NASCAR Preview and Press Guide has Gordon's total in 2001 as $10.8 million). This season's second-, third- and fourth-place finishers also received point-fund payouts exceeding $1 million. Series runner-up Mark Martin received $1,721,988; third-place finisher Kurt Busch received $1,304,348; fourth-place finisher Gordon received $1,086,707. The point fund totaled $16,373,084 and included all fines collected by NASCAR during the 2002 season.
For the sake of perspective regarding Stewart's winnings, consider: Only 20 years ago, in the 1983 season, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series' top 50 drivers' combined season winnings didn't match up to Stewart's 2002 total. Only 15 years ago, in the 1988 season, the top 10 drivers' combined winnings were less than Stewart's total. It took a three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, Darrell Waltrip, 18 years of competition to reach the $10 million mark in career winnings.(NASCAR PR)(12-7-2002)
- Awards Handed Out: Several other yearlong contingency awards were handed out at Friday's breakfast:
--Bud Pole Award: For the most poles in the season, with $100,000 going to rookie of the year Ryan Newman.
--Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: A $77,000 award to Mark Cronquist, the lead engine builder for Joe Gibbs Racing. Second place, worth $20,000, went to Larry Wallace of Newman's No. 12 team. Third, worth $10,000, went to Rick Wetzel of Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet team.
--Gatorade Front-Runner Award: A check for $75,000 was awarded to Jeff Gordon.
--Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year Award: Selected by a vote of the circuit's crew chiefs, the winners from Sterling Marlin's No. 40 team at Chip Ganassi Racing won $75,000.
--Outback Steakhouses Bloomin' Favorite Award: Kurt Busch of the No. 97 Roush Racing Fords won the $75,000 prize.
--Waste Management Picking up Places Award: Matt Kenseth of the No. 17 Fords owned by Roush Racing collected $75,000.
--76 Motor Oil Award: Jeff Green's No. 30 team at Richard Childress Racing won $76,000.
--76 Champion's Fuel Award: A check for $76,000 was given to Stewart and his No. 20 team at Joe Gibbs Racing.(ThatsRacin.com)(12-6-2002)