Big Daytona payout includes bonus for leader at halfway

NASCAR has announced that the Daytona 500 will have a largest-ever payout of $19 million, with the winner getting at least $1.4 million. That's nice and all, even though you and I probably won't see a nickel of it.

However, here's the cool element: there will be a $200,000 bonus for the leader at halfway, Lap 100. The idea is that it'll reward drivers who actually race rather than running in the back of the pack until there are 20 laps remaining. This should add another element of life into the traditional ride-around portion of the race, particularly if NASCAR's efforts to disrupt tandem driving don't work as well as hoped.

Conspiracy-defusing note: If Lap 100 is under caution, the bonus will be deferred until the race goes green, and it'll then go to the driver who's leading the fifth lap after the race goes green.

The "Daytona 500 Mid-Race Leader Award" doesn't yet have a sponsor, but you can bet it will by race day. That would be February 26, for those of you keeping score.

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