There are two very useful forms of promotion through money. One is to pay someone an exorbitant amount of money. The other is to offer to pay an exorbitant amount of money. A recent example of the latter is the twenty million dollar bonus to any driver who wins both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same weekend. As the odds of anyone ever pulling off such a feat are so slim (particularly as no one is attempting the double this year) there?s very little risk in offering so much money.
A historical example of this was the Winston Million. In 1985, Winston won some easy headlines for NASCAR by offering up one million dollars (two million dollars when you factor in twenty-five years of inflation) for winning the prestigious races. Winston only had to make payouts twice in twelve years and used the speculation of sportswriters as advertising. It?s a classic ?carrot on a stick? scenario. Sprint would be wise to bring back a ?grand slam? payout (substituting Indianapolis for Darlington of course), but they should increase to prize money to five million dollars for winning three out of four and ten million for winning all four in a season.
Finally there?s the matter of paying five million dollars to any ringer that wins the IndyCar season finale this year. The fact that so few would take up the offer is compounded by the fact that so few actually have a chance at winning an IndyCar race on an oval if their cars aren?t prepared by Ganassi or Penske. But on the other hand, people like me just got suckered into throwing out some sweet publicity.
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