UAW Daimler/Chrysler 400 Festivities Kick off with NO BULL 5 Parings

by Dave Yaeck
March 1, 2002

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Scenes from No Bull 5
Photos by Dave Yaeck

The NASCAR Winston Cup weekend in Las Vegas started on Thursday afternoon with the pairings for this weekends NO BULL 5 portion of the UAW Daimler/Chrysler 400. The pairings took place at the luxurious Mandalay Bay Hotel, home of the show STORM.

They first started the show with a little tease of the multi-cultural musical. Then the drivers that are eligible for the one million dollar bonus were introduced. The drivers that are going to be participating are last weeks winner at the rock, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Hamilton, Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. These drivers were the top 5 finishers of the last NO BULL 5 race, last October at the EA Sports 500 at Talladega. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won 1 million dollars at that race along with making one fan very rich.

Before the pairings got underway, it was announced that there would be a new type of trophy given to the winner of the race. It’s a boxing like championship belt. Since this will now be the standard for this race yearly, I spoke to a rep from ISC and she shared with me that the winners from the previous Winston Cup races held at LVMS will be getting a belt just like the one that will be given to the winner on Sunday.

The format for the parings involved a game of blackjack with the 5 drivers. The rules were that each driver was given 50 million dollars in special chips that they could play through 5 hands of blackjack and the driver with the most money after the 5 hands would be paired with the #1 fan and so on and so on all the way down to the #5 driver/fan paring.

In hand #1 nobody beat the dealer, hand #2 Tony Stewart was the only one to win. Hand #3 nobody won but Bobby Hamilton pushed his hand with the dealer. Hand #4, everyone won their hand but Tony Stewart busted. The final hand was rather long, there were 2 misdeals by the dealer but after the hand was done, the only person who lost again was Tony Stewart. Matter of fact, he went bust so he ended up being the number 5 driver. The number 4 driver in the parings went to Jeff Burton. Number 3 went to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #2 and #1 was determined by a extra hand between Matt Kenseth and Bobby Hamilton, with Matt Kenseth taking the top spot.

After the Blackjack Tournament, the media was treated to a 25-minute interview session with the 5 drivers. I got a chance to talk to Tony Stewart and I asked him, “With Daytona Behind him and a strong run at the rock, are you more focused on your quest for the Winston Cup Title?” Tony told me that “If I honestly said that we were more focused, then we did something wrong the first two races. We were focused from the time we showed up at Daytona and it was just a situation were we had a bad week at Daytona and you gotta just throw it out and forget about it we did that and we went on to Rockingham and had a good run, and now that race is over with and gotta get that out of our heads and put 100 percent of our interests into looking at Las Vegas and not thinking about the first 2 races and just push forward and worry about the task at hand.” He also shared how excited he was about this race and the fact that RJ Reynolds puts up this bonus “It’s something that the Home Depot team can go out and work hard for plus possibly making a fans dream come true makes it all the more special.”

Just by listening to all the participants involved, talking about the NO BULL 5 program, I see that this gives a little added bonus to go out and try for. I could tell that they were all excited about the chance at a little extra cash, but then again, who wouldn’t.

The author can be contacted nascar@autoracing1.com

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