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NASCAR fan wins $75.6M lottery jackpot

Mega MillionsMega Millions: NASCAR fan wins $75.6M lottery jackpot

RICHMOND, Va. — The start of 2009 was not a good one for Joe Denette.

The Thornburg man was laid off in January from his job at Brookfield Homes, where he had worked as a service technician for the last seven years. A message he posted on his Facebook page said it all: "You don't work, you don't eat."

But that didn't stop him from participating in two of his cherished hobbies--watching NASCAR races and playing the lottery.

His luck began to change when he won four tickets to the May 2 NASCAR race in Richmond in a radio contest.

And his whole life changed the day of the race, when he found out he was holding a lottery ticket worth $75.6 million.

Denette, 47, matched all six numbers in the May 1 Mega Millions drawing, winning the third-largest prize in Virginia Lottery history. He opted for a cash buyout worth $47.8 million instead of taking the full jackpot over 26 years.

In that Mega Millions drawing, three winning lottery tickets from California, Ohio, and Virginia equally shared the $227 million jackpot.

"It's unreal," he said at a news conference in Richmond yesterday. "It couldn't have come at a better time."

When Denette realized he had won the money, he had to make a decision about what to do with his race tickets and his winning lottery ticket.

So what did he do?

He signed the lottery ticket and handed it over to his mother for safekeeping.

"She asked me where I was going, and I said the race," he recounted yesterday.

After securing an attorney and financial guidance, Denette picked up his big check from the Virginia Lottery yesterday.

Lottery officials also helped fulfill another one of his dreams. He rode a few laps around the track at Richmond International Raceway with Hermie Sadler, a NASCAR driver and commentator and brother of driver Elliot Sadler.

"This is the best thing that has happened to me," Denette said.

He bought the winning ticket at Joyful Convenience Market on Mudd Tavern Road in Thornburg. The store receives a $50,000 retailer bonus for selling the winning ticket.

The winning numbers were 9, 16, 24, 40, 43 and the Mega Ball number was 35. Denette said they were randomly chosen by the computer.

"I used to hate computers," Denette told lottery officials. "Not anymore."

Store manager Bruce Park sold the winning ticket to Denette, who Park said is a regular customer.

"I feel like a lucky guy to sell him the winning ticket," Park said. "But I wish I had played those numbers."

Denette, who said he spends about $23 a week buying tickets, has been playing the lottery for at least 20 years. He plans to continue that practice. He had a ticket in his pocket yesterday that he had bought that morning.

He hasn't decided how to spend the money yet. But the options are limitless since he is single and has no children.

Denette's life to this point has been that of, well, an average Joe. He likes working in the yard, building things and enjoying life, he said.

He said he'll probably use his newfound wealth to go to more races. He also said he has turned off his cell phone, and he knows who his real friends are.

But Denette, who has been unemployed for four months, said being a multimillionaire still hasn't sunk in.

"One day you don't have a job, the next day you don't have to worry about a job," he said. "You never know."

Joe Denette of Spotsylvania County won a $75.6 million share of the Virginia Lottery's Mega Millions jackpot from the May 1 drawing. He's taking the payout of $47.8 million in cash and accepted the check yesterday.
Joe Denette of Spotsylvania County won a $75.6 million share of the Virginia Lottery's Mega Millions jackpot from the May 1 drawing. He's taking the payout of $47.8 million in cash and accepted the check yesterday.

Accepting a check yesterday at the Richmond International Raceway for $75.6 million in lottery winnings, Joe Denette of Spotsylvania County reached into his pocket and showed that he had purchased a ticket for last night's drawing.
Accepting a check yesterday at the Richmond International Raceway for $75.6 million in lottery winnings, Joe Denette of Spotsylvania County reached into his pocket and showed that he had purchased a ticket for last night's drawing.

Thanks to hearsetrax for the tip.

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29 comments. Last comment 8 years ago by Surge.
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Trained2beRich's avatar - home
Houston,TX
United States
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March 13, 2006
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Posted: May 13, 2009, 9:58 am - IP Logged

wow...I wonder how many people want to be his friend on facebook.  I find it ironic...
"you dont work...you dont eat" but you spend $23 a week on tickets...i hope thats when he was working...anyways congrats to him...

    JAP69's avatar - alas
    South Carolina
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    November 4, 2001
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    Posted: May 13, 2009, 10:07 am - IP Logged

    wow...I wonder how many people want to be his friend on facebook.  I find it ironic...
    "you dont work...you dont eat" but you spend $23 a week on tickets...i hope thats when he was working...anyways congrats to him...

                                     "He hasn't decided how to spend the money yet"

    He is a nascar fan. I see more and more race teams with no sponsors this year. Maybe drop 50 thou here and there to help some of the teams.

    Gotta be careful sponsoring though. Nascar racing can be veerrrrry expensive.

    MAGA

      Think's avatar - lightbulb
      Marquette, MI
      United States
      Member #20541
      August 20, 2005
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      Posted: May 13, 2009, 11:03 am - IP Logged

      Wow, 47.8 million dollars! That can buy a whole bunch of lottery tickets!  durrrrrrrrr-

      "Denette, who said he spends about $23 a week buying tickets, has been playing the lottery for at least 20 years. He plans to continue that practice. He had a ticket in his pocket yesterday that he had bought that morning."

        hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

        United States
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        May 21, 2007
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        Posted: May 13, 2009, 11:35 am - IP Logged

        wow...I wonder how many people want to be his friend on facebook.  I find it ironic...
        "you dont work...you dont eat" but you spend $23 a week on tickets...i hope thats when he was working...anyways congrats to him...

         Roll Eyes I hope the putz ends up on our wall of what not to do when ya hit the lotto

          Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
          Chief Bottle Washer
          New Jersey
          United States
          Member #1
          May 31, 2000
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          Posted: May 13, 2009, 11:48 am - IP Logged

          Why is he a putz?

           

          Check the State Lottery Report Card
          What grade did your lottery earn?

           

          Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
          Help eliminate computerized drawings!

            JackpotWanna's avatar - squiz

            United States
            Member #4121
            March 23, 2004
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            Posted: May 13, 2009, 12:11 pm - IP Logged

            Wow! $75 Million is a life changer!  WTG!

             

            Party

              konane's avatar - wallace
              Atlanta, GA
              United States
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              March 13, 2003
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              Posted: May 13, 2009, 12:20 pm - IP Logged

              Congratulations big time to him!!!!  Good luck to him, hope he wins another huge jackpot!!!!!

              Good luck to everyone!

                spy153's avatar - maren

                United States
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                December 15, 2005
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                Posted: May 13, 2009, 12:42 pm - IP Logged

                47?   That's a good age.  Old enough to know what to do and young enough to enjoy it.  I wish him lots of fun!  He seems like a fairly intelligent guy there, his win will be fun to watch how he spends it.  I like it when people win and I think they are going to be alright with it. 

                That said, I have to wonder if something isn't wrong with someone who seems perfect on the surface and isn't marrried or has no children yet.   At that age, he should have at least two or three running around somewhere.  He seems normal enough.  (likes to work out in the yard, enjoys building things.... two very good qualities.)

                Here in the south, we are all pretty much taught that aren't we?  ("you don't work, you don't eat")  Never stopped me from playing either.

                voir-vous dans mes reves!Cool

                  HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                  United States
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                  March 18, 2009
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                  Posted: May 13, 2009, 1:50 pm - IP Logged

                  This strange phenomenon always makes me wonder why double-digit, multi-million NETTING jackpot winners buy more tickets.  Is it addicted habit or greed? As far as I know, NOBODY has won a double-digit, multi-million netting jackpot MORE than once in their lifetime!

                  Perhaps these folks merely buy the additional ticket to hold up for publicity purposes; because they think that it would be some sort of insult during the lottery headquarters forced publicity interview to publicly say that it is both greedy and statistically improbable to attempt to win any more jackpots, and besides that this person thinks that these high jackpots should go to additional people.

                  Turkey

                  Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

                  Disney

                    JackpotWanna's avatar - squiz

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                    Posted: May 13, 2009, 1:55 pm - IP Logged

                    He sure does talk the talk, but can he walk the walk (Handle the money wisely).   I thnk the trick is getting as many advisors as you can to avoid the foolishness in new found windfall mindset.

                      ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
                      Idaho
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                      Posted: May 13, 2009, 2:32 pm - IP Logged

                      47?   That's a good age.  Old enough to know what to do and young enough to enjoy it.  I wish him lots of fun!  He seems like a fairly intelligent guy there, his win will be fun to watch how he spends it.  I like it when people win and I think they are going to be alright with it. 

                      That said, I have to wonder if something isn't wrong with someone who seems perfect on the surface and isn't marrried or has no children yet.   At that age, he should have at least two or three running around somewhere.  He seems normal enough.  (likes to work out in the yard, enjoys building things.... two very good qualities.)

                      Here in the south, we are all pretty much taught that aren't we?  ("you don't work, you don't eat")  Never stopped me from playing either.

                      Maybe I am reading you wrong, but why must something be wrong with someone just because they aren't married or because they don't have children? Not everyone wants that. I am not married at the moment and have no plans for children and lots of people feel the same way. That doesn't mean there is something wrong with us.

                      "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

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                        Posted: May 13, 2009, 2:46 pm - IP Logged

                        Why is he a putz?

                        There's certainly an awfully good argument that somebody who's spending $23 a week on lottery tickets and is out of work isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, or has trouble with impulse (or irrational) spending.  Of course the article isn't clear enough to be sure that he was still spending that much after he lost his job. That he talked with a lawyer and got financial advise before rushing out to claim the prize suggests that he'll be okay.

                          grandpajohn's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                          williamsburg,ohio
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                          February 17, 2009
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                          Posted: May 13, 2009, 2:55 pm - IP Logged

                          Just because the man was out of a job doesn't mean he was totally broke.With him not being married and no kids maybe he was smart enough to save his money?I have a brother who is 45 who isn't married and no kids and a great job and is real tight on his money and has his own home and some adut toys and takes nice vacations.I know $23 a week for him wouldn't hurt him if he was playing the lottery even if he lost his job.So maybe this guy was like him?Now he can go to more Nascar races with his winnings.I want to be his friend.LOL

                          "Don't Give Up.Don't Ever Give Up"

                          Jim Valvano ex N.C.State basketball coach Thumbs Up

                            JackpotWanna's avatar - squiz

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                            Posted: May 13, 2009, 3:11 pm - IP Logged

                            I want $75 Million too! :(