1998 NAPA 500

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1998 NAPA 500
Race details[1]
Race 33 of 33 in the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Atlanta Motor Speedway (1997-present configuration)
Atlanta Motor Speedway (1997-present configuration)
Date November 8, 1998 (1998-November-08)
Official name NAPA 500
Location Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Georgia
Course Permanent racing facility
1.54 mi (2.502 km)
Distance 221 laps, 340.34 mi (547.72 km)
Average speed 114.915 miles per hour (184.938 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Robert Yates Racing
Time 28.657 seconds
Most laps led
Driver Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports
Laps 113
Winner
No. 24 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network ESPN
Announcers Bob Jenkins
Benny Parsons
Ned Jarrett

The 1998 NAPA 500 was the 33rd and final championship event of the 1998 season of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, held on November 8, 1998, at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Won by series champion Jeff Gordon, the race was delayed both before its start and twice during the race due to rain showers, causing it to be shortened to 221 laps from its scheduled distance of 325 laps.

Background

Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of ten intermediate to hold NASCAR races; the others are Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Homestead Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway.[2] The standard track at Atlanta Motor Speedway is a four-turn quad-oval track that is 1.54 miles (2.48 km) long.[3] The track's turns are banked at twenty-four degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, and the back stretch are banked at five.[3] The scheduled race distance was 325 laps, totalling 500.5 miles (805.5 km).[4]

Going into the race, Jeff Gordon had clinched the 1998 Winston Cup Series championship the previous weekend at North Carolina Motor Speedway, winning the AC Delco 400 for his 12th win of the season.[5] Rookie driver Harris DeVane, a regular on the ARCA Racing Series, attempted to make his Winston Cup Series debut at the event.[6]

The support race for the event, run on Saturday afternoon, was a 102-lap event sanctioned by the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series; Mike Swaim Jr. was the winner of the race.[7]

Qualifying

Race polesitter Kenny Irwin Jr.

Series rookie Kenny Irwin Jr., driving the No. 28 Ford Taurus for Robert Yates Racing, led 48 drivers in qualifying on Friday, November 6, winning his first pole position in the Winston Cup Series. Irwin's qualifying time was 193.461 miles per hour (311.345 km/h). Ward Burton qualified second in the No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Pontiac; Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, and Mike Skinner filled out the remainder of the top five positions in qualifying; the top 25 drivers in the session were locked into the field,[5] with Ted Musgrave as the 25th and final driver guaranteed a starting spot at the end of the first day of time trials.[8]

Second round qualifying, to set starting positions 26th through 36th on the grid, was held on Saturday, November 7. Gary Bradberry set the fastest time in the session at a speed of 189.922 miles per hour (305.650 km/h); he had crashed in the first round of qualifying, and was forced to use a backup car for the rest of the race weekend.[9] The only other driver to make an attempt in second round qualifying and move into the top 36 positions, qualifying for the race, was Kevin Lepage, whose time placed him 31st overall.[9]

Dale Earnhardt, Terry Labonte, Ricky Craven, Johnny Benson Jr., Kyle Petty, and Rusty Wallace were forced to take provisional starting positions to start the race.[5] Darrell Waltrip received a provisional as a past series champion and started 43rd; it was the 20th provisional he had used over the course of the season, resulting in a change to eligibility rules for the 1999 series season.[7] Failing to qualify for the race were Rick Mast, Rich Bickle, Steve Grissom, Andy Hillenburg, and Harris DeVane; DeVane was injured in a crash on his qualifying lap and had to be cut from his car, being taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure.[9]

Race

The start of the race, scheduled for 12:40PM, was delayed 49 minutes due to rain.[10] During the race two additional red flags for rain caused delays of 6 hours and 39 minutes.[10] The delays resulted in the race being the first night race held at the speedway.[10] Due to the delays, during a yellow flag thrown on lap 190 to allow teams to pit under caution on the still-damp pit road, NASCAR announced that once the race resumed, there would be only 25 laps remaining from that point,[10] citing a desire for fans to be able to return home at a safe hour; the race concluded at 11:07pm, a crowd of 50,000 having remained to watch the race to its conclusion.[11]

From a starting position of 21st, Gordon led 113 of the race's 221 laps;[10] he beat Dale Jarrett for the race win by 0.739 second.[1] His victory, the 13th on the season, tied Richard Petty for the most wins by a driver in a single season.[12] Including the rain delays, there were a total of five caution periods during the race, with 68 laps being run under the yellow flag. Gordon's average speed was 114.915 miles per hour (184.938 km/h), and he received $164,450 for the victory.[13]

Gordon's career victory total stood at 42 after the race; at the time, he was the youngest driver to pass 40 career wins, and the youngest to win a third series title.[14] Gordon topped Mark Martin for the series title by 364 points; Irwin was named the series' Rookie of the Year immediately following the race, beating Kevin Lepage by 14 rookie points.[7]

While the race was the final points event of the season for the Winston Cup Series, an exhibition race at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan was held two weeks later,[15] won by Mike Skinner over Gordon.[16]

Results

Qualifying

No. Driver Team Manufacturer Time Speed Grid
28 Kenny Irwin, Jr. # Robert Yates Racing Ford 28.657 193.461 1
22 Ward Burton Bill Davis Racing Pontiac 28.666 193.400 2
88 Dale Jarrett Robert Yates Racing Ford 28.713 193.083 3
6 Mark Martin Roush Racing Ford 28.858 192.113 4
31 Mike Skinner Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 28.859 192.106 5
30 Derrike Cope Bahari Racing Pontiac 28.886 191.927 6
18 Bobby Labonte Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac 28.936 191.595 7
90 Dick Trickle Donlavey Racing Ford 28.940 191.569 8
12 Jeremy Mayfield Penske-Kranefuss Racing Ford 28.950 191.503 10
42 Joe Nemechek Team Sabco Chevrolet 28.999 191.179 11
46 Jeff Green Team Sabco Chevrolet 29.028 190.988 12
33 Ken Schrader Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet 29.041 190.903 13
4 Bobby Hamilton Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet 29.101 190.509 14
11 Brett Bodine Brett Bodine Racing Ford 29.112 190.437 15
41 David Green Larry Hedrick Motorsports Chevrolet 29.114 190.424 16
1 Steve Park # Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 29.158 190.136 17
2 Rusty Wallace Penske Racing South Ford 29.177 190.013 18
9 Jerry Nadeau # Melling Racing Ford 29.180 189.993 19
91 Todd Bodine LJ Racing Chevrolet 29.180 189.993 20
24 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 29.182 189.980 21
97 Chad Little Roush Racing Ford 29.220 189.733 22
23 Jimmy Spencer Travis Carter Enterprises Ford 29.230 189.668 23
40 Sterling Marlin Team Sabco Chevrolet 29.233 189.649 24
13 Ted Musgrave Elliott-Marino Racing Ford 29.250 189.538 25
78 Gary Bradberry Triad Motorsports Ford 29.191 189.922 26‡
94 Bill Elliott Bill Elliott Racing Ford 29.257 189.493 27
21 Michael Waltrip Wood Brothers Racing Ford 29.261 189.467 28
50 Wally Dallenbach, Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 29.265 189.441 29
71 Dave Marcis Marcis Auto Racing Chevrolet 29.273 189.390 30
16 Kevin Lepage # Roush Racing Ford 29.284 189.318 31
8 Morgan Shepherd Stavola Brothers Racing Chevrolet 29.302 189.202 32
77 Robert Pressley Jasper Motorsports Ford 29.311 189.144 33
10 Ricky Rudd Rudd Performance Motorsports Ford 29.314 189.125 34
99 Jeff Burton Roush Racing Ford 29.322 189.073 35
43 John Andretti Petty Enterprises Pontiac 29.340 188.957 36
3 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Provisional
37
5 Terry Labonte Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Provisional
38
36 Ricky Craven MB2 Motorsports Pontiac
Provisional
39
26 Johnny Benson, Jr. Roush Racing Ford
Provisional
40
44 Kyle Petty PE2 Pontiac
Provisional
41
81 Kenny Wallace FILMAR Racing Ford
Provisional
42
35 Darrell Waltrip Tyler Jet Motorsports Pontiac
Past Champion
43
Failed to Qualify
75 Rick Mast RahMoc Enterprises Ford 29.356 188.854
98 Rich Bickle Cale Yarborough Racing T-Bird 29.477 188.079
96 Steve Grissom American Equipment Racing Chevrolet 29.935 185.201
80 Andy Hillenburg Hover Motorsports Ford 30.298 182.982
08 Harris DeVane Highland Timber Racing Chevrolet
Crash
# Rookie of the Year candidate / ‡ Fastest second round qualifier
Source:[17]

Race results

Pos Grid No. Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Points
1 21 24 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 221 1852
2 3 88 Dale Jarrett Robert Yates Racing Ford 221 1751
3 4 6 Mark Martin Roush Racing Ford 221 165
4 35 99 Jeff Burton Roush Racing Ford 221 160
5 20 91 Todd Bodine LJ Racing Chevrolet 221 155
6 14 4 Bobby Hamilton Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet 221 150
7 13 33 Ken Schrader Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet 221 146
8 38 5 Terry Labonte Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 221 142
9 5 31 Mike Skinner Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 221 1431
10 10 7 Geoff Bodine Geoff Bodine Racing Ford 221 134
11 22 97 Chad Little Roush Racing Ford 221 130
12 8 90 Dick Trickle Donlavey Racing Ford 221 127
13 37 3 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 221 124
14 2 22 Ward Burton Bill Davis Racing Pontiac 2210 1261
15 9 12 Jeremy Mayfield Penske-Kranefuss Racing Ford 221 118
16 1 28 Kenny Irwin Jr. # Robert Yates Racing Ford 221 1201
17 17 1 Steve Park # Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 221 112
18 31 16 Kevin Lepage # Roush Racing Ford 221 109
19 25 13 Ted Musgrave Elliott-Marino Racing Ford 221 106
20 18 2 Rusty Wallace Penske Racing South Ford 221 103
21 23 23 Jimmy Spencer Travis Carter Enterprises Ford 221 100
22 28 21 Michael Waltrip Wood Brothers Racing Ford 221 97
23 40 26 Johnny Benson Jr. Roush Racing Ford 221 94
24 34 10 Ricky Rudd Rudd Performance Motorsports Ford 221 91
25 39 36 Ricky Craven MB2 Motorsports Pontiac 221 88
26 27 94 Bill Elliott Bill Elliott Racing Ford 221 85
27 30 71 Dave Marcis Marcis Auto Racing Chevrolet 221 871
28 33 77 Robert Pressley Jasper Motorsports Ford 221 79
29 41 44 Kyle Petty PE2 Pontiac 221 76
30 6 30 Derrike Cope Bahari Racing Pontiac 221 73
31 15 11 Brett Bodine Brett Bodine Racing Ford 221 751
32 36 43 John Andretti Petty Enterprises Pontiac 221 721
33 26 78 Gary Bradberry Triad Motorsports Ford 219 64
34 42 81 Kenny Wallace FILMAR Racing Ford 218 61
35 29 50 Wally Dallenbach Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 218 58
36 12 46 Jeff Green Team Sabco Chevrolet 216 55
37 19 9 Jerry Nadeau # Melling Racing Ford 217 52
38 43 35 Darrell Waltrip Tyler Jet Motorsports Pontiac 213 49
39 32 8 Morgan Shepherd Stavola Brothers Racing Chevrolet 197 46
40 11 42 Joe Nemechek Team Sabco Chevrolet 179 43
41 16 41 David Green Larry Hedrick Motorsports Chevrolet 155 40
42 24 40 Sterling Marlin Team Sabco Chevrolet 139 37
43 7 18 Bobby Labonte Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac 134 34
1 Includes five bonus points for leading a lap
2 Includes ten bonus points for leading the most laps

References

  1. ^ a b c "1998 Official Race Results : NAPA 500". NASCAR.com. Turner Sports. Archived from the original on 2004-01-11. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  2. ^ "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "NASCAR Tracks—The Atlanta Motor Speedway". Atlanta Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  4. ^ Nicholson, John (November 5, 1998). "Auto Racing Glance". Las Vegas Sun. Las Vegas, NV. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  5. ^ a b c "Kenny Irwin on pole at Atlanta". UPI. November 7, 1998. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  6. ^ Adamczyk, Jay (October 21, 1998). "JAYSKI'S SILLY SEASON SITE: PAST NEWS OCTOBER 19-25, 1998". Jayski's Silly Season Site. ESPN. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  7. ^ a b c Pierce, Al (November 10, 1998). "Motorsports Notes: Irwin Proves Best Of Rookie Crop". Daily Press. Newport News, VA. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  8. ^ "Atlanta Friday Qualifying Results". Motorsport.com. November 6, 1998. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  9. ^ a b c "Bradberry first on second day; Grissom fails to make field". The Anniston Star. Anniston, AL. November 8, 1998. p. 27.
  10. ^ a b c d e "NAPA 500; Gordon Ends Year With 13th Victory". The New York Times. New York. November 9, 1998. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  11. ^ "Gordon reigns over Atlanta, NASCAR". The Index-Journal. Greenwood, SC. November 9, 1998. p. 3B.
  12. ^ "Jeff Gordon's King of The World". CBS News. CBS Interactive. November 10, 1998. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  13. ^ "1998 NAPA 500". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media Group. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  14. ^ Hinton, Ed (November 16, 1998). "Inside Motor Sports". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  15. ^ "Atlanta Post Race Notes". Motorsport.com. November 8, 1998. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  16. ^ "Gordon falls to Skinner". The Augusta Chronicle. Augusta, GA. November 23, 1998. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  17. ^ "Atlanta Starting Grid". Motorsport.com. November 7, 1998. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
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