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1999 Goody's 500

Race: Goody's Headache Powder 500 (Race No. 23)
Date: August 28, 1999
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Qualified: 26th
Finished: 1st
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 500 of 500
Points Pos. Before/After Race: 7/7
Points Earned: 180 (includes 5 bonus points)
Money Earned: $89,880


dot.gif (845 bytes) Listen in to Dale Earnhardt's postrace news conference (RealAudio)
dot.gif (845 bytes) See video clip of incident

dot.gif (845 bytes) Fan e-mails regarding the Bristol race

The Winds of Bristol  Aug. 29
Every season for the past 20 years, I've looked forward to this race. Bristol is the true race fan's track. It's exciting, edge of your seat, full contact NASCAR. Every race is filled with excitement and, more often than not, controversy. This one was definitely no exception. Full Report.

Classic Intimidator!
Earnhardt bumps, passes Labonte to win Bristol

Dale Earnhardt made a classic move on Terry Labonte during Saturday night's Goody's 500 to win his second race of the 1999 season. In turn 2 on the final lap of the race, Earnhardt closed in on Labonte to "rattle" him. Contact by Earnhardt sent Labonte spinning while Earnhardt ducked to the inside to take the win.

"Terry got into me in the middle of turns 3 and 4," Earnhardt said after climbing from his Chevrolet in Victory Lane. "I got back to him and I meant to rattle him. I didn't mean to wreck him, I just meant to rattle his cage a little bit."

The finish somewhat resembled the 1995 Goody's 500. In that race, Earnhardt, while in 2nd, bumped Labonte on the final lap, only Labonte held on to win that race, crossing the finish line spinning. This time, though, Earnhardt got by.

Earnhardt started the race from 26th position. Just 65 laps in, he cracked into the top-10. Because Dale pitted on the backstretch, it was hard for him to stay in the top-5.

During the sixth caution of 10 caution periods on lap 299, Labonte, driver of the Kellogg's Chevrolet, Earnhardt, Jimmy Spencer, in the Winston Ford, Geoffrey Bodine, in the Power Team Chevrolet and Ricky Rudd, in the Tide Ford, all elected not to pit, putting them in the top-5.

Earnhardt first took the lead with 121 laps left after moving around Terry Labonte.

He stayed up front until the caution came out on Lap 410 for Dave Marcis stopped, who's car was stopped high against the Turn 2 wall. When Marcis drove away after the caution came out, NASCAR thought Dave was cheating for Earnhardt. Since Marcis has often been helped in his racing efforts by Richard Childress, Earnhardt's car owner, suspicion arose that Marcis brought out the caution intentionally. NASCAR penalized him a lap for ``intentionally causing a caution,'' one that allowed the leaders to come in for a pit stop they would need soon anyway.

NASCAR said that Marcis claimed he stopped where he did because he couldn't get across the track to pit road, but NASCAR said he had ample chance to do so on the two laps he had been driving slowly before he stopped.

With Earnhardt pitting on the backstretch, he came out third behind Labonte and Gordon as the race restarted. Stewart made up some ground in the pits, too, and came out fourth.

Earnhardt passed Gordon on the outside coming off of turn 2 on lap 426 to move into second. Earnhardt took the lead back from Labonte on Lap 435 with a pass on the inside in turns 3 and 4, with Stewart closing in to make it a three-way battle.

But after loosing the lead to Terry Labonte with 57 laps left, it looked like Earnhardt's chances at winning were beginning to fade, as Terry began to pull away and Dale's tires were wearing out. Then, Labonte slowed down for a wreck ahead and was bumped and spun by Darrell Waltrip on lap 490. The caution came out for the spin and Terry pitted. He came back on the track with fresh tires and just a handful of laps left.

The green flag dropped with five laps to go. Labonte flew by Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and moved in to challenge Dale. The two bumped side-by-side for a lap, before Labonte passed Dale for the lead. That was when, in front of the crowd of over 140,000 ecstatic fans, Earnhardt sent Labonte spinning, again, this time in turn 2.

"It's tough racing at Bristol with 43 cars on the half mile track, said Earnhardt." If you're in the back of the pack on the start you have to make up half a lap from the get-go. Tempers usually flair up at Bristol and that's expected, everyone wants to get to the front and the only way to get there is make your own hole and go for it.

"What more can you say about Saturday night short track racing. It's where I started my career and learned how to handle a race car. Bristol has grown and it's a lot bigger than running at Metrolina or Concord like we did back then. It gives the race fans plenty of action and has been one of the toughest tickets to get on the schedule. I can understand why, because I wouldn't give up my seat for anybody and I'm sure the fans that are there feel the same way."

"We needed a good finish last week," said an excited Richard Childress. "We lost a little momentum at Watkins Glen, but turned that around on Sunday. It sure was good to see that car up front where it needs to be. I have to give credit to Dale and the entire team, we didn't start the weekend off fast, but we continued to work on the car and threw just about everything we had at it during "happy hour" and still weren't satisfied. Once we got to racing, Dale found his way around that track and was giving those guys a lesson on driving. It was great to see. He can do it, he's as good as ever; we just needed to get the car to turn for him."

Labonte was understandably upset following the race, even after Earnhardt established that his move on Labonte was not intended.

``The 66 turned me around,'' Labonte said in regard to his first spin. ``He wrecked me and I got new tires, then I came back out and got wrecked again. It was just wasn't my night.''

When told Earnhardt had said he didn't mean to take Labonte out, the answer was a terse one. ``He never has any intention of taking anybody out,'' Labonte said.

NASCAR officials reviewed videotape of the collision from several angles and elected to let the race results stand.

"When you're trying to draw the line in regard to winning races, you need to have something more absolute than what we had," said Kevin Triplett, the sanctioning body's operations director.

Labonte said he considered complaining to NASCAR officials but elected against it.

"I wouldn't even waste my time to go down to the trailer and talk to them about it. I've been there before," Labonte said, adding that he would seek justice in his own fashion.

"He better tighten his belts up," Labonte said.

Jimmy Spencer got through the wreck to finish second behind Earnhardt, with Ricky Rudd third and Gordon fourth. Stewart, who dominated the first half of the event, was fifth.

Spencer gave Earnhardt a little tap in the bumper on the cool down lap after the checkered flag, either as a sign his of anger or as a symbol of joy.

Earnhardt led a total of 47 laps in the race, and the victory was his ninth at Bristol Motor Speedway. His win seems more impressive when taken into consideration that he started 26th and pitted on the backstretch.

To many, Earnhardt's move to get back into the lead on the last lap was just all in a night's racing at Bristol Motor Speedway. To others, the move was unquestionably foul. But hell, they don't call him the "Intimidator" for nothing!

Congratulations to Dale Earnhardt and the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing team for winning the race. If our Lowe's team can't win, we want our RCR teammates to. - Mike Skinner

Same scene, different results at Bristol  Aug. 28
You don't head past the checkers backward and into Victory Lane at Bristol more than once. Terry Labonte and Dale Earnhardt helped prove that Saturday. Full Story.

Earnhardt gets an unpopular victory  Aug. 29
In recent years, Dale Earnhardt has left some Winston Cup fans wondering if he has lost his competitive edge. On Saturday night, many of them questioned whether he had too much. Full Story.

Stewart learns tough lesson from the master  Aug. 28
Tony Stewart, the rookie that everyone says isn't really a rookie, got a couple of lessons about NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing Saturday under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway. Stewart faced one of the toughest tasks in all of racing: getting around Dale Earnhardt when the Intimidator smells a win. Full Story.

Driver quotes from Bristol  Aug. 29
Drivers in Saturday night's Goody's 500 had several takes on the last lap wreck between Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte, which allowed Earnhardt to win the race. Here is a sampling:

Bobby Hamilton
''Anybody can win like that. Earnhardt wouldn't have won from the back straight if he hadn't run over the man. It's that simple.''

Jeff Gordon
``Earnhardt just took Terry right out. That's all I saw. It's a shame. Terry had the car to beat there, and he should have won the race.''

Terry Labonte
``I wouldn't even waste my time to go down to the (NASCAR) trailer and talk to them about it. I've been there before. (Earnhardt) better tighten his belts up.''

Sterling Marlin
``It was just racing. That's what you would have done I guess. If they get together again, I'd say Earnhardt's got him a neck stretching coming.''

Dale Earnhardt
``We'll have to see whether he punches me out or won't talk to me or just waits to the next race or whatever. We'll just have to wait and see. I can apologize to him all day long and that's not going to change what happened.''

Ricky Rudd
``There are certain guys you race with will race you clean. The guy that spun Terry is not one of those guys. But you've got to think of that when you've got to pass him. You can't give him that opportunity. You can't give him that free shot.''

Earnhardt qualifies 26th in Bristol  Aug. 27
Dale Earnhardt qualified a disappointing 26th today in Bud Pole Qualifying for Saturday night's Goody's 500 in Bristol. Earnhardt will have to pit on the backstretch pits during the race as only the top 21 qualifiers can fit onto the frontstretch pits. Dale Jarrett and Jeff Burton will also have to pit on the backstretch after they too qualified worse than 21st. The race begins at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.


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