The White Flag writes:
"2000 Winston 500--10 Years Later"
Posted by Cooper on October 26, 2010
Viewed 522 times
Time flies by doesn't it? Whether it be racing or life, time can escape the minds of individuals to the point you ask "It was that Long Ago?". The date was October 15th, 2000, George Bush had yet taken office in the United States, Society was only 10 months removed from the "Y2K frenzy" and life seemed so simple. No troubles, No worries and for NASCAR fans it was a joyous time. NASCAR had officially made it. FOX and NBC announced it would pay millions of dollars to show all events for the 2001 NASCAR season and beyond. No one ever imagined that NASCAR, a local sport for so long would become the second most spectated sport in the US. And for NASCAR it couldn't of happened at a better time...
Jeff Gordon, their new star was in his prime. Dale Sr. had finally rebounded from some off years to finally return to form. His son Dale Jr. was the new kid expected to take the shoes of his father and etch his own place in history. Sponsorships were booming and the racing was spectacular. With names like Jarrett, Labonte, Wallace, Stewart, and Burton. And on October 15th Talladega and NASCAR put on a show that no one thought was popular with the recent debacles of the restrictor plate. In 2000 NASCAR had made a lot of adjustments to the restrictor plates and handling of the cars at the superspeedways. The Daytona 500 was junk and so was the 400. The first Talladega race was better but left alot to be desired after an 18 car wreck watered the field down. So NASCAR made a decision to loosen up the abilities of the cars at Talladega by introducing a new aero package that let the cars accelerate better and draft better. And man did it work!
Front Row Joe lived up to his name, sitting on the pole for the 6th time of his career in the #33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet. The surprise of the qualifying session was the 9th place run of 59 year old Dave Marcis. Dave would go on to lead lap two of the event and that would be the last ever lap lead for the NASCAR Veteran. The race in total had 49 lead changes at the line, the most since 1989 at Talladega. No one driver led for more than 40 laps as that honour went to Bill Elliott. In total 21 different drivers led a lap, including 4 different drivers to lead with 5 to go to the finish. There was no big accident on the day, showing that the drivers could handle the more aggresive package NASCAR gave them. It was one of the most excting races in NASCAR history and the finish left the fans in awe...
With 5 laps to go, The Intimidator was sitting in the 18th position. All hope was lossed for Dale, as no one had ever made a comeback that large in auto racing history. Dale though, more determined than ever started to creep his way through the mid pack with some amazing moves. Dale went three wide on the bottom making contact with the #60 of Rich Bickle almost causing a wreck. Then with 4 to go, with help from Kenny Wallace, Dale split 3 cars, making a 4 wide pass heading into turn three. With 3 to go all hell broke lose as John Andretti attempted a 4 wide pass for the lead on the apron.This allowed the #3 to close into the top 5 and continue his amazing comeback. Then with 2 to go Dale slipped past John Andretti making him the first car on the outside lane allowing he, Kenny Wallace and Nemechek to take the lead at the white flag. With nothing but blue skies ahead of Dale, he shut the door and took his #3 to the checkered flag, giving him his 76th career Winston Cup victory. In the end it turned out to be Dale's last ride to victory lane, and what a ride it was. For Dale, his fans and Richard Childress, it was the race of a lifetime and a race that would never be forgotten.
Links to the Finish of the race and the Results Below:
It's been more than 10 years since the last victory for Dale, but this weekends race will officially mark the 10th year anniversary of the greatest comeback and finish in Auto Racing history. Talladega has given us some great moments, but in addition their has been some history that alot of fans want to forget. Will Talladega add another great moment to their list this weekend? We'll find out this Sunday at the AMP Energy Juice 500.
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