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1998 Daytona 500

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Title: 1998 Daytona 500  
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Subject: Dale Earnhardt, Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Bobby Labonte, Geoff Bodine, Budweiser Duel, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Kenny Wallace, Bill Elliott
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1998 Daytona 500

1998 Daytona 500
Race details
Race 1 of 33 in the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season

Daytona International Speedway
Date February 15, 1998 (1998-02-15)
Location Daytona International Speedway
Course Permanent racing facility
2.5 mi (4.02336 km)
Distance 200 laps, 500 mi (804.672 km)
WeatherTemperatures up to 70 °F (21 °C); wind speeds up to 14 miles per hour (23 km/h)
Average speed 172.712 miles per hour (277.953 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Bobby Labonte Joe Gibbs Racing
Qualifying race winners
Duel 1 Winner Sterling Marlin SABCO Racing
Duel 2 Winner Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing
Most laps led
Driver Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing
Laps 107
No. 3
Dale Earnhardt
Richard Childress Racing
Television in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Mike Joy, Buddy Baker and Ned Jarrett
Nielsen Ratings 8.6/23
(13.0 million viewers)

The 1998 Daytona 500, the 40th running of "The Great American Race", was run on February 15, 1998. It is memorable in that it marked Dale Earnhardt's only Daytona 500 victory after 19 previous attempts and many heartbreaking finishes. Not only was it Earnhardt's 20th 500 start, but also CBS's 20th consecutive live broadcast of the Daytona 500. Also, his long-awaited Daytona 500 win snapped a 59-race winless streak dating back to Atlanta Motor Speedway in March of 1996.

The race was remarkably clean for a restrictor plate race. There were only three cautions - all of which were for minor incidents (as well, there were no accident-related retirements), and there was a pit stop incident that involved Dale Jarrett, Jeff Burton and Derrike Cope but no caution was waved. The race was run under the green flag for the first 125 laps. This resulted in it being the third-fastest Daytona 500 ever, behind the 1980 Daytona 500 won by Buddy Baker, and the fastest of the restrictor plate era.

Pre-race buildup

The race began with emphasis on NASCAR's 50th Anniversary Celebration. The pre-race show on CBS featured some of the greatest Daytona 500 finishes in recent memory. It also detailed the famous Daytona Beach Road Course and it featured Russ Truelove, Buck Baker, Tim Flock, Red Farmer and Junior Johnson on the Daytona Beach with one of Tim Flock's old "Full Jeweled" #300 Chryslers.

The race

Waving the green flag to start the race was Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino.

Caution #1

In the mid stage of the event, green flag pit stops were still in progress with Jeff Gordon leading, and were on pace of breaking the average speed of 1980. Then Ward Burton cut down a tire leaving debris on the track, thus bringing out the first caution.

Caution #2

Late in the race with a possibility of another green flag stop, John Andretti and Robert Pressley made contact and spun together in turn 2. Which led to the final stops. Dale Earnhardt came out first, Michael Waltrip had a penalty after running over a hose while pitting, thus held back at the rear of the pack.

Lap 198 (Caution #3)

Dale Earnhardt led Bobby Labonte and Jeremy Mayfield heading into turn 2. Lake Speed and John Andretti, who already was spun out at the same corner, got together and both cars spun, setting up a scenario where Earnhardt, Labonte, and Mayfield were all in contention for the win. With 1½ laps, the three came up on the lapped car of Rick Mast. Earnhardt easily passed Mast on the outside. Labonte lost Earnhardt's draft while Mayfield sped to the inside of Mast. Earnhardt led Labonte and Mayfield, who were side by side. Earnhardt took the white and yellow flags in first while Labonte edged Mayfield for second by a fender. The race would end under the caution flag.


Pos Grid Car Driver Sponsor Team Make Laps Led Status
1 4 3 Dale Earnhardt GM Goodwrench Service Plus Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 200 107 Running
2 1 18 Bobby Labonte Interstate Batteries Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac 200 22 Running
3 13 12 Jeremy Mayfield Mobil 1 Penske-Kranefuss Racing Ford 200 0 Running
4 31 33 Ken Schrader Skoal Bandit Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet 200 0 Running
5 12 2 Rusty Wallace Miller Lite Penske-Kranefuss Racing Ford 200 4 Running
6 10 36 Ernie Irvan (W) Skittles MB2 Motorsports Pontiac 200 0 Running
7 21 97 Chad Little John Deere Roush Racing Ford 200 0 Running
8 8 31 Mike Skinner Lowe's Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 200 1 Running
9 6 21 Michael Waltrip Citgo Wood Brothers Racing Ford 200 0 Running
10 19 94 Bill Elliott (W) McDonald's Elliott-Marino Racing Ford 200 0 Running
11 39 44 Kyle Petty Hot Wheels/Blues Brothers 2000 PE2 Motorsports Pontiac 200 0 Running
12 22 4 Bobby Hamilton Kodak MAX Film Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet 200 0 Running
13 2 5 Terry Labonte Kellogg's Corn Flakes Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 200 2 Running
14 32 50 Ricky Craven Budweiser Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 200 0 Running
15 7 23 Jimmy Spencer Winston/No Bull Travis Carter Motorsports Ford 200 0 Running
16 29 24 Jeff Gordon (W) DuPont Refinishes Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 200 56 Running
17 16 9 Lake Speed Cartoon Network Melling Racing Ford 200 0 Running
18 17 43 John Andretti STP Petty Enterprises Pontiac 200 0 Running
19 38 28 Kenny Irwin, Jr. (R) Texaco/Havoline Robert Yates Racing Ford 199 0 Flagged
20 37 16 Ted Musgrave Primestar Roush Racing Ford 199 0 Flagged
21 16 13 Jerry Nadeau (R) FirstPlus Loans Elliott-Marino Racing Ford 199 0 Flagged
22 3 40 Sterling Marlin (W) Coors Light SABCO Racing Chevrolet 199 2 Flagged
23 23 73 Mike Wallace X-1R Barkdoll Racing Chevrolet 199 0 Flagged
24 42 11 Brett Bodine Paychex Scandia-Bodine Racing Ford 199 0 Flagged
25 9 22 Ward Burton MBNA Bill Davis Racing Pontiac 199 0 Flagged
26 28 42 Joe Nemechek BellSouth SABCO Racing Chevrolet 199 0 Flagged
27 34 90 Dick Trickle Heilig-Meyers/Simmons Donlavey Racing Ford 198 0 Flagged
28 41 41 Steve Grissom Kodiak Larry Hedrick Motorsports Chevrolet 198 0 Flagged
29 18 95 Andy Hillenburg (R) Shoney's Inns Sadler Brothers Racing Chevrolet 198 0 Flagged
30 27 75 Rick Mast Remington Arms Butch Mock Motorsports Ford 197 0 Flagged
31 25 7 Geoff Bodine (W) Philips Consumer Communications Mattei Bodine Racing Ford 197 0 Flagged
32 30 77 Robert Pressley Jasper Engines Jasper Motorsports Ford 197 0 Flagged
33 43 17 Darrell Waltrip (W) Speedblock/Builders Square Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Chevrolet 196 0 Flagged
34 5 88 Dale Jarrett (W) Ford Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Robert Yates Racing Ford 196 0 Flagged
35 36 47 Billy Standridge (R) Team Fans Can Race Standridge Auto Racing Ford 196 0 Flagged
36 35 71 Dave Marcis Realtree Camouflage Marcis Auto Racing Chevrolet 193 0 Flagged
37 11 30 Derrike Cope (W) Gumout Bahari Racing Pontiac 191 0 Flagged
38 15 6 Mark Martin Valvoline/Cummins Roush Racing Ford 187 0 Flagged
39 24 98 Greg Sacks Thorn Apple Valley Cale Yarborough Motorsports Ford 173 0 Flagged
40 14 99 Jeff Burton Exide Batteries Roush Racing Ford 160 0 Engine
41 33 1 Steve Park (R) Pennzoil Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 158 0 Ignition
42 40 10 Ricky Rudd Tide Rudd Performance Motorsports Ford 117 0 Ignition
43 20 91 Kevin Lepage (R) Little Joe's Auto LJ Racing Chevrolet 78 0 Engine
Failed to Qualify
46 Wally Dallenbach, Jr. First Union SABCO Racing Chevrolet
81 Kenny Wallace Square D FILMAR Racing Ford
96 David Green (R) Caterpillar American Equipment Racing Chevrolet
78 Gary Bradberry (R) Pilot Travel Centers Triad Motorsports Ford
29 Jeff Green (R) Team Monte Carlo Diamond Ridge Motorsports Chevrolet
79 Norm Benning (R) NuTemplate:Dn/Hart Hair T.R.I.X. Racing Chevrolet
8 Hut Stricklin Circuit City Stavola Brothers Racing Chevrolet
14 Loy Allen, Jr. Delco Remy America Precision Products Racing Pontiac
80 Mike Ciochetti (R) Hughes Supply Hover Motorsports Ford
59 Mark Gibson (R) The Commercial Bank CSG Motorsports Ford
26 Johnny Benson Cheerios Roush Racing Ford
35 Todd Bodine Tabasco ISM Racing Pontiac
07 Dan Pardus (R) Midwest Transit Midwest Transit Racing Chevrolet
85 Randy Renfrow (R) n/a Mansion Motorsports Ford


  • "Jean Shepherd once said, 'If horse racing is the sport of kings, then auto racing; this furious, and sometimes brutal game, is the sport of friends. New, or old; come along, friend, and enjoy the Great American Race!'"—Ken Squier during CBS's prerace broadcast.
  • "Earnhardt uses the lap car of Rick Mast to them as the pick...20 years of trying, 20 years of frustration, Dale Earnhardt will come to the Caution flag to win the Daytona 500...FINALLY!!!."—Mike Joy commentating the final seconds of the Daytona 500.
  • "Look, out on pit road! Every man on every crew has come out to the edge of pit lane to congratulate the man who has dominated everything there is to win in this sport, except this race; until today."—Mike Joy on the crew members congratulating Dale Earnhardt on his Daytona 500 victory.
  • "The most anticipated moment in the history of motor racing, Dale Earnhardt rolling into Victory Lane in the Daytona 500"—Mike Joy during the broadcast
  • "Dale was like a kid at Christmas, and there was a time where I just wanted to sit back and just watch him"--Larry McReynolds on Earnhardt's win.
  • "It took ten years off my life, if I had made that race, I would have lived another ten years"—Rick Mast on missing the 1997 Daytona 500 after making the 1998 race.
  • "The Daytona 500 is ours. We won it, we won it, we won it!" Dale Earnhardt in victory lane during post race TV interview
  • "The 20 year quest is over"—Ken Squier in victory lane after Dale Earnhardt's makes the entrance to victory lane.
  • "It will make the strongest man on earth cry when you win this race, it's really special.--Buddy Baker on Earnhardt's win.

See also


  • Nextel Cup Results msn
  • Archived 2013-06-20)
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