IMS Brickyard 400 Race Report
2 August 1997
DAY 4 -- SATURDAY, AUGUST 2, 1997 -- Page 1 RACE DAY Two new sponsors have joined Opryland USA in sponsoring the LAR Motorsports car driven by Jeff Purvis in today s Brickyard 400. QVC, the world s largest electronic retailer, and Gazelle, a sport utility vehicle company which is now establishing dealerships in the U.S., now appear on the #12 car. The Indianapolis Colts, looking for their second victory in as many days, are sponsoring the #27 David Blair Motorsports Ford for today s Brickyard 400. The one-race arrangement came to fruition late Saturday afternoon following a meeting between car owner David Blair and Colts Director of Marketing Pat Coyle. Today, Kruse International, the world s largest classic car auction organization, announced a one-race sponsorship for the #91 LJ Racing Chevrolet car driven by Greg Sacks. The #96 of David Green was the first car through NASCAR technical inspection at 9:38 this morning. The driver of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo pace car for the Brickyard 400 is NASCAR official Robert "Buster" Auton of Conover, N.C. Starter is NASCAR official Jimmy Howell of Winston-Salem, N.C. Pit road speed limit is 55 miles an hour. Pace car speed is 60 miles an hour. The last car pushed to the grid was the #46 of Wally Dallenbach Jr. at 11:34 a.m. Fourth Brickyard 400 Race Running: 12:10 p.m. -- Starting command, "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines," given by Mari Hulman George, chairman of the Board, IMS Speedway. Honorary Starter -- Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith Parade Lap -- #11 B. Bodine to rear of field, missed driver s meeting. Lap 1: #28 Irvan took lead on start. #28 Irvan leads lap with average speed of 160.094 and has now led three Brickyard 400s, all of them he has started. Lap 2: #4 Marlin to pits, hood up, car pushed to garage. Lap 3: FIRST YELLOW, #97 Little did a half-spin and hit outside wall in Turn 1. #92 Barfield has left rear bumper damage, also involved. #24 Gordon, who started 24th, now 18th. MARLIN: "I've lost three engines in the last two laps I've run. Two yesterday and one today." Lap 5: #12 Purvis to pit road, car smoking, driver out, pushed to garage. Lap 6: #22 W. Burton, #23 Spencer to pit road, fuel topoffs. PURVIS: "Busted radiator. We ll try to fix it and get back out." (NOTE: Car not scored on Lap 5 because car was pushed by crew across line without driver.) Lap 7: GREEN. Lap 9: Leaders -- #28 Irvan, #42 Nemechek, #88 Jarrett, #17 D. Waltrip, #3 Earnhardt. #28 Irvan turned lap at 171.687 miles an hour. Lap 13: #36 Cope to pits, left-side tires. Lap 14: SECOND YELLOW, #21 M. Waltrip, #36 Cope, #16 Musgrave, #94 Elliott tangle, Turn 2. #21 M. Waltrip, heavy right-side, front-end damage, drove to garage. #94 Elliott reported he was hit in rear, has right-rear quarter-panel damage, continued in 14th place. Lap 16: #16 Musgrave to pits, right front damage, crew repairs right front bodywork, changes right-side tires. Lap 17: Field uses warmup lane at south end as cleanup continues. #16 Musgrave returns to pits. LITTLE: "I got bumped by the #9 car going into Turn 1. I m sure he didn t do it on purpose. You don t stick your nose in there. You back out of it...especially that early in the race. It was a bonehead move on his part." Lap 19: #3 Earnhardt, fuel only, 11 seconds. Lap 17: #94 Elliott to pits, crew pulled left rear panel out. Lap 19: #24 Gordon now 11th. Lap 20: Leaders -- #28 Irvan, #88 Jarrett, #17 D. Waltrip, #10 Rudd, #31 Skinner. #2 R. Wallace now 29th after starting 43rd. Lap 21: GREEN. Lap 22: #3 Earnhardt now 21st. Lap 23: #24 Gordon now eighth. #37 Mayfield, who started 16th, now seventh. #28 Irvan as leader, turned lap at 172.107. Lap 24: 38 cars on lead lap. Lap 26: #28 B. Labonte started 25th, now ninth. Lap 28: #28 Irvan leads #88 Jarrett by 1.5 seconds. M. WALTRIP: "After the wreck, the car caught fire and I went through the grass and put it out. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time, more than anything." Lap 32: #28 Irvan led 32nd consecutive lap, a Brickyard 400 record for laps led from the start of the race. The previous record was 31 by Jeff Gordon in 1995. Lap 35: #96 D. Green told crew that car felt like it was smoking or sucking air. Crew monitoring. Lap 37: #31 Skinner, in fifth, to pits, fuel, right-side tires, 16.23 seconds. #24 J. Gordon now seventh. Lap 39: #17 D. Waltrip to pits, fuel and right-side tires, 15.38 seconds. #24 J. Gordon now fifth. Lap 40: #28 Irvan to pits, four tires, fuel, 21.72 seconds. #88 Jarrett to pits, four tires, fuel, 1 minute. #33 Schrader to pits. #24 J. Gordon to lead for first time, leading his fourth consecutive Brickyard 400 and 15th race led of 1997 Winston Cup season. #10 Rudd to pits, four tires, fuel, 20 seconds. #99 J. Burton, four tires, fuel, 19 seconds. #6 Martin to pits, four tires, fuel, 20 seconds. Lap 41: #30 Benson Jr. takes lead for his second straight Brickyard 400 led and third Winston Cup race of 1997 led. #24 J. Gordon to pits, four tires, fuel, 16 seconds. Lap 42: #46 Dallenbach Jr. to first for his first Brickyard 400 led and second Winston Cup race led in 1997. #30 Benson to pits, right-side tires, fuel, 13.27 seconds. COPE: "I spun out coming off the pit road, trying not to get a lap down. Unfortunately it had to happen here at Indy. We were looking forward to a good race." Lap 48: Leaders -- #46 Dallenbach Jr., #44 Petty, #3 Earnhardt, #23 Spencer, #5 T. Labonte. Lap 54: #42 Nemechek to pits, right-side tires, fuel, 13.90 seconds. #2 R. Wallace to pits, four tires, fuel, 22 seconds. #94 Elliott to pits, right-side tires, fuel, 14.21 seconds. #44 Petty to pits, four tires, fuel, 18 seconds. Lap 55: #23 Spencer to lead. Lap 56: #46 Dallenbach Jr., in lead, to pits, right-side tires, fuel, 13.81 seconds. #5 T. Labonte led lap. #5 T. Labonte to pits, four tires, fuel, 22.72 seconds. Lap 57: #3 Earnhardt to pits, four tires, fuel, 22 seconds. #21 M. Waltrip still in garage, replaced sheet metal on right side, knocked housing loose to replace trailing arms, work on right A-arms, radiator. #25 Craven to lead, becoming third Brickyard 400 provisional starter to lead the race. Harry Gant and Lake Speed led the inaugural Brickyard 400 from 42nd and 41st starting positions, respectively. Lap 58: #25 Craven to pits, four tires, fuel, 22 seconds. #88 Jarrett to lead, marking third straight year that defending winner has led the succeeding Brickyard 400. Lap 60: NASCAR allowed extra man over wall to clean windshields. Lap 65: Leaders -- #88 Jarrett, #28 Irvan, #24 J. Gordon, #99 J. Burton, #6 Martin. Lap 68: #33 Schrader to pits, right front tire down, change right-side tires, fuel, 12.21 seconds. Lap 72: #31 Skinner to pits, four tires, fuel, 21.77 seconds. Lap 76: #17 D. Waltrip to pits, four tires, fuel, 21 seconds. Lap 78: #88 Jarrett, leader, to pits, four tires, fuel, 18.76 seconds. #28 Irvan, in second, to pits, four tires, fuel, 22.5 seconds. #24 J. Gordon to lead. Lap 80: #21 M. Waltrip returned after lengthy stop in garage for repairs. Lap 81: #24 J. Gordon to pits, four tires, fuel, 17.2 seconds. Lap 82: #23 Spencer to lead. (NOTE: When he took lead on Lap 55, it marked the first time he had led a Brickyard 400 and it was the fourth Winston Cup race he s led in 1997. #30 Benson Jr., to pits, four tires, fuel, 32 seconds. Lap 83: THIRD YELLOW, #5 T. Labonte, in fifth, smoking heavily down front straight, entered south end warmup lane. Leaders -- #23 Spencer, #46 Dallenbach Jr., #3 Earnhardt, #44 Petty, #43 Hamilton. GARY DEHART (crew chief, #5 T. Labonte): "The engine blew up." #23 Spencer to pits, four tires, fuel, 19 seconds. Lap 84: #46 Dallenbach Jr., to pits, took lead, crew reports heatshield not working properly, put rags in seat, four tires, fuel, 24.83 seconds.. #3 Earnhardt to pits, delay when air hose got caught, ripped, and another was used, 33.2 seconds. #88 Jarrett, fuel only, 8 seconds. #43 Hamilton to pits, four tires, fuel, 22 seconds. Lap 85: #24 J. Gordon to lead. Lap 86: #16 Musgrave to pits, right front suspension work, 1 minute, 5 seconds. Lap 87: Leaders -- #24 J. Gordon, #99 J. Burton, #6 Martin, #31 Skinner, #10 Rudd. #33 Schrader to pits, fuel only, 4.8 seconds. 31 cars on lead lap. Lap 89: GREEN. #99 J. Burton under #24 J. Gordon in Turn 3 for lead for first time, ninth different leader. It marked the first time Jeff Burton has led the Brickyard 400 and ninth race he's led in 1997. Lap 92: #2 R. Wallace, smoking heavily, to pit road, then garage. Lap 94: Leaders -- #99 J. Burton, #24 J. Gordon, #10 Rudd, #31 Skinner, #28 Irvan. Lap 96: 30 cars on lead lap. Lap 99: #3 Earnhardt to pits, left front tire vibration with loose lugs (from air gun/hose incident), four tires, fuel, 19.3 seconds. Crew, #88 Jarrett, reports handling problem, in 10th position. R. WALLACE: "We kicked a rod out of it." (disappointed?): "Been doing it for a long time...I know it has its ups and downs." Lap 101: #99 J. Burton, leader, ran lap at 170.007. Lap 104: #88 Jarrett now seventh. T. LABONTE: "We had a terrible qualifying run. I really think we were gonna wind up and have a good finish. The car was working good. We needed a caution flag to get caught up. I just never anticipated this when I started racing. I always concentrate on not making a mistake. An engine failure for us is very rare. I know they'll wortk on it and figure what happened and it won't happen again. There's still a lot of races to go. We're a good team. We'll have to come back, try harder, and try to win some races." Lap 109: #31 Skinenr to pits, right-side tires, fuel, 14.93 seconds. Lap 110: #24 J. Gordon passes #99 J. Burton for lead in Turn 4. Lap 111: Leaders -- #24 J. Gordon, #99 J. Burton, #10 Rudd, #28 Irvan, #88 Jarrett. Lap 113: FOURTH YELLOW, #42 Nemechek hit wall between Turns 1 and 2, continued to pits, right front and left and right rear damage, four tires, fuel, 33.78 seconds. Lap 114: Leaders pitting. #24 J. Gordon to pits, four tires, fuel, 20 seconds. #99 J. Burton to pits, four tires, fuel, 20 seconds. #10 Rudd to lead, to pits, four tires, fuel, 18 seconds. #10 Rudd becomes 10th leader of race, leading his second Brickyard 400 and his third '97 Winston Cup race. #28 Irvan to pits, four tires, fuel, 23.26 seconds. #42 Nemechek returned to pits, crew working on right front quarter-panel, 38.32 seconds. FELIX SABATES (owner, #42 Nemechek): "It s all beat up." #17 D. Waltrip to pits, four tires, fuel, 23 seconds. #88 Jarrett to pits, right-side tires, fuel, 18.1 seconds. #28 Irvan to pits, four tires, fuel, 23.26 seconds. Lap 115: #31 Skinner leads his first Brickyard 400, the fifth first-time leader of the race today. It's the seventh '97 Winston Cup race he s led. #3 Earnhardt to pits, right-side tires, fuel, 13.1 seconds. Lap 116: Leaders -- #31 Skinner, #24 J. Gordon, #99 J. Burton, #10 Rudd, #22 W. Burton. Lap 117: #16 Musgrave to pits, crew continues working on bodywork. Lap 118: GREEN. #23 Spencer to pits, left front quarter-panel damage, left tires changed, four tires, fuel, 22 seconds. #3 Earnhardt to pits, smoking, right rear quarter-panel damage, right-side tires, fuel, 16 seconds. Crews, #3 Earnhardt, #23 Spencer, confirmed contact between cars during caution. Lap 120: #21 M. Waltrip car black-flagged for open cowl flap. #46 Dallenbach Jr., to pits, hood up. Lap 121: Leader #31 Skinner, #24 J. Gordon nose-to-tail. Lap 122: #17 D. Waltrip brushed wall, continued. Lap 123: #24 J. Gordon under #31 Skinner for lead in Turn 3. Leaders -- #24 J. Gordon, #31 Skinner, #99 J. Burton, #88 Jarrett, #10 Rudd. #46 Dallenbach Jr., out, engine. Lap 125: #42 Nemechek returns to pits. Lap 129: #24 J. Gordon, in lead, turned lap at 170.013. #6 Martin, in sixth, turned lap at 171.301. Lap 130: #88 Jarrett passes #99 J. Burton for third. Lap 134: #88 Jarrett uner #31 Skinner for second in Turn 3. DALLENBACH JR.: "We had a good day going until the end there when the engine let go. We were in the right position to win this thing. The car was awesome. We did the right thing on pit strategy. We just didn't make it to the end. I'm pretty frustrated right now. You couldn't ask for a better car.The guys did a great job. We just have to get the monkey off our back." Lap 136: #88 Jarrett under #24 J. Gordon for lead in Turn 4. Lap 138: #16 Musgrave to pits, continue wiork on right side. #24 J. Gordon passed to take lead in Turn 3. #88 Jarrett repassed #24 J. Gordon in Turn 4 for lead. Lap 140: Leaders -- #88 Jarrett, #24 J. Gordon, #31 Skinner, #99 J. Burton, #6 Martin. JOE GIBBS (car owner, #18 B. Labonte, on if he needs a fuel stop): "It is gonna be close. We don't know." Lap 141: #6 Martin passes #99 J. Burton for fourth. Lap 142: 24 cars on lead lap. Lap 143: #6 Martin passed #31 Skinner for third. Lap 145: #40 R. Gordon hit wall between Turns 1 and 2, continued with right-side damage, to pits. D. GREEN: "We were shooting for a top 20 finish. We had some motor problems. We won't know until we tear it down. I want to thank everyone for their effort. Everyone worked really hard." Lap 147: FIFTH YELLOW, debris from #40 R. Gordon contact. #40 R. Gordon returned to pits. #24 J. Gordon to pits, fuel only, 5-second splash-and-go. #88 Jarrett to pits, fuel only. 5-second splash-and-go. Crew reports it s not sure if it got enough fuel in. #10 Rudd takes lead. #6 Martin to pits, fuel only, 5-second splash-and-go. Lap 148: Leaders -- #10 Rudd, #18 B. Labonte, #30 Benson, #25 Craven, #99 J. Burton, #6 Martin, #88 Jarrett, #24 J. Gordon, #22 W. Burton, #37 Mayfield. Crews, #10 Rudd, #18 B. Labonte, #30 Benson report they ll try to go rest of way on fuel . Lap 149: #99 J. Burton, in fifth, sent to end of longest line for restart for exiting pits too fast. Lap 151: GREEN. Lap 152: #10 Rudd, leader, turned lap at 170.052. #6 Martin, now fourth, turned lap at 170.168. #24 J. Gordon, now seventh, turned lap at 171.523. Lap 153: #10 Rudd, leader, turned lap at 170.081. #6 Martin, fourth, turned lap at 170.193. Lap 154: 23 cars on lead lap. Lap 155: SIXTH YELLOW, #26 Bickle hit wall, Turn 3; #75 Mast also involved, continued. The sixth caution flag ties the Brickyard 400 record for most cautions set in 1994. Lap 158: GREEN. Leaders -- #10 Rudd, #18 B. Labonte, #30 Benson, #6 Martin, #88 Jarrett, #24 J. Gordon. Lap 159: #6 Martin passes #30 Benson, #88 Jarrett passes both #30 Benson and #6 Martin. #88 Jarrett now third. #24 J. Gordon follows #88 Jarrett to fourth. Lap 160: #10 Ricky Rudd holds back #18 Bobby Labonte to win fourth Brickyard 400, #88 Dale Jarrett third, #24 Jeff Gordon fourth. Margin of Victory: .183 of a second. Post-Race Notes: --The margin of victory was a record 0.183 of a second. The previous closest finish for a Brickyard 400 was .37 of a second in 1995 when Dale Earnhardt beat Rusty Wallace. --Jeff Gordon is the only driver to have led all four Brickyard 400s. Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt failed to lead the race today, stopping their Brickyard 400 leading strings at three. --A Brickyard 400 record 23 cars finished on the lead lap, breaking the mark of 21 set in 1996. The only Winston Cup oval event so this season with more lead-lap cars were the 24 on the lead lap in July at Daytona. Today s lead-lap finishers equal the number in the Daytona 500 the past February. --There were 36 cars running at the finish. The Brickyard 400 record is 37 finishers in 1995. --Defending Brickyard 400 winner, Dale Jarrett, finished third which represents the highest finish by a former winner of the Brickyard 400. --The 1997 Brickyard 400 had 19 lead changes. The record for the event is 21 set in the 1994 inaugural event. --The 1997 Brickyard 400 had 5 drivers who led the race for the first time in their Brickyard 400 careers. Those five drivers are: #99 Jeff Burton (21 laps), #46 Wally Dallenbach Jr. (14 laps), #31 Mike Skinner ( 8 laps ), #23 Jimmy Spencer ( 3 laps ), and #25 Ricky Craven ( 1 lap ). Skinner led lap 25 a year ago as a relief driver but that lap was credited to the qualified Dale Earnhardt. --#33 Ken Schrader and #94 Bill Elliott are the only drivers to complete every lap of all four Brickyard 400s. --#94 Bill Elliott is the only driver to have finished in the top 10 for all four Brickyard 400s. Elliott finished 8th in the 1997 event. Rich Bickle was transported to Methodist Hospital complaining of back pain. He was awake and alert. Unofficial NASCAR Winston Cup Money Standings: 1. Jeff Gordon $2,278,399 2. Dale Jarrett 1,661,319 3. Ricky Rudd 1,450,240 4. Terry Labonte 1,357,954 5. Jeff Burton 1,279,769 6. Bobby Labonte 1,247,394 7. Mark Martin 1,128,814 8. Dale Earnhardt 1,071,034 9. Rusty Wallace 995,390 10. Ernie Irvan 973,969 Rudd and Earnhardt became the seventh and eighth drivers to clear the $1 million barrier in 1997 Winston Cup prize winnings.