NASCAR WCUP: Jarrett overcomes '98 heartache with 1999 Brickyard 400 win
9 August 1999INDIANAPOLIS - Dale Jarrett put to rest the ghosts of last year's Brickyard 400 heartbreak and extended his NASCAR Winston Cup points lead with a dominating victory Saturday in the sixth Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In 1998, Jarrett dominated the early stages of the Brickyard 400, but was knocked out of contention when his Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford Taurus ran out of gas midway through the race. Jarrett coasted to the pits and lost four laps to the leaders, finishing 16th.
This year was a different story, as Jarrett led six times for 117 of the event's 160 laps. He led the last 43 laps of the race, keeping the lead after a two-tire-and-gas pit stop on Lap 143 during the final caution period.
Jarrett, from Conover, N.C., pulled away on the restart and beat Bobby Labonte to the finish line by 3.351 seconds, averaging 148.228 mph. Defending NASCAR Winston Cup and event champion Jeff Gordon finished third.
"It was hard work," said Jarrett. "The car was really good. But after last year, you're out there and you wonder what's going to happen now. Todd (Parrott, Jarrett's crew chief) had already told me we were good on fuel. Then the caution came out and I said, 'Here we go again.' We agreed to come in and take two tires. We had no idea what it would do to the car. But really, it was the best it was all day.
"The engine was so good today. I could beat anybody on the straightaways."
Jarrett earned $712,240 for the win and expanded his Winston Cup points lead to 274 points over Mark Martin, who finished fourth today.
Jarrett became the second two-time winner of the Brickyard 400, joining Gordon. Jarrett's other Brickyard win came in 1996. This was the fourth victory of the season for Jarrett, tying Jeff Burton and Gordon. Labonte was a victim of the last of three caution periods of the race.
Dave Marcis suffered engine failure on Lap 143, and nearly every car on track entered the pits for fuel and tires. Labonte, running fourth at the time, had enough gas to finish without the caution. Martin and Burton, running second and third, couldn't have gone the distance. It would have been close for Jarrett, who admitted after the race that he would have needed to soft-pedal the gas pedal over the closing laps to finish without another fuel stop.
"We had a good car all day long," said Labonte. "But we couldn't run with the 88 (Jarrett). We were developing a miss. After that, we didn't have a good race car. I didn't think we were going to have to pit at the end. I guess you are never happy with second."