Telecast sets record

RICHMOND, VA -- (May 10, 2001) The largest crowd in the history of the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway watched Rusty Wallace lead 276 laps before Tony Stewart's late race charge stole the victory during last Saturday ...

RICHMOND, VA -- (May 10, 2001) The largest crowd in the history of the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway watched Rusty Wallace lead 276 laps before Tony Stewart's late race charge stole the victory during last Saturday night's NASCAR Winston Cup event.

FX's telecast of the Pontiac Excitement 400, the network's first NASCAR Winston Cup Series race delivered the highest viewership of any program in the seven-year history of the network. The Pontiac Excitement 400 ranked #1 among basic cable programs on Saturday, May 5 and finished third among basic cable programs for the week ending May 6 with a 4.0 rating and an 8 share. The 2001 rating for the Pontiac Excitement 400 represents a 14% increase over the 2000 telecast.

Fans that filled the grandstands at "the Action Track", watched Stewart survive an exciting finish that included a late red flag, a two-lap dash to the finish and some heated words between Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace that kept the crowd standing well after the checkered flag had waved.

For the second straight Pontiac Excitement 400 race, the Miller Lite Ford led the most laps, only to settle for a top five finish instead of a victory. Wallace, restarting in third place behind Jeff Gordon, traded paint with Gordon during the two-lap shootout following the red flag. Jeff Gordon edged Wallace for second place, with Wallace taking third, followed by Steve Park and Ricky Rudd.

Early in the race Wallace led his 2,500 lap at the ¾ mile Richmond track.

For Tony Stewart it was victory number two at Richmond International Raceway, the first having come in the fall 1999 event. He led 93 laps total, including the final 39, taking the lead from Wallace on lap 362, in the middle of a long green-flag run.

"I thought that one was going to get taken away from us," said Stewart, regarding the late race red flag.

The Pontiac Excitement 400 was also the first win for a Pontiac in that manufacturer's sponsored race since 1989 when the winner was -- Rusty Wallace.

Richmond International Raceway will host the Indy Racing Northern Lights Series June 29 -- 30 along with the USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Series and the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series that same weekend. NASCAR racing returns to Richmond September 6 -- 8 for a triple-header weekend that includes the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series.

For tickets or information about Richmond International Raceway events, please call the ticket office at (804) 345-7223.

-RIR

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About this article
Series Automotive , Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Steve Park