By David Reininger - Motorsport.com Indianapolis, IN (August 4, 2000) - Mark Martin dominated the fourth and final round of IROC XXIV at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon, leading all but nine laps in the 40 lap contest. Martin...
By David Reininger - Motorsport.com
Indianapolis, IN (August 4, 2000) - Mark Martin dominated the fourth and final round of IROC XXIV at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon, leading all but nine laps in the 40 lap contest. Martin led by over four seconds as he took the white flag but the four time IROC champion lifted as he approached the checkered flag dropping the official margin of victory to 1.327 seconds.
At the drop of the green, Martin moved from his 11th place starting position to sixth by the end of the first lap. Two laps later, he moved around defending Indy Racing Northern Light Champion, Greg Ray for fifth place.
Polesitter Mark Dismore enjoyed an early but short-lived lead as the NASCAR drivers pressed towards the front. Jeff Gordon, who started fifth, made his bid for the lead on lap seven with Martin following close behind.
Dismore got pushed to the outside lane as Gordan and Martin made their way to the front. When Dismore moved to the bottom in turn one, he failed to clear Greg Ray in fifth place, sending both cars spinning in the short chute. Ray managed to return to the pits for fresh tires, but Dismore's day was finished when he made contact with the outside wall.
"I think Greg (Ray) may have gotten into me a little bit in my left rear," said Dismore. "It was a little loose, and (Jeff) Gordon was on the side of me. I was just trying to get back in line."
When fluid from Dismore's car covered the track at the exit of turn one, all cars reported to the pits until the cleanup was completed.
Gordon lined up at the point for the restart with Martin in second.
Dale Earnhardt moved around Rusty Wallace for third on the restart as Martin pressured Gordon for the lead. Martin dove low under Gordon in turn two to take the lead on lap nine.
Gordon immediately faced pressure from Earnhardt, who drew alongside to complete the ninth lap.
"I got off to a good start," said Martin. "Before the lap seven caution, I knew I was going to lead the race soon. I got to the lead as quick as I could and then just tried to stretch it so he (Dale Earnhardt) couldn't draft."
"When I got to the lead, I didn't think he'd get to second. I ran about one lap, and there he was."
Dale Earnhardt finished second to take his fourth IROC Championship. Earnhradt, who won IROC Championships in 1990, '95, and '99, finished four points ahead of Mark Martin in the final point standings.
Earnhardt held off a late challenge from Tony Stewart to secure second place and the points he needed to earn the championship.
"I had to change my line and then, 'Oh no. Here comes Tony Stewart.' I figured the air off my car pushed his car a bit," said Earnhardt. "I knew Tony was going to be tough. We were lucky to end up second. Congratulations to Mark for the win, but we're happy to win the championship.
Tony Stewart finished third followed by Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace. Bobby Labonte, Eddie Cheever, Dale Jarrett and Dale Earnhardt all finished on the lead lap, finishing sixth through ninth respectively.