Indianapoly race summary

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2000 -- Tenacious Texan Bobby Labonte turned the hare into a loser again Saturday as he passed leader Rusty Wallace 15 laps from the finish and drove on to victory in the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis...

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2000 -- Tenacious Texan Bobby Labonte turned the hare into a loser again Saturday as he passed leader Rusty Wallace 15 laps from the finish and drove on to victory in the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Wallace led 110 of 160 laps - more than any other driver -- in the seventh running of a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at the Speedway but could not hold off the persistent Labonte and his Joe Gibbs-owned Interstate Batteries Pontiac in the closing laps. Labonte, who had finished second, third and second in the last three Brickyard events, collected a hefty check of $831,225 and took a gigantic step toward the Winston Cup championship and the multi-million payoff that goes with it. His lead in the standings was increased to 87 with 3,005 points with his second victory of the season. “I can’t believe it,” said Labonte, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas. “It was just a great day.” Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls as coach of the Washington Redskins, added to his list of major motorsports victories in Indianapolis. He owned the Top Fuel dragster and Funny Car that Cory McClenathan and Cruz Pedregon each drove to victory in the NHRA U.S. Nationals at nearby Indianapolis Raceway Park several years ago. Wallace led from Lap 123 until he relinquished the front spot by .004 of a second at the line on Lap 146. Labonte went on to win by 4.299 seconds, an event record He averaged a record 155.918 mph, exceeding Dale Earnhardt’s 1995 winning speed of 155.218. St. Louis native Wallace, driving the Miller Lite Ford, held onto second and was followed across the line by Bill Elliott, early leader Jerry Nadeau and Gibbs’s second driver, Tony Stewart. It was another case of close, but not quite for Wallace, who nearly won the race in both 1994 and 1995 and has six top-10 finishes at Indianapolis. “Second is pretty good, but if you ever get that close, it’s pretty hard to settle for it,” Wallace said. “That was his turn, Turn 3. I knew if he was going to get me it would be in Turn 3.” Roger Penske gave Wallace a hug when he returned to the pits. A victory would have been his 11th as a car owner at Indy. He won the Indianapolis 500 10 times. Labonte, who was never a tortoise in the race, continually dogged Wallace. He waited for the perfect moment to make his move. Labonte closed to within .188 second on Lap 145 and kept contact, moved down to get beside Wallace in Turn 3 of the next lap, and they battled side by side down the straight. Wallace and Labonte actually bumped before reaching the start-finish line. Labonte’s car had the edge by a bumper when they reached the line. Once he got past Wallace, Labonte then motored away. “To beat a great driver like Rusty Wallace, it’s awesome,” Labonte said. “I’ve been close here, and it just came up this time. Rusty put up a great fight. I was better than him in Turn 2, and I could get by him. This is one of those races that you dream about.” Bobby Labonte’s great day came on the day his older brother Terry’s Winston Cup-record string of 655 consecutive starts came to an end. Terry Labonte was still bothered by an injury suffered earlier in the season and chose not to compete. Darrell Waltrip, who started on the outside of the front row, didn’t add an 85th career victory on his farewell “Victory Tour,” but he did finish 11th, best of the season. Pole sitter Ricky Rudd took the early lead and held it until Mark Martin, winner of the True Value IROC at Indy race on Friday, and Mike Skinner touched entering Turn 1. Martin spun hard backward into the wall. Two-time winner Jeff Gordon’s car also incurred damage in the incident. Martin was finished for the day, while Gordon nursed his wounded car to the finish in 33rd place. Defending champion Dale Jarrett finished seventh and 1995 winner Earnhardt eighth. Scott Pruett, a 40-year-old rookie on the circuit, finished 10th, tops among first-time drivers. Pruett also finished 10th in his first Indianapolis 500 in 1989.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Mike Skinner , Jerry Nadeau , Scott Pruett , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Roger Penske , Mark Martin