Daytona Story

Jeff Gordon Wins IROC Opener DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- February 13, 1998 Jeff Gordon captured his first IROC Series victory Friday at Daytona International Speedway, winning the opening round of the True Value Firebird IROC XXII. Gordon led 12...

Jeff Gordon Wins IROC Opener

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- February 13, 1998

Jeff Gordon captured his first IROC Series victory Friday at Daytona International Speedway, winning the opening round of the True Value Firebird IROC XXII.

Gordon led 12 drivers from various forms of motorsports, driving identically-prepared Pontiac Firebirds. The scheduled 100-mile, 40-lap event was shortened by 10 laps due to rain.

Gordon and fellow NASCAR Winston Cup competitor Jeff Burton drafted past Mark Martin to take the lead on a restart on the 29th circuit. Gordon led Burton to the caution when a drizzle began to fall one lap later, while Martin held off Dale Earnhardt to take third. Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk rebounded from an early spin to finish fifth.

"It was just wild and crazy and a lot of fun out there," said Gordon, the defending winner of the Daytona 500 and two-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion. "This is a big victory for me. I was in the right place at the right time. This is not the way I want to win, but I will take it."

Seven of the 12 drivers managed to lead the race.

"I had no idea it was going to rain," said Martin, the defending IROC champion, who led a race-leading 17 laps. "Being in the lead was not the place to be on a restart - that's how I took the lead from Earnhardt."

The race was slowed by three earlier cautions for minor incidents. Luyendyk spun on lap six after contact with Jimmy Vasser; Tommy Kendall collected Randy LaJoie after contact with Gordon on lap 12; and Vasser and Dale Jarrett spun on lap 29. All of them were able to continue, with the exception of Kendall.

SOURCE: Daytona International Speedway

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About this article
Series IROC
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Arie Luyendyk , Jimmy Vasser , Mark Martin , Tommy Kendall