NASCAR: Brickyard 400 Story Indianapolis, Indiana (August 1, 1998) - Jeff Gordon won the fifth running of the NASCAR Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He led five times for 97 laps in taking his second Brickyard 400 win. This...
NASCAR: Brickyard 400 Story
Indianapolis, Indiana (August 1, 1998) - Jeff Gordon won the fifth running of the NASCAR Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He led five times for 97 laps in taking his second Brickyard 400 win. This was Gordon's sixth win of the season, putting him 72 points ahead of second place Mark Martin in the Winston Cup championship.
During the last 25 laps, Mark Martin reeled in Bobby Labonte for second place and set his sights on Gordon. He was unable to match Gordon's speed, but caution flags late in the race put Martin right on Gordon's tail for a final restart. Gordon played the restart perfectly and kept the lead.
"He (Martin) drove in on me in Turn 2, and I didn't know if I could get away from him," said Gordon. "I guess when it's meant to be, it's meant to be. This is truly unbelievable."
Martin started seventh and had run in the top five most of the day, but he didn't have enough for Gordon at the end. Martin said "I just didn't have enough car. When you're leading the race, and you've got the fastest car, it's yours to give up. I tried to pressure him (Gordon), but I just didn't have enough to put the squeeze on him. We're happy to be the first loser, and we're happy to be where we are."
It was a frustrating day for Dale Jarrett. Starting from the outside pole position, he took the lead on lap 54 and had the field covered until a fuel miscalculation left him dry on the eightieth lap. Jarrett's car rolled to a stop at the pit entrance. By the time his crew pushed the car to the pit stall and serviced him, Jarrett found himself four laps down. "I ran out of gas. I had a great race car. That's all I've got to say. What else do you want to know?" said an obviously frustrated Jarrett.
Despite losing four laps to the leaders at the race's midpoint, Jarrett continued to drive with fierce determination, putting his car back on the lead lap on lap 127. He finished sixteenth.
Pole sitter Ernie Irvan led the first 18 laps, losing the lead to Jeff Gordon in a first round of pit stops under yellow. He regained it after the next round of yellow flag pit stops on lap 38. Irvan relinquished the lead for the last time on lap 46. He ran in the top 10 for the rest of the day, but was never able to challenge for the lead. "We did a lot of stuff right," said Irvan, "but we need to step up more and get consistency. The car pushed a lot. I had it as loose as I could get in the beginning, but then it was too late. We'll just have to keep working on it."
Jeff Gordon's visit to the pay window was the most lucrative in the history of motorsports: $1,637,625. That included, in addition to the race prize money and awards, the $1,000,000 "Winston No Bull 5" bonus. The sum exceeds the previous record of $1,568,150 earned by Arie Luyendyk for winning the 1997 Indianapolis 500.
Ken Plotkin and David Reininger - Motorsport News International
Motorsport News International's Internet Access in Indianapolis Provided by **** WebNet Indianapolis **** * Phone 1-888-WEB-NET-8 * 313-295-6227 * * http://www.wnol.net * email@example.com *