Martinsville Jarrett wins Virginia 500

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 8, 2001) – Dale Jarrett led only six laps of Sunday’s Virginia 500 Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. But that was all he needed to pick up his first career win on the .526-mile oval. Jarrett slipped...

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 8, 2001) – Dale Jarrett led only six laps of Sunday’s Virginia 500 Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. But that was all he needed to pick up his first career win on the .526-mile oval. Jarrett slipped past teammate Ricky Rudd on lap 495 and pulled away for a 1.388-second win over Rudd. “I’ve been racing here for a long time, going all the way back to about 1980,” said Jarrett, who picked up $170,027 for the victory, his third of the season. “It’s changed a lot, but this is a great race track. It’s a beautiful facility and a great place for the fans,” Jarrett said after his win in front of a sellout crowd of over 86,000. Rudd, who led 50 laps, was followed by Jeff Burton. Jarrett, Rudd and Burton all drove Fords. Bobby Hamilton was fourth in a Chevrolet while Sterling Marlin was fifth in a Dodge. Jarrett was running fifth when caution came out on lap 414 and he made a pit stop for fresh tires. He left the pits in 12th and slowly worked his way toward the front. “Todd (crew chief Todd Parrott) made a great call there to come in and get tires and adjust the car and we weren’t good enough to win the way we were,” said Jarrett. “I think we would’ve really struggled if we hadn’t made the stop. That was the key.” Rudd didn’t come in for tires when Jarrett did and that created problems at the end. “I don’t know if we got outsmarted or they just made a luckier call,” Rudd said of the decision not to stop. “It would’ve been nice to get a victory, but it just wasn’t meant to be today.” It was Rudd’s best finish since he won at Martinsville in September of 1998 and his third top-five finish in his last six races at Martinsville. Burton started third and was consistent all day to record his best finish of the season. “You can say a lot about this team. One thing you can’t say about it is we don’t quit and we won’t quit,” said Burton after recording his second top-10 finish of the year. “It hasn’t been a good year, but there’s a whole lot of racing left to go. I know we got a really, really good race team and we aren’t going to get down.” Hamilton led the most laps, 130, but fell back after a late pit stop and had to work his way back through the field. “We came from like 15th, 16th or 17th, something like that, to finish fourth,” said Hamilton. “So it was a good day. The guys worked their tails off on this thing.” Rounding out the top 10 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, followed by Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Jimmy Spencer and Jerry Nadeau. Jarrett padded his Winston Cup points lead over Gordon. Jarrett left Martinsville with a 123-point lead over Gordon.

-Steve Sheppard

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Jimmy Spencer , Sterling Marlin , Jerry Nadeau