1998 Daytona 500
|Race 1 of 33 in the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season|
Daytona International Speedway
|Date||February 15, 1998|
|Location||Daytona International Speedway|
|Course|| Permanent racing facility |
2.5 mi (4.02336 km)
|Distance||200 laps, 500 mi (804.672 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures up to 70 °F (21 °C); wind speeds up to 14 miles per hour (23 km/h)|
|Average speed||172.712 miles per hour (277.953 km/h)|
|Driver||Bobby Labonte||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|Qualifying race winners|
|Duel 1 Winner||Sterling Marlin||SABCO Racing|
|Duel 2 Winner||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing|
| No. 3
|| Dale Earnhardt
||Richard Childress Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Mike Joy, Buddy Baker and Ned Jarrett|
|Nielsen Ratings|| 8.6/23 |
(13.0 million viewers)
The 1998 Daytona 500, the 40th running of "The Great American Race", was run on February 15, 1998. It is memorable in that it marked Dale Earnhardt's only Daytona 500 victory after 19 previous attempts and many heartbreaking finishes. Not only was it Earnhardt's 20th 500 start, but also CBS's 20th consecutive live broadcast of the Daytona 500. Also, his long-awaited Daytona 500 win snapped a 59-race winless streak dating back to Atlanta Motor Speedway in March of 1996.
The race was remarkably clean for a restrictor plate race. There were only three cautions - all of which were for minor incidents (as well, there were no accident-related retirements), and there was a pit stop incident that involved Dale Jarrett, Jeff Burton and Derrike Cope but no caution was waved. The race was run under the green flag for the first 125 laps. This resulted in it being the third-fastest Daytona 500 ever, behind the 1980 Daytona 500 won by Buddy Baker, and the fastest of the restrictor plate era.
The race began with emphasis on NASCAR's 50th Anniversary Celebration. The pre-race show on CBS featured some of the greatest Daytona 500 finishes in recent memory. It also detailed the famous Daytona Beach Road Course and it featured Russ Truelove, Buck Baker, Tim Flock, Red Farmer and Junior Johnson on the Daytona Beach with one of Tim Flock's old "Full Jeweled" #300 Chryslers.
In the mid stage of the event, green flag pit stops were still in progress with Jeff Gordon leading, and were on pace of breaking the average speed of 1980. Then Ward Burton cut down a tire leaving debris on the track, thus bringing out the first caution.
Late in the race with a possibility of another green flag stop, John Andretti and Robert Pressley made contact and spun together in turn 2. Which led to the final stops. Dale Earnhardt came out first, Michael Waltrip had a penalty after running over a hose while pitting, thus held back at the rear of the pack.
Lap 198 (Caution #3)
Dale Earnhardt led Bobby Labonte and Jeremy Mayfield heading into turn 2. Lake Speed and John Andretti, who already was spun out at the same corner, got together and both cars spun, setting up a scenario where Earnhardt, Labonte, and Mayfield were all in contention for the win. With 1½ laps, the three came up on the lapped car of Rick Mast. Earnhardt easily passed Mast on the outside. Labonte lost Earnhardt's draft while Mayfield sped to the inside of Mast. Earnhardt led Labonte and Mayfield, who were side by side. Earnhardt took the white and yellow flags in first while Labonte edged Mayfield for second by a fender. The race would end under the caution flag.
|1||4||3||Dale Earnhardt||GM Goodwrench Service Plus||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||200||107||Running|
|2||1||18||Bobby Labonte||Interstate Batteries||Joe Gibbs Racing||Pontiac||200||22||Running|
|3||13||12||Jeremy Mayfield||Mobil 1||Penske-Kranefuss Racing||Ford||200||0||Running|
|4||31||33||Ken Schrader||Skoal Bandit||Andy Petree Racing||Chevrolet||200||0||Running|
|5||12||2||Rusty Wallace||Miller Lite||Penske-Kranefuss Racing||Ford||200||4||Running|
|6||10||36||Ernie Irvan (W)||Skittles||MB2 Motorsports||Pontiac||200||0||Running|
|7||21||97||Chad Little||John Deere||Roush Racing||Ford||200||0||Running|
|8||8||31||Mike Skinner||Lowe's||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||200||1||Running|
|9||6||21||Michael Waltrip||Citgo||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||200||0||Running|
|10||19||94||Bill Elliott (W)||McDonald's||Elliott-Marino Racing||Ford||200||0||Running|
|11||39||44||Kyle Petty||Hot Wheels/Blues Brothers 2000||PE2 Motorsports||Pontiac||200||0||Running|
|12||22||4||Bobby Hamilton||Kodak MAX Film||Morgan-McClure Motorsports||Chevrolet||200||0||Running|
|13||2||5||Terry Labonte||Kellogg's Corn Flakes||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||200||2||Running|
|14||32||50||Ricky Craven||Budweiser||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||200||0||Running|
|15||7||23||Jimmy Spencer||Winston/No Bull||Travis Carter Motorsports||Ford||200||0||Running|
|16||29||24||Jeff Gordon (W)||DuPont Refinishes||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||200||56||Running|
|17||16||9||Lake Speed||Cartoon Network||Melling Racing||Ford||200||0||Running|
|18||17||43||John Andretti||STP||Petty Enterprises||Pontiac||200||0||Running|
|19||38||28||Kenny Irwin, Jr. (R)||Texaco/Havoline||Robert Yates Racing||Ford||199||0||Flagged|
|20||37||16||Ted Musgrave||Primestar||Roush Racing||Ford||199||0||Flagged|
|21||16||13||Jerry Nadeau (R)||FirstPlus Loans||Elliott-Marino Racing||Ford||199||0||Flagged|
|22||3||40||Sterling Marlin (W)||Coors Light||SABCO Racing||Chevrolet||199||2||Flagged|
|23||23||73||Mike Wallace||X-1R||Barkdoll Racing||Chevrolet||199||0||Flagged|
|24||42||11||Brett Bodine||Paychex||Scandia-Bodine Racing||Ford||199||0||Flagged|
|25||9||22||Ward Burton||MBNA||Bill Davis Racing||Pontiac||199||0||Flagged|
|26||28||42||Joe Nemechek||BellSouth||SABCO Racing||Chevrolet||199||0||Flagged|
|27||34||90||Dick Trickle||Heilig-Meyers/Simmons||Donlavey Racing||Ford||198||0||Flagged|
|28||41||41||Steve Grissom||Kodiak||Larry Hedrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||198||0||Flagged|
|29||18||95||Andy Hillenburg (R)||Shoney's Inns||Sadler Brothers Racing||Chevrolet||198||0||Flagged|
|30||27||75||Rick Mast||Remington Arms||Butch Mock Motorsports||Ford||197||0||Flagged|
|31||25||7||Geoff Bodine (W)||Philips Consumer Communications||Mattei Bodine Racing||Ford||197||0||Flagged|
|32||30||77||Robert Pressley||Jasper Engines||Jasper Motorsports||Ford||197||0||Flagged|
|33||43||17||Darrell Waltrip (W)||Speedblock/Builders Square||Darrell Waltrip Motorsports||Chevrolet||196||0||Flagged|
|34||5||88||Dale Jarrett (W)||Ford Quality Care Service/Ford Credit||Robert Yates Racing||Ford||196||0||Flagged|
|35||36||47||Billy Standridge (R)||Team Fans Can Race||Standridge Auto Racing||Ford||196||0||Flagged|
|36||35||71||Dave Marcis||Realtree Camouflage||Marcis Auto Racing||Chevrolet||193||0||Flagged|
|37||11||30||Derrike Cope (W)||Gumout||Bahari Racing||Pontiac||191||0||Flagged|
|38||15||6||Mark Martin||Valvoline/Cummins||Roush Racing||Ford||187||0||Flagged|
|39||24||98||Greg Sacks||Thorn Apple Valley||Cale Yarborough Motorsports||Ford||173||0||Flagged|
|40||14||99||Jeff Burton||Exide Batteries||Roush Racing||Ford||160||0||Engine|
|41||33||1||Steve Park (R)||Pennzoil||Dale Earnhardt, Inc.||Chevrolet||158||0||Ignition|
|42||40||10||Ricky Rudd||Tide||Rudd Performance Motorsports||Ford||117||0||Ignition|
|43||20||91||Kevin Lepage (R)||Little Joe's Auto||LJ Racing||Chevrolet||78||0||Engine|
Failed to Qualify
|46||Wally Dallenbach, Jr.||First Union||SABCO Racing||Chevrolet|
|81||Kenny Wallace||Square D||FILMAR Racing||Ford|
|96||David Green (R)||Caterpillar||American Equipment Racing||Chevrolet|
|78||Gary Bradberry (R)||Pilot Travel Centers||Triad Motorsports||Ford|
|29||Jeff Green (R)||Team Monte Carlo||Diamond Ridge Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|79||Norm Benning (R)||NuTemplate:Dn/Hart Hair||T.R.I.X. Racing||Chevrolet|
|8||Hut Stricklin||Circuit City||Stavola Brothers Racing||Chevrolet|
|14||Loy Allen, Jr.||Delco Remy America||Precision Products Racing||Pontiac|
|80||Mike Ciochetti (R)||Hughes Supply||Hover Motorsports||Ford|
|59||Mark Gibson (R)||The Commercial Bank||CSG Motorsports||Ford|
|26||Johnny Benson||Cheerios||Roush Racing||Ford|
|35||Todd Bodine||Tabasco||ISM Racing||Pontiac|
|07||Dan Pardus (R)||Midwest Transit||Midwest Transit Racing||Chevrolet|
|85||Randy Renfrow (R)||n/a||Mansion Motorsports||Ford|
- "Jean Shepherd once said, 'If horse racing is the sport of kings, then auto racing; this furious, and sometimes brutal game, is the sport of friends. New, or old; come along, friend, and enjoy the Great American Race!'"—Ken Squier during CBS's prerace broadcast.
- "Earnhardt uses the lap car of Rick Mast to them as the pick...20 years of trying, 20 years of frustration, Dale Earnhardt will come to the Caution flag to win the Daytona 500...FINALLY!!!."—Mike Joy commentating the final seconds of the Daytona 500.
- "Look, out on pit road! Every man on every crew has come out to the edge of pit lane to congratulate the man who has dominated everything there is to win in this sport, except this race; until today."—Mike Joy on the crew members congratulating Dale Earnhardt on his Daytona 500 victory.
- "The most anticipated moment in the history of motor racing, Dale Earnhardt rolling into Victory Lane in the Daytona 500"—Mike Joy during the broadcast
- "Dale was like a kid at Christmas, and there was a time where I just wanted to sit back and just watch him"--Larry McReynolds on Earnhardt's win.
- "It took ten years off my life, if I had made that race, I would have lived another ten years"—Rick Mast on missing the 1997 Daytona 500 after making the 1998 race.
- "The Daytona 500 is ours. We won it, we won it, we won it!" Dale Earnhardt in victory lane during post race TV interview
- "The 20 year quest is over"—Ken Squier in victory lane after Dale Earnhardt's makes the entrance to victory lane.
- "It will make the strongest man on earth cry when you win this race, it's really special.--Buddy Baker on Earnhardt's win.
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