|Indianapolis Motor Speedway
BRICKYARD 400 WINNERS
| Year Winner Avg MPH # of Cautions
2 for 7 Laps
3 for 12 Laps
9 for 32 Laps
6 for 25 Laps
5 for 21 Laps
1 for 4 Laps
6 for 25 Laps
Joe Gibbs Racing
Ricky Rudd Racing
Robert Yates Racing
Richard Childress Racing
Rick Hendrick Racing
Rundown: Jeff Gordon, who grew up dominating short-track races across
Indiana, returned for his — and NASCAR's -- first race at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. He was the youngest driver in that race at age 23, but he was
already developing into a top-flight Cup driver, having earned his first career
win at the Coca-Cola 600. He started third and led 93 laps on the way to an
Quote: Gordon took an extra celebratory lap. Why? "I had to get all the tears
wiped off my face."
Brotherly love? Brothers Geoff and Brett Bodine had been feuding that
season, and it carried over on the track. They hit each other while battling for
the lead; Geoff crashed while Brett got through on the way to finishing second.
Rundown: Rain delayed the race for several hours and many fans had gone
home, assuming a postponement. But the race started in late afternoon and
continued until dusk. Dale Earnhardt started 13th and brushed the wall early in
the race but no damage was done. He didn't lead until the 133th lap, but
maintained it the rest of the way.
Quote: At the time, Earnhardt had seemingly won everything except the
Daytona 500. "To go out and make accomplishments like this, it gives you
confidence. I'm looking forward to going to Daytona in 1996 and be a contender
to win the Daytona 500. We've won more races there than anybody else. I'm tied
here." He won the 1998 Daytona 500 but was killed in the 2001 Daytona 500.
Who's Who on his tail: Rusty Wallace finished second in a race that had only
one caution flag. Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon — the
previous year's winner — finished third through sixth.
Rundown: Jarrett started the race 24th, but he trailed only teammate Ernie
Irvan with 13 laps to go. Jarrett found an opportunity to get by when Irvan slid
toward the outside wall going through Turn 1 on Lap 154. Jarrett also slid but
managed to get by. Irvan never gave up, but he couldn't get by Jarrett, who
Quote: "We knew we were going to finish 1-2," Jarrett said about himself
and Irvan. "It was a matter of which one was going to finish first."
Bummer: Irvan had also been in position to win the inaugural Brickyard 400
two years earlier before a cut tire forced him to give up the lead. Having
another close call, well … "This is more heartbreaking than getting the flat
tire," Irvan said.
Rundown: Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon, already winners at the Brickyard,
heartbreak kid Ernie Irvan and Mark Martin were battling up front when a
caution at Lap 147 prompted some pit stops that put Rudd in the lead. When
the race resumed, Rudd held off all of them on Indy's low-banked track. The
win gave Rudd at least one in each of 15 straight seasons.
Quote: "The fastest guy doesn't always win the race; I've had 'em get away
from me too. You've got to be smart . . . and sometimes you've got to be a
Shrug of the shoulders: "It's hard sometimes not to win when you've got the
best car, but that's just the way it goes some days and Ricky did a great job,"
said Jarrett, who wound up third.
Rundown: There were challengers aplenty for Gordon, but misfortune struck
them all. Dale Jarrett ran out of fuel on the track, taking him off the pace.
Mark Martin had a poor pit stop, costing him precious seconds. Some Fords
that had been strong early – driven by Jeremy Mayfield, Jeff Burton and
Rusty Wallace – couldn't keep pace. Martin battled back but never caught up.
Gordon, who led 97 laps, got his second Brickyard 400 win and 35th Cup
Quote: "We didn't win this race. A couple of fast Fords lost it. We were lucky.
Flat lucky. We could have just as easily finished third."
Big money: Gordon won $1,637,625. It doesn't sound that huge now, but it
was the largest single-day check in motor sports history at the time, even
larger than any awarded the Indianapolis 500 winner.
Rundown: Jarrett brought the same car he had driven in the 1998 Brickyard
400, in which he ran out of fuel at the mid-point. The car performed splendidly,
leading 117 laps on the way to his second win at the Speedway.
Quote: "The engine was so good, I could beat anybody on the
straightaways." – Jarrett
No chance: Jarrett's foes knew early on they didn't have the horsepower to
win. "They made sure they didn't run out of gas today, then they killed
everybody," said third-place finisher Jeff Gordon.
Lament: Jarrett's team, owned by Robert Yates, still regretted its decision-
making a year earlier. "We shed a lot of tears last year. We couldn't even joke
about running out of gas for about six months," Yates said.
Rundown: It was becoming monotonous for Labonte. He had trailed Rusty Wallace
for dozens of laps, unable to mount a charge. With a little more than 14 laps to go,
Wallace bobbled in the third turn, allowing Labonte an opening for a pass and the
victory. Labonte ended up winning by a dominating 4.229 seconds.
Quote: "All I had seen for forever was blue, blue, blue (of Wallace's rear)," Labonte
said. "When I saw something else, I just gassed it and held on. Once I got by, I didn't
Rusty's lament: "I lost the damn (Brickyard) race in '94 and '95 … but today I just
kind of got outrun the last 25 laps," Wallace said.
Bittersweet: Labonte's victory was tempered a bit because his brother, Terry,
wasn't racing. Terry Labonte had competed in 655 consecutive Cup races before a
concussion suffered a month earlier stopped the streak.