As far as the championship goes, the NAPA 500 was on a par with a traveling circus. Sure, there's some thrill in thinking that the man on the flying trapeze might fall, and the idiot getting shot out of the cannon might backfire. But you know that deep down, everything will turn out the way it's supposed to. The only real drama comes when you have to fight the clowns in traffic when everything is over. For many, the last race of the year was nothing more than an exhibition, as Dale Jarrett had already captured the championship the previous week at Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex in Homestead, Florida.
Jarrett, however, displaying why he's the '99 Winston Cup champion, proved to be his usual consistent self by driving to a Second-Place finish. Bobby Labonte added some interest to the race by claiming his fifth victory of the season and the 12th of his career.
"This showed the character of this Interstate Batteries team," Jimmy Makar, crew chief of the victorious #18 Pontiac, said. "The championship was out of our reach, and we had only one thing that could make it a good weekend here, and that's to try to win the race."
Labonte led the most laps, 147, and dominated the second half of the race.
The win marked the third straight for owner Joe Gibbs as Labonte's teammate Tony Stewart notched wins at the previous two contests: Phoenix and Homestead.
Jeremy Mayfield, Mark Martin, and Jeff Burton rounded out the top five.aa
Race NotesTony Stewart capped off an amazing rookie season with a 15th-Place finish in the finale. Next year's potential amazing rookie, two-time Busch Series champion Dale Earnhardt Jr.finished right in front of Stewart in 14th-Place. Jeff Gordon ended the year on a misfire as engine problems relegated the DuPont Chevrolet to 38th. Ricky Rudd's streak of at least one win a year for 16 consecutive years ended in 1999 when he finished seventh in his last chance in 1999. Rudd will start fresh next year when he drives for Robert Yates.
Final Winston Cup Championship Point Standings
|1. Dale Jarrett ||5262 |
|2. Bobby Labonte ||5061 |
|3. Mark Martin ||4943 |
|4. Tony Stewart ||4774 |
|5. Jeff Burton ||4733 |
|6. Jeff Gordon ||4620 |
|7. Dale Earnhardt ||4492 |
|8. Rusty Wallace ||4155 |
|9. Ward Burton ||4062 |
|10. Mike Skinner ||4003 |
Race No. 34There were 38 lead changes among 15 drivers and eight cautions, for a total of 53 laps.