The hasty departure of Jeff Gordon's longtime crew chief, Ray Evernham, left little time for speculation on how the new crew chief, Brian Whitesell, might fare under the sudden turn of play. Well, as always, actions speak louder than words, and winning a second consecutive Winston Cup race is just about on par with a scream. Gordon, Whitesell, and the Hendrick Motorsports team took top honors in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte. The victory was Gordon's seventh of the year and the 49th of his career.
The lead was swapped between the likes of Mark Martin (58 laps), Dale Jarrett (32), and others, but it was Bobby Labonte who seemed to dominate the field, leading 132 of the 334-lap race. But as Labonte's tires faded, so did his chance to clinch the win.
During the final 100 or so laps, race fans saw some dazzling racing between Mike Skinner, Labonte, and Gordon. On Lap 327, however the #24 car glided past the #18 coming out of Turn 4. "We just didn't have what we needed at the end," Labonte said.
Labonte finished second; Skinner, third; Martin, fourth; and Ward Burton, fifth.
Race NotesWith his 49th career victory, Jeff Gordon moves into a tie with Rusty Wallace for 10th in all-time career wins.
The race was postponed from Sunday to Monday because of rain. Rick Hendrick (Hendrick Motorsports) stood in Victory Lane with Gordon for the first time since North Wilkesboro in 1996.
After the UAW-GM Quality 500, five races remain on the '99 schedule.
Busch SeriesTop 5 finishers of the All Pro Bumper-to-Bumper 300 held in Concord, North Carolina in early October.
1. Michael Waltrip2. Jeff Gordon3. Mike McLaughlin4. Jimmy Spencer5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Winston Cup Championship Point Standings Following The UAW-GM Quality 500
|1. Dale Jarrett ||4427 |
|2. Bobby Labonte ||4205 |
|3. Mark Martin ||4165 |
|4. Jeff Gordon ||4031 |
|5. Tony Stewart ||4004 |
|6. Jeff Burton ||3921 |
|7. Dale Earnhardt ||3859 |
|8. Rusty Wallace ||3542 |
|9. Mike Skinner ||3362 |
|10. Ward Burton ||3347 |
Race No. 29There were 21 lead changes among 10 drivers and two cautions, for a total of nine laps.Margin of victory: .851 second.Average speed: 160.306 mph.