Open main menu

The 1995 NAPA 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on November 12, 1995, at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia.

1995 NAPA 500
Race details[1]
Race 31 of 31 in the 1995 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Atlanta Motor Speedway, the race track where the race was held.
Atlanta Motor Speedway, the race track where the race was held.
Date November 12, 1995 (1995-November-12)
Official name NAPA 500
Location Atlanta International Raceway, Hampton, Georgia
Course Permanent racing facility
1.522 mi (2.449 km)
Distance 328 laps, 499.2 mi (803.3 km)
Weather Temperatures ranging between 30 °F (−1 °C) and 66 °F (19 °C); wind speeds reaching of 12 miles per hour (19 km/h)
Average speed 163.633 miles per hour (263.342 km/h)
Pole position
Driver DarWal Inc.
Most laps led
Driver Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing
Laps 268
No. 3 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing
Television in the United States
Network ESPN
Announcers Bob Jenkins
Benny Parsons
Ned Jarrett


Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of ten intermediate to hold NASCAR races; the others are Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Homestead Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway.[2] The standard track at Atlanta Motor Speedway is a four-turn quad-oval track that is 1.54 miles (2.48 km) long.[3] The track's turns are banked at twenty-four degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, and the back stretch are banked at five.[3]

Race reportEdit

Dale Earnhardt defeated Sterling Marlin by nearly four seconds after 22 lead changes during the event, with a record low of two safety car periods totaling eleven laps.[4][5] Earnhardt started in 11th place and came back from behind to win this race, which set a new race record for fastest 500-mile Cup race race at the circuit in 3 hours, 3 minutes, 3 seconds, with an average speed of 163.633 MPH, a record that still stands after the 2019 season at the circuit.[4][5][6] Dale Earnhardt obviously had to dominate this race and they set up a very aggressive engine package and did just that as nobody could touch him and the engine held up for the win.[4][5]

Darrell Waltrip scored his 59th pole position with a qualifying time of 29.6099 seconds for an average speed of 185.046 miles per hour or 297.803 kilometres per hour, in what would be the final pole of his illustrious Hall of Fame career.[4] Ken Schrader finished dead last in this race in a coincidental manner; his engine blew and happened to be the one that clinched it for Jeff Gordon's championship. Ken had terrible luck all year in 1995.[4][5] The #26 of Hut Stricklin would be involved in an accident on the third turn.[4] Billy Standridge, Jack Sprague, Mike Wallace, Shane Hall, Delma Cowart, and Eric Smith would fail to qualify for this race.[7] Out of the 42-driver grid, only six of them would not finish the race.[4][5] All 42 of the qualifying drivers were born in the United States of America.[4]

Most of the field would have Chevrolet and Ford as their manufacturer while Pontiac would bring a limited number of vehicles.[4][5] The average speed of the race was 163.632 miles per hour or 263.340 kilometres per hour.[4][5] Jeff Gordon would go on to win the 1995 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship after this race. Gordon went with the least aggressive engine package they had all season to say the least, only needing to finish 41st and wanting to take no chance that it wouldn't fire or would blow up on the warm up laps or as soon as the green dropped. To say the least, the car was terribly slow, pretty much field filler slow; his vehicle managed to cough up a meager 32nd-place finish.[4][5] Junior Johnson would make his final appearance in this race as a car owner. He sold his team to Brett Bodine during the off-season.[4][5]

Some of the more notable crew chiefs to fully participate in this race were Robin Pemberton, Andy Petree, Donnie Wingo, Cecil Gordon, Ray Evernham, Larry McReynolds, and Tim Brewer.[8]

There was an opportunity for Dale Earnhardt to defeat Jeff Gordon by one point. Had Dale Earnhardt won the race and Jeff Gordon either finished in 42nd place, Earnhardt would have won the championship. Kenny Bernstein would retire from his career as a NASCAR team owner to spend more time with his family after this race.


Grid[4] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 17 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet Darrell Waltrip
2 10 Ricky Rudd Ford Ricky Rudd
3 43 Bobby Hamilton Pontiac Petty Enterprises
4 15 Dick Trickle Ford Bud Moore
5 98 Jeremy Mayfield Ford Cale Yarborough
6 2 Rusty Wallace Ford Roger Penske
7 30 Michael Waltrip Pontiac Chuck Rider
8 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Rick Hendrick
9 6 Mark Martin Ford Jack Roush
10 41 Ricky Craven Chevrolet Larry Hedrick
11 3 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Richard Childress
12 5 Terry Labonte Chevrolet Rick Hendrick
13 1 Rick Mast Ford Richard Jackson
14 26 Hut Stricklin Ford Kenny Berstein
15 94 Bill Elliott Ford Bill Elliott
16 7 Geoffrey Bodine Ford Geoffrey Bodine
17 16 Ted Musgrave Ford Jack Roush
18 4 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet Larry McClure
19 8 Jeff Burton Ford Stavola Brothers
20 11 Brett Bodine Ford Junior Johnson
21 18 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet Joe Gibbs
22 37 John Andretti Ford Michael Kranefuss
23 31 Gary Bradberry Chevrolet Allan Dillard, Jr.
24 12 Derrike Cope Ford Bobby Allison
25 19 Loy Allen, Jr. Ford Mark Smith

Top twenty finishersEdit

Pos[4] No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Laps led Time/Status
1 3 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet 328 268 3:03:03
2 4 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet 328 6 +3.74 seconds
3 2 Rusty Wallace Ford 328 0 Lead lap under green flag
4 94 Bill Elliott Ford 328 17 Lead lap under green flag
5 22 Ward Burton Pontiac 328 0 Lead lap under green flag
6 23 Jimmy Spencer Ford 328 0 Lead lap under green flag
7 88 Ernie Irvan Ford 327 0 +1 lap
8 18 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 327 13 +1 lap
9 77 Bobby Hillin, Jr. Ford 327 0 +1 lap
10 10 Ricky Rudd Ford 327 11 +1 lap
11 7 Geoffrey Bodine Ford 327 0 +1 lap
12 30 Michael Waltrip Pontiac 326 0 +2 laps
13 5 Terry Labonte Chevrolet 326 0 +2 laps
14 87 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 326 0 +2 laps
15 37 John Andretti Ford 325 0 +3 laps
16 17 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet 325 3 +3 laps
17 6 Mark Martin Ford 325 0 +3 laps
18 98 Jeremy Mayfield Ford 325 0 +3 laps
19 9 Lake Speed Ford 324 0 +4 laps
20 11 Brett Bodine Ford 324 0 +4 laps


Section reference: [4]

  • Start of race: Darrell Waltrip had the pole position to start the race
  • Lap 2: Ricky Rudd took over the lead from Darrell Waltrip
  • Lap 7: Bobby Hamilton took over the lead from Ricky Rudd
  • Lap 16: Ricky Rudd took over the lead from Bobby Hamilton
  • Lap 18: Dale Earnhardt took over the lead from Ricky Rudd
  • Lap 55: Darrell Waltrip took over the lead from Dale Earnhardt
  • Lap 56: Sterling Marlin took over the lead from Darrell Waltrip
  • Lap 61: Jeff Gordon took over the lead from Sterling Marlin
  • Lap 62: Bill Elliott took over the lead from Jeff Gordon
  • Lap 64: Dale Earnhardt took over the lead from Bill Elliott
  • Lap 72: Caution for debris; ended on lap 77
  • Lap 82: Dale Earnhardt took over the lead from Ricky Rudd
  • Lap 92: Ken Schrader became the last-place finisher due to a faulty engine
  • Lap 104: Robert Pressley had problems with his engine, forcing him to end the race early
  • Lap 138: Dale Earnhardt took over the lead from Bobby Labonte
  • Lap 141: Todd Bodine's engine started acting up, ending his NASCAR race weekend prematurely
  • Lap 194: Steve Grissom's transmission stopped working properly, causing him to be the fourth DNF
  • Lap 201: Dale Earnhardt took over the lead from Bobby Labonte
  • Lap 202: Hut Stricklin had a terminal crash
  • Lap 204: Caution due to Hut Stricklin's accident, ended on lap 208
  • Lap 270: Dale Earnhardt took over the lead from Bill Elliott
  • Lap 289: Dave Marcis' engine gave out, making him the 37th-place finisher in the race
  • Finish: Dale Earnhardt was officially declared the winner of the event

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[4] Differential
1   Jeff Gordon 4614 0
2   Dale Earnhardt 4580 -34
3   Sterling Marlin 4361 -253
4   Mark Martin 4320 -294
5   Rusty Wallace 4240 -374
6   Terry Labonte 4146 -468
7   Ted Musgrave 3949 -665
8   Bill Elliott 3746 -868
9   Ricky Rudd 3734 -880
10   Bobby Labonte 3718 -896


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1995 NAPA 500 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Archived from the original on September 12, 2010. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "NASCAR Tracks—The Atlanta Motor Speedway". Atlanta Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p 1995 NAPA 500 racing results at Racing Reference
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i 1995 NAPA 500 results at Race-Database
  6. ^ NASCAR Race Results for the 1995 NAPA 500 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
  7. ^ Qualifying information for the 1995 NAPA 500 at Racing Reference
  8. ^ 1995 NAPA 500 crew chiefs at Racing Reference
Preceded by
1995 Dura Lube 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1996 Daytona 500