1996 Tyson Holly Farms 400
The 1996 Tyson Holly Farms 400 was the twenty-seventh stock car race of the 1996 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. It was held on September 29, 1996 at North Wilkesboro Speedway in Wilkes County, North Carolina. The 400-lap race was won by Jeff Gordon of the Hendrick Motorsports team after he started from second position. Dale Earnhardt finished second and Dale Jarrett came in third.
|Race 27 of 31 in the 1996 NASCAR Winston Cup Series|
North Wilkesboro Speedway
|Date||September 29, 1996|
|Location||North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina|
Permanent racing facility|
0.625 mi (1.006 km)
|Distance||400 laps, 250 mi (402.336 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures up to 66 °F (19 °C); wind speeds up to 6.9 miles per hour (11.1 km/h)|
|Average speed||96.837 mph (155.844 km/h)|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports|
|No. 24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Bob Jenkins, Benny Parsons, Ned Jarrett|
The victory was Gordon's tenth of the season, and the nineteenth of his career. It was the last NASCAR race to be held at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Before the race Jeff Gordon led the Drivers' Championship with 3,903 points, eighty-one ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Terry Labonte in second, with Dale Jarrett a further eighty-one points adrift in third. Dale Earnhardt was fourth on 3,562, and Mark Martin was a further seventy-nine behind in fifth place. Martin was the race's defending champion.
It was announced shortly beforehand that the Tyson Holly Farms 400 would be the last NASCAR race held at North Wilkesboro Speedway after the track was sold to promoters Bruton Smith and Bob Bahre following the death of its previous owner Enoch Staley in 1995. North Wilkesboro's two races would be taken over by Smith's Texas Motor Speedway in the spring and Bahre's New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the fall starting from 1997 as part of a schedule realignment.
First Round QualifyingEdit
First-round qualifying started at 3 P.M. on Friday. Bobby Hamilton, driving the popular #43 Petty Enterprises Pontiac, had the fastest run before rain interrupted qualifying with 13 of the 40 drivers still waiting to make their run. After a 2 1/2-hour delay qualifying resumed with Jeff Gordon, the defending series champion, being the first driver to make a qualifying lap. Gordon put his #24 Chevrolet on top of the charts with a lap of 117.937 mph. Gordon's run held until Ted Musgrave, driving for Jack Roush in the #16 Family Channel/Primestar Ford Thunderbird, won the pole with a lap of 118.054 mph. It was Musgrave's first pole of the season and the fifth and final pole of his career. Hamilton ended up 3rd, with defending race winner Mark Martin and Ernie Irvan filling out the top five starting spots.
Second Round QualifyingEdit
With only the top 25 locked in times from the first round Qualifying the previous day, Second-round qualifying allowed drivers to stand on their first-round times or make a second attempt. Only 6 drivers made a second-round attempt on Saturday. Hut Stricklin was the fastest in second-round qualifying, and Dale Jarrett also improved on his first day's effort. Race provisionals went to Geoffrey Bodine, Lake Speed, Robert Pressley, and Jeff Green. Darrell Waltrip got the past champion's provisional. Three drivers, Ward Burton, Dick Trickle and Gary Bradberry, failed to qualify.
Rain cut final practice short for Cup teams. Jeff Gordon completed just 15 laps when his car developed engine problems, later found to be debris in the carburetor.
More than 40,000 fans were in attendance to see the final Winston Cup Series race at North Wilkesboro on Sunday. Many fans carried signs with messages such as, "We'll miss you North Wilkesboro," or "Farewell Old Friend". ESPN provided Television coverage of the race as it had since 1982. It was the 30th Winston Cup Series race broadcast from the track by ESPN.
The race started at 1 P.M. on Sunday. From the 2nd starting spot, Jeff Gordon jumped out past pole sitter Ted Musgrave to lead the first few laps of the race. On lap 22 the first caution came out for debris on the track. Gordon had a dominant car throughout the race. An accident on the front-stretch between Ernie Irvan, Kyle Petty and Bobby Hamilton brought out the 2nd caution on lap 72. At halfway, Gordon lead and collected the $10,000 halfway leader bonus. Another caution came out on lap 261 for oil on the track. Robert Pressley's accident in turn 3 brought out the final caution on lap 315. With 79 laps to go, Gordon moved past Dale Earnhardt on a restart and took the lead for the final time. Gordon would win the race by 1.73 seconds over Earnhardt. Dale Jarrett, Jeff Burton and Terry Labonte rounded out the top five. It was Gordon's 10th win of the season and third win in a row after victories at Dover and Martinsville. The highest-finishing rookie, Johnny Benson, finishing 17th. Pole sitter Ted Musgrave failed to lead a lap and ended up finished 19th in the 37-car field. The race featured 18 Lead changes between 8 different drivers throughout the day with Gordon leading a race-high 207 laps. Every car that started the race was running at the finish.
|1||2||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||400||running||207||185|
|2||11||3||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||400||running||35||175|
|3||30||88||Dale Jarrett||Robert Yates Racing||Ford||400||running||0||165|
|4||14||99||Jeff Burton||Roush Racing||Ford||400||running||2||165|
|5||16||5||Terry Labonte||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||400||running||0||155|
|6||28||1||Rick Mast||Precision Products Racing||Pontiac||400||running||0||150|
|7||21||10||Ricky Rudd||Rudd Performance Motorsports||Ford||400||running||17||151|
|8||3||43||Bobby Hamilton||Petty Enterprises||Pontiac||400||running||48||147|
|9||4||6||Mark Martin||Roush Racing||Ford||400||running||29||143|
|10||9||2||Rusty Wallace||Penske Racing South||Ford||400||running||43||139|
|11||13||4||Sterling Marlin||Morgan-McClure Motorsports||Chevrolet||400||running||0||130|
|12||10||21||Michael Waltrip||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||399||running||0||127|
|13||18||18||Bobby Labonte||Joe Gibbs Racing||Chevrolet||399||running||0||124|
|14||19||75||Morgan Shepherd||Butch Mock Motorsports||Ford||399||running||0||121|
|15||27||81||Kenny Wallace||FILMAR Racing||Ford||399||running||0||118|
|16||26||8||Hut Stricklin||Stavola Brothers Racing||Ford||399||running||0||115|
|17||6||30||Johnny Benson, Jr.||Bahari Racing||Pontiac||398||running||0||112|
|18||24||25||Ken Schrader||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||398||running||0||109|
|19||1||16||Ted Musgrave||Roush Racing||Ford||398||running||0||106|
|20||32||23||Jimmy Spencer||Travis Carter Enterprises||Ford||398||running||0||103|
|21||12||94||Bill Elliott||Bill Elliott Racing||Ford||398||running||0||100|
|22||20||41||Ricky Craven||Larry Hedrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||397||running||0||97|
|23||31||11||Brett Bodine||Brett Bodine Racing||Ford||397||running||0||94|
|24||23||98||John Andretti||Cale Yarborough Motorsports||Ford||397||running||0||91|
|25||34||9||Lake Speed||Melling Racing||Ford||397||running||0||88|
|26||29||87||Joe Nemechek||NEMCO Motorsports||Chevrolet||396||running||0||85|
|27||37||17||Darrell Waltrip||Darrell Waltrip Motorsports||Chevrolet||396||running||0||82|
|28||15||37||Jeremy Mayfield||Kranefuss-Haas Racing||Ford||395||running||0||79|
|29||22||71||Dave Marcis||Marcis Auto Racing||Chevrolet||395||running||0||76|
|30||33||7||Geoffrey Bodine||Geoff Bodine Racing||Ford||394||running||0||73|
|31||25||42||Kyle Petty||Team SABCO||Pontiac||394||running||0||70|
|32||36||29||Jeff Green||Diamond Ridge Motorsports||Chevrolet||394||running||0||67|
|33||35||33||Robert Pressley||Leo Jackson Motorsports||Chevrolet||392||running||0||64|
|34||17||15||Wally Dallenbach, Jr.||Bud Moore Engineering||Ford||391||running||0||61|
|35||8||77||Bobby Hillin, Jr.||Jasper Motorsports||Ford||389||running||0||58|
|36||5||28||Ernie Irvan||Robert Yates Racing||Ford||388||running||19||60|
|37||7||12||Derrike Cope||Bobby Allison Motorsports||Ford||369||running||0||52|
- Time of race: 2:34:54
- Average Speed: 96.837 mph
- Pole Speed: 118.054 mph
- Cautions: 4 Cautions for 29 laps
- Margin of Victory: 1.73 seconds
- Lead changes: 18 between 8 drivers
- Percent of race run under caution: 7.25%
- Average green flag run: 74.2 Laps
The results meant Gordon extended his lead in the Drivers' Championship, ahead of Labonte and Jarrett. Earnhardt and Martin rounded out the top five positions. The race took two hours. thirty-four minutes and fifty-four seconds to complete, and the margin of victory was 1.73 seconds.
- "1996 Tyson Holly Farms 400". Racing-Reference. USA Today Sports Media Group. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
- "Weather Information for North Wilkesboro, North Carolina". Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
- "1996 Official Driver Standings: Hanes 500". NASCAR. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on October 1, 2009. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
- McKee, Sandra (September 28, 1996). "NASCAR takes last lap at roots Racing: With tomorrow's Holly Farms 400, NASCAR bids goodbye to its oldest track, North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway". The Baltimore Sun. North Wilkesboro, North Carolina: Tribune Publishing. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
- Harris, Mike (September 26, 1996). "NASCAR says goodbye to North Wilkesboro". The Advocate-Messenger. North Wilkesboro, North Carolina: Schurz Communications. Associated Press. p. 16. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
- "1996 Official Driver Standings: Tyson/Holly Farms 400". NASCAR. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on October 1, 2009. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
1996 Hanes 500
|Winston Cup Series
1996 UAW-GM Quality 500