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1997 Interstate Batteries 500

The 1997 Interstate Batteries 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series stock car race held on April 6, 1997, at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The race was the inaugural Cup Series race at the track, and it was the first time Interstate Batteries served as a sponsor for NASCAR.[2] The race was the sixth of the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. The pace car was the Chevrolet Monte Carlo Z34 with a 3.8L engine, the first of its kind to serve as a pace car.[3] As qualifying was canceled due to rain,[4] the pole position was awarded to points leader Dale Jarrett of Yates Racing. Terry Labonte of Hendrick Motorsports led the most laps with 104, while Roush Racing's Jeff Burton won the race.

1997 Interstate Batteries 500
Race details
Race 6 of 32 in the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
Simple line diagram of Texas Motor Speedway track layout
Simple line diagram of Texas Motor Speedway track layout
Date April 6, 1997 (1997-04-06)
Location Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas
Course Permanent racing facility
1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Distance 334 laps, 501 mi (806.281 km)
Weather Mild with temperatures of 71.6 °F (22.0 °C); wind speeds of 14 miles per hour (23 km/h)[1]
Pole position
Driver Yates Racing
Most laps led
Driver Terry Labonte Hendrick Motorsports
Laps 104
Winner
No. 99 Jeff Burton Roush Racing

Traffic delaysEdit

As a result of the rain, besides qualifying being canceled, many of the track's parking lots were flooded. Track owner Bruton Smith received help from the Texas Department of Transportation, which closed down a portion of Texas State Highway 170 to use it as a parking lot. Although the parking lot issue was solved, traffic concerns arose, and on race day, by 8 AM, traffic on Interstate 35W stopped 16 miles south of the track. Due to the traffic, pianist Van Cliburn, who was scheduled to perform the national anthem at the race, had his helicopter delayed and could not perform.[5]

RaceEdit

The race started with a 13-car crash on the first lap.[4] The crash was the first in a wreck-laden race, with ten cautions and 73 laps under the yellow flag,[6] the most in track history.[7] Late in the race, Jeff Burton took the lead, and led the final 58 laps of the race to win his first career Cup race. Dale Jarrett finished second, followed by Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, and Ricky Rudd.[8]

ResultsEdit

 
Dale Jarrett led the points standings after the race.

Top ten finishersEdit

Pos[8] Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Laps led Points Time/Status
1 5 99 Jeff Burton Ford 334 60 180 4:00:16
2 1 88 Dale Jarrett Ford 334 42 175 +4.067 seconds
3 4 18 Bobby Labonte Pontiac 334 2 170 Lead lap under green flag
4 3 5 Terry Labonte Chevrolet 334 104 170 Lead lap under green flag
5 8 10 Ricky Rudd Ford 334 26 160 Lead lap under green flag
6 15 3 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet 334 0 150 Lead lap under green flag
7 12 22 Ward Burton Pontiac 334 0 146 Lead lap under green flag
8 22 4 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet 334 2 147 Lead lap under green flag
9 21 21 Michael Waltrip Ford 333 0 138 +1 lap
10 35 41 Steve Grissom Chevrolet 332 0 134 +2 laps

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points Differential
1   Dale Jarrett 994 0
2   Terry Labonte 899 -95
3   Bobby Labonte 858 -136
4   Jeff Burton 837 -157
5   Jeff Gordon 810 -184
6   Ricky Rudd 775 -219
7   Geoff Bodine 740 -254
8   Ward Burton 709 -285
8   Mark Martin 709 -285
10   Dale Earnhardt 703 -291

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "1997 Interstate Batteries 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Archived from the original on 2013-07-13. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  2. ^ "Interstate History & Milestones". Interstate Batteries. Archived from the original on 2013-11-16. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  3. ^ "Chevrolet Monte Carlo Paces Texas Motor Speedway's First Race". The Auto Channel. 1997-03-27. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  4. ^ a b "Interstate Batteries 500". Derrike Cope. Archived from the original on 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  5. ^ Aumann, Mark (2011-07-15). "Retro: Traffic issues date back to early days of NASCAR". NASCAR. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  6. ^ "1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Recap". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  7. ^ Beaver, Dan (2012-11-01). "NASCAR Picks Pack: Texas". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  8. ^ a b "1997 Interstate Batteries 500". Racing-Reference. Retrieved 2013-07-03.