2000 NAPA 500

The 2000 NAPA 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that was held on November 20, 2000, at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. It was originally scheduled for November 19 but was postponed due to rain and run on Monday.

2000 NAPA 500
Race details[1]
Race 34 of 34 in the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Atlanta Motor Speedway (1997-present configuration)
Atlanta Motor Speedway (1997-present configuration)
Date November 20, 2000 (2000-November-20)
Official name NAPA 500
Location Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Georgia
Course Permanent racing facility
1.54 mi (2.502 km)
Distance 328 laps, 500.5 mi (813.12 km)
Weather Cold with temperatures of 55.4 °F (13.0 °C); wind speeds of 18.1 miles per hour (29.1 km/h)
Average speed 141.296 mph (227.394 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Hendrick Motorsports
Time 28.537 seconds
Most laps led
Driver Jerry Nadeau Hendrick Motorsports
Laps 155
No. 25 Jerry Nadeau Hendrick Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network ESPN
Announcers Bob Jenkins
Benny Parsons
Ned Jarrett

Jerry Nadeau won the race for his only NASCAR Winston Cup Series victory. Scott Wimmer would begin his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career at this event by leading nine laps and coming home a respectable 22nd while Darrell Waltrip would end his racing career at this event.[2] Bobby Labonte, who had clinched the Winston Cup championship the previous week by finishing 4th in the Pennzoil 400 presented by Discount Auto Parts, finished 5th.[3]

Many of the historic driver/sponsor combinations would never be used again after this race; for example, the famous Jeff Gordon "rainbow car" with the DuPont sponsorship would not return for the 2001 season, in favor of a flame-themed color pattern that would last from 2001 to approximately 2011. This was also the final ESPN NASCAR broadcast for 7 years, and also for the broadcast trio of Bob Jenkins, Benny Parsons, and Ned Jarrett. Jenkins would remain with ESPN, Ned Jarrett retired and Benny Parsons would resurface on NBC's telecast of NASCAR racing from 2001-2006.

Atlanta Motor Speedway would never again host the closing event for the NASCAR Cup Series after the conclusion of this racing event. It was to host the final race in 2001 but because of the September 11 attacks, the New Hampshire 300, originally scheduled for September 16, was moved to the week following the NAPA 500 and became that year's season finale. The final race of the season moved to Homestead-Miami Speedway in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season; where it remains until 2019.


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.[4] The standard track at Atlanta Motor Speedway is a four-turn quad-oval track that is 1.54 miles (2.48 km) long.[5] 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.[5]

Race reportEdit

It wasn't uncommon for a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race in the 1990s to have only three to five cars on the lead lap. If someone spun, didn't hit the wall or anyone else, and could fire it up and get going, there would be no reason to wave a caution flag for multiple laps. Between 8-12 cars on the lead lap was considered to be a typical performance at a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race during the 1990s; a far cry compared to the more than 15 cars on the lead lap at short track in the current NASCAR.

Approximately 14% of the race was run under a caution flag; the average green flag run was 31 laps. Several accidents and oil spills caused eight caution periods for 44 laps.[2] Three hundred and twenty-five laps were completed in 3 hours, 32 minutes and 32 seconds. Jerry Nadeau beat Dale Earnhardt to the finish line by 1.338 seconds to win the race (his first and only victory in Winston Cup competition). ESPN's Bob Jenkins, calling his last Winston Cup event for ESPN, called the finish thus:

Back in March of '81, Darrell Waltrip took the checkered flag to win the very first race we televised on ESPN...and in November of 2000...Jerry Nadeau wins the final race on ESPN!

As the competitors of the race completed lap 320, Dale Earnhardt finally achieved the feat of completing 10000 laps in a single NASCAR Winston Cup Series season before his death at the 2001 Daytona 500.[2] The race was officially started shortly after 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time and finished at approximately 4:32 PM EST.[6]

Atlanta Motor Speedway, the race track where the race was held.

Geoff Bodine finished last due to an engine problem on lap 11. Buckshot Jones was the lowest finisher to complete the event, finishing in 37th place, 48 laps behind the lead lap drivers.[2] Jeremy Mayfield had a winning racecar that was forced to leave the race on lap 53 due to engine problems; this performance was typical of his 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season.[2] Darrell Waltrip finishes 34th in his final Cup start and 7 laps behind Jerry Nadeau; even though it was certainly not the "victory tour" that he had planned.[2] For the 2001 season, Waltrip would begin working as a color commentator for Fox Sports' coverage of Winston Cup racing. Waltrip's retirement also ended a rocky relationship between himself and Travis Carter Motorsports that lasted since the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season.

In the views of certain fans, the final years of Waltrip's NASCAR career had involved him taking a metaphorical back seat to Jeff Gordon; who was a rising star back then. Darrell Waltrip's career with Fox Sports commenced with the Budweiser Shootout on February 11, 2001. The following week, Waltrip provided commentary for the fateful Daytona 500 race in which the death of Dale Earnhardt occurred on that race's final lap. Thankfully, the sport has gotten much safer since Dale Earnhardt was killed behind the wheel in 2001, and drivers like Ryan Newman are still with us. The sport has become more technology-dependent in the 21st century, however, and pure driving skill has been thrown aside in favor of luck-based strategies which involves the use of the ever-advancing technology and complicated mathematics involving angles and estimating the vehicles' maximum velocity.

43 drivers, all born in the United States of America qualified for the NAPA 500, driving either Chevrolet, Ford or Pontiac cars. 13 other drivers failed to qualify, including Dick Trickle, Hut Stricklin, Morgan Shepherd and Hermie Sadler.[2] Individual race earnings for each driver ranged from $180,550 to Jerry Nadeau ($268,051 when adjusted for inflation) to $34,982 to last-place finisher Geoff Bodine ($51,936 when adjusted for inflation). The total purse for the event was $2,336,442 ($3,468,770 when adjusted for inflation).[7]

Notable crew chiefs who actively participated in this race included Robin Pemberton, Jimmy Fenning, Tony Eury, Sr., Greg Zipadelli, Donnie Wingo, Larry McReynolds, Hut Stricklin, Jeff Hammond among others.[8]

This was the last NASCAR race of the 20th century and of the 2nd millennium. While the price of gasoline and oil would remain cheap throughout the first five years of the 21st century, the constant threat of fossil fuel depletion eventually caused NASCAR to adopt electronic fuel injection as a fuel-saving measure. Concern for the environment also caught the eye of NASCAR officials during the 21st century; they would make an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint that NASCAR elevated during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.[9][10][11]

The 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season was when the average NASCAR fan could see some changes in the pecking order brewing. Matt Kenseth was an excellent young contender who could compete alongside Steve Park and Dale Earnhardt Junior. Fourteen different drivers would win, which was a substantial number back then.[12]

At least five of the drivers involved in this race are no longer living as of 2020; including Blaise Alexander,[13][14] Dick Trickle,[15] Dale Earnhardt,[16] Bobby Hamilton,[17] and John Andretti. Only Kurt Busch still remains in the NASCAR Cup Series from this race; making him one of NASCAR's elder statesmen.


Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Speed[18] Qualifying time[18] Owner Sponsor
1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 194.274 28.537 Rick Hendrick Dupont Automotive Finishes
2 25 Jerry Nadeau Chevrolet 193.299 28.681 Rick Hendrick Michael Holigan Homes
3 88 Dale Jarrett Ford 193.157 28.702 Yates Racing Ford Quality Care
4 93 Dave Blaney Pontiac 193.157 28.792 Bill Davis Amoco Ultimate
5 46 Todd Bodine Ford 192.253 28.837 Travis Carter Big Kmart/Route 66 Jeans
6 6 Mark Martin Ford 192.073 28.864 Jack Roush Valvoline/Cummins
7 12 Jeremy Mayfield Ford 191.987 28.877 Michael Kranefuss Mobil 1
8 3 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet 191.403 28.965 Richard Childress GM Goodwrench Service Plus
9 18 Bobby Labonte Pontiac 191.278 28.984 Joe Gibbs Interstate Batteries
10 75 Wally Dallenbach, Jr. Ford 191.113 29.009 Darwin Oordt TBS Dinner & A Movie/Pizza Hut

Top 20 finishersEdit

Pos[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Laps led Time/Status
1 25 Jerry Nadeau Chevrolet 325 155 3:32:32
2 3 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet 325 12 +1.338 seconds
3 22 Ward Burton Pontiac 325 96 Lead lap under green flag
4 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 325 4 Lead lap under green flag
5 18 Bobby Labonte Pontiac 325 4 +1 laps
6 31 Mike Skinner Chevrolet 325 1 +1 laps
7 2 Rusty Wallace Ford 325 0 +1 laps
8 40 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet 325 0 +1 laps
9 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 324 0 +2 laps
10 10 Johnny Benson, Jr. Pontiac 324 0 +2 laps
11 94 Bill Elliott Ford 324 0 +2 laps
12 99 Jeff Burton Ford 324 0 +2 laps
13 77 Robert Pressley Ford 324 6 +2 laps
14 46 Todd Bodine Ford 324 0 +2 laps
15 88 Dale Jarrett Ford 323 2 +3 laps
16 4 Bobby Hamilton Chevrolet 323 0 +3 laps
17 5 Terry Labonte Chevrolet 323 0 +3 laps
18 93 Dave Blaney Pontiac 323 0 +3 laps
19 43 John Andretti Pontiac 323 0 +3 laps
20 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Chevrolet 322 0 +4 laps


Section reference:[2]

  • Start of race: Jeff Gordon started the race with the pole position.
  • Lap 5: Jerry Nadeau took over the lead from Jeff Gordon.
  • Lap 11: Geoffrey Bodine had an engine problem, making him the last-place finisher.
  • Lap 14: Caution due to Geoffrey Bodine's accident, ended on lap 17.
  • Lap 18: A problematic engine forced Elliott Sadler out of the race.
  • Lap 21: Caution due to oil on the track, ended on lap 26.
  • Lap 27: Jeremy Mayfield took over the lead from Jerry Nadeau.
  • Lap 37: Mandatory competition caution handed out by NASCAR officials, ended on lap 40.
  • Lap 38: Ward Burton took over the lead from Jeremy Mayfield.
  • Lap 47: Jeremy Mayfield took over the lead from Ward Burton.
  • Lap 53: Jeremy Mayfield had to leave the race due to a faulty engine; causing Jerry Nadeau to take over the lead.
  • Lap 54: Caution due to oil on the track, ended on lap 60.
  • Lap 55: Scott Wimmer took over the lead from Jerry Nadeau.
  • Lap 64: Steve Park took over the lead from Scott Wimmer.
  • Lap 69: Caution due to Michael Waltrip's accident, ended on lap 74.
  • Lap 82: Dale Earnhardt took over the lead from Steve Park.
  • Lap 94: Jerry Nadeau took over the lead from Dale Earnhardt.
  • Lap 111: Caution due to Tony Stewart's accident, ended on lap 115.
  • Lap 112: Kenny Wallace took over the lead from Jerry Nadeau.
  • Lap 113: Jerry Nadeau took over the lead from Kenny Wallace.
  • Lap 122: Mark Martin failed to finish the race because his engine acted up.
  • Lap 125: Michael Waltrip was involved in a terminal crash.
  • Lap 130: Caution due to Michael Waltrip's second accident, ended on lap 135.
  • Lap 195: Buckshot Jones was involved in a terminal crash.
  • Lap 196: Jerry Nadeau took over the lead from Bobby Labonte.
  • Lap 257: Ward Burton took over the lead from Jerry Nadeau.
  • Lap 297: Jerry Nadeau took over the lead from Ward Burton.
  • Lap 300: Mike Skinner took over the lead from Jerry Nadeau.
  • Lap 301: Ward Burton took over the lead from Mike Skinner.
  • Lap 313: Caution due to Scott Pruett spinning out of control in the backstretch, ended on lap 318.
  • Lap 319: Jerry Nadeau took over the lead from Ward Burton.
  • Finish: Jerry Nadeau was officially declared the winner of the event.

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Bobby Labonte 5,130 0
2   Dale Earnhardt 4,865 -265
3   Jeff Burton 4,841 -289
4   Dale Jarrett 4,684 -446
5   Ricky Rudd 4,575 -555
6   Tony Stewart 4,570 -560
7   Rusty Wallace 4,544 -586
8   Mark Martin 4,410 -720
9   Jeff Gordon 4,361 -769
10   Ward Burton 4,152 -978


  1. ^ Weather information for the 2000 NAPA 500 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 2000 NAPA 500 racing information at Racing Reference
  3. ^ Notable driver-related events at the 2000 NAPA 500 at Race Database
  4. ^ "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "NASCAR Tracks—The Atlanta Motor Speedway". Atlanta Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  6. ^ Benson, Ince seek revenge in Atlanta at Motorsport.com
  7. ^ Winnings information for the 2000 NAPA 500 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
  8. ^ 2000 NAPA 500 crew chiefs at Racing Reference
  9. ^ NASCAR sets fuel injection for '12 but keeping restrictor plates at USA Today
  10. ^ NASCAR Moves to Fuel Injection, Bosch First Approved Supplier Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine at Auto Service World
  11. ^ Bosch to provide oxygen sensors for fuel injection Archived 2011-12-25 at the Wayback Machine at NASCAR.com
  12. ^ 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Results at Racing Reference
  13. ^ "BLAISE ALEXANDER (1976–2001) – ARCA Racing.com". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-10-08.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  14. ^ "BLAISE ALEXANDER – ARCA Racing.com". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-10-08.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  15. ^ Takeda, Allison. "Dick Trickle Dead: Former NASCAR Driver Dies of an Apparent Suicide at 71". Us Weekly. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  16. ^ Rodman, Dave (February 19, 2001). "Earnhardt dies following Daytona 500 accident". NASCAR.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on February 19, 2001. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
  17. ^ Woody, Larry. Friends, drivers mourn death of Hamilton[permanent dead link]. The Tennessean. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  18. ^ a b Qualifying information for the 2000 NAPA 500 at Racing Reference
Preceded by
2000 Pennzoil 400
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
2001 Daytona 500