Rahul Sharma

1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series

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1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series

The 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season was the 49th season of professional stock car racing in the United States, the 26th modern era NASCAR Cup series, and the first of the final 4 Cup seasons of the 20th Century and the 2nd millennium. It began on February 9 and ended on November 16. Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports was crowned champion at season's end. It was Gordon's second championship.

Contents

Busch Clash

The Busch Clash, a race for polewinners from the previous season, and drivers who have won the event before, was run on February 9 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Terry Labonte drew the pole. The race was broadcast on CBS.

Top ten results

  1. Jeff Gordon
  2. Rusty Wallace
  3. Dale Earnhardt
  4. Ward Burton
  5. Ernie Irvan
  6. Mark Martin
  7. Dale Jarrett
  8. Ricky Craven
  9. Johnny Benson

Gatorade 125s

The Gatorade Twin 125s were run on February 13 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Mike Skinner and Steve Grissom were the polesitters for races one and two, respectively. The races were broadcast tape-delayed on CBS just prior to the Daytona 500.

Race one results

  1. 88-Dale Jarrett
  2. 31-Mike Skinner
  3. 28-Ernie Irvan
  4. 23-Jimmy Spencer
  5. 4-Sterling Marlin
  6. 6-Mark Martin
  7. 10-Ricky Rudd
  8. 18-Bobby Labonte
  9. 22-Ward Burton
  10. 29-Robert Pressley

Race two results

  1. 3-Dale Earnhardt
  2. 24-Jeff Gordon
  3. 94-Bill Elliott
  4. 33-Ken Schrader
  5. 21-Michael Waltrip
  6. 2-Rusty Wallace
  7. 30-Johnny Benson
  8. 5-Terry Labonte
  9. 40-Robby Gordon
  10. 17-Darrell Waltrip

39th Daytona 500

The 1997 Daytona 500 was run on February 16 at Daytona International Speedway. The #31 of Mike Skinner won the pole. The race ended under caution after a big crash with five laps remaining involved several cars. The race was broadcast on CBS.

  1. 24-Jeff Gordon
  2. 5-Terry Labonte
  3. 25-Ricky Craven
  4. 94-Bill Elliott
  5. 4-Sterling Marlin
  6. 37-Jeremy Mayfield
  7. 6-Mark Martin
  8. 22-Ward Burton
  9. 10-Ricky Rudd
  10. 17-Darrell Waltrip

Failed to qualify: 91-Mike Wallace, 95-Gary Bradberry, 78-Billy Standridge, 15-Larry Pearson, 42-Joe Nemechek, 97-Chad Little, 75-Rick Mast, 96-David Green*, 0-Delma Cowart, and 84-Norm Benning.

  • Robert Pressley's car caught air after he spun on Lap 10. The rear of the car lifted so much, the car was temporarily sliding across the track on its nose. The landing was quite hard, so after the crew repaired the car, then Busch Series competitor and future 2 time Camping World Truck Series Champion Todd Bodine hopped in to complete more laps.
  • Joe Nemechek's car owner Felix Sabates bought the #73 entry of Phil Barkdoll, who had qualified 38th. Nemechek went to the #73 for the 500.
  • Dale Earnhardt rolled his #3 Chevrolet in a crash with the #28 Ford of Ernie Irvan while in a four-way battle for the lead with 12 laps to go. In the crash, the hood of Irvan's car flew into the backstretch grandstand, injuring some fans. Earnhardt famously noticed that his tires were still on the car after the roll, had his car taken off the hook, and drove it back to pit road. The car was repaired and Earnhardt finished the race, 5 laps down in 31st. The car can be found in diecast form in 1:64 and 1:24 scale and is known to collectors as the "crash car" and the only diecast car to be replicated of a crash.
  • At age 25, Jeff Gordon became the youngest Daytona 500 winner ever until Trevor Bayne in 2011. Richard Petty had previously been the youngest winner in 1964, when he won the 500 at age 26.
  • Hendrick Motorsports posted a 1-2-3 finish with Gordon winning the race, Terry Labonte finishing second, and Ricky Craven finishing in third.
  • Goodwrench Service 400

    The Goodwrench Service 400 was run on February 23 at North Carolina Speedway. The #6 of Mark Martin won the pole. The race was broadcast on TNN.

    Top ten results

    1. 24-Jeff Gordon
    2. 88-Dale Jarrett
    3. 99-Jeff Burton
    4. 10-Ricky Rudd
    5. 25-Ricky Craven
    6. 2-Rusty Wallace
    7. 5-Terry Labonte
    8. 7-Geoff Bodine
    9. 28-Ernie Irvan
    10. 1-Morgan Shepherd
  • With this victory, Jeff Gordon became the fourth driver to win the Daytona 500 and the second race of the season.
  • Pontiac Excitement 400

    The Pontiac Excitement 400 was held March 2 at Richmond International Raceway. Terry Labonte won the pole. The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Top ten results

    1. 2-Rusty Wallace
    2. 7-Geoff Bodine
    3. 88-Dale Jarrett
    4. 24-Jeff Gordon
    5. 43-Bobby Hamilton
    6. 10-Ricky Rudd
    7. 5-Terry Labonte
    8. 18-Bobby Labonte
    9. 30-Johnny Benson
    10. 44-Kyle Petty
  • This was the last Winston Cup race at Richmond International Raceway scheduled for the daytime (excluding three races that were rain-delayed from Saturday night) until 2016, and the last time that the first Richmond race of the season was held in March, due to the cold, wet weather that is often seen at Richmond in late winter.
  • Primestar 500

    The Primestar 500 was run on March 9 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. The #40 of Robby Gordon won the pole. The race was broadcast on ABC.

    Top ten results

    1. 88-Dale Jarrett
    2. 28-Ernie Irvan
    3. 1-Morgan Shepherd
    4. 18-Bobby Labonte
    5. 99-Jeff Burton
    6. 6-Mark Martin
    7. 21-Michael Waltrip
    8. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    9. 5-Terry Labonte
    10. 43-Bobby Hamilton

    Failed to qualify: 29-Robert Pressley, 36-Derrike Cope, 46-Wally Dallenbach, Jr., 71-Dave Marcis, 77-Bobby Hillin, Jr., 95-Ed Berrier, 08-Mike Miller

  • This was the final race held on the 1.522-mile (2.449 km) configuration of Atlanta Motor Speedway. Renovations had already started that would turn the racetrack into a 1.54-mile (2.48 km) quad-oval.
  • This race was red flagged on lap 282 due to a crash involving the #41 of Steve Grissom. The #23 of Jimmy Spencer had spun out off Turn 2 and was hit by the #31 of Mike Skinner. Grissom spun to avoid this wreck and hit the inside wall near where there was a gate allowing infield access for motorhomes. Because of this, the car hit the wall tail first, breaking the wall, shearing the fuel cell out of the car and putting Grissom on his roof. The #91 of Mike Wallace backed off the throttle upon seeing the accident, which caused his exhaust to throw flames right over the fuel cell (which was sitting along the outside wall at the end of the backstretch). This caused a significant fire. Grissom was not seriously injured.
  • TranSouth Financial 400

    The TranSouth Financial 400 was held March 23 at Darlington Raceway. Dale Jarrett won the pole. The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Until Kevin Harvick's win in this event on April 12, 2014, this would be the last Darlington race to be won by a polesitter.


    Top ten results

    1. 88-Dale Jarrett
    2. 16-Ted Musgrave
    3. 24-Jeff Gordon
    4. 99-Jeff Burton
    5. 18-Bobby Labonte
    6. 2-Rusty Wallace
    7. 21-Michael Waltrip
    8. 33-Ken Schrader
    9. 7-Geoff Bodine
    10. 30-Johnny Benson

    Failed to qualify: 41-Steve Grissom, 78-Billy Standridge, 90-Dick Trickle

  • This was Phil Parsons last Winston Cup start
  • Interstate Batteries 500

    The inaugural Interstate Batteries 500 was held April 6 at Texas Motor Speedway. Dale Jarrett won the pole. This was the first race held at the track, and the first NASCAR race in the state of Texas since 1981. The race was broadcast on CBS.

    Top ten results

    1. 99-Jeff Burton*
    2. 88-Dale Jarrett
    3. 18-Bobby Labonte
    4. 5-Terry Labonte
    5. 10-Ricky Rudd
    6. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    7. 22-Ward Burton
    8. 4-Sterling Marlin
    9. 21-Michael Waltrip
    10. 41-Steve Grissom

    Failed to Qualify: 19-Gary Bradberry, 27-Rick Wilson, 29-Robert Pressley, 46-Wally Dallenbach Jr., 66-H. B. Bailey, 74-Randy LaJoie, 95-Ed Berrier, 96-David Green, 02-Mike Bliss

  • This was Jeff Burton's first career Winston Cup victory.
  • This race was marred by two huge crashes. The first occurred just after the start between turns 1 and 2, which involved at least 15 cars, including Dale Earnhardt, who was able to continue. Near the halfway point of the race, Rusty Wallace struck the wall off turn 4 and dropped oil on the track near the tri-oval, into which Mike Skinner, Brett Bodine and Sterling Marlin spun. Ernie Irvan, who was catching up to race leader Terry Labonte to try to get a lap back ahead of the caution, got into the oil and slammed into the back of slower-moving #20 Ford of Greg Sacks. Irvan hit the outside wall of the tri-oval and was then hit from behind by Jeff Gordon.
  • Ricky Craven suffered a concussion in a practice crash and was forced to sit out. This was the beginning of a series of injuries that adversely affected Craven's career over the next 4 years. Todd Bodine subbed for Craven in this race and ran very well until he crashed out of the lead.
  • Food City 500

    The Food City 500 was held April 13 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Rusty Wallace won the pole. the race had 20 cautions for 132 laps to set a Bristol record for the first time since 1989. The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Top ten results

    1. 24-Jeff Gordon
    2. 2-Rusty Wallace
    3. 5-Terry Labonte
    4. 88-Dale Jarrett
    5. 6-Mark Martin
    6. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    7. 94-Bill Elliott
    8. 97-Chad Little
    9. 37-Jeremy Mayfield
    10. 11-Brett Bodine

    Failed to qualify: 20-Greg Sacks, 77-Bobby Hillin, Jr., 78-Billy Standridge, 91-Mike Wallace

  • This race had 20 cautions for 132 laps. The 20 cautions at the time tied a record for most cautions with the 1989 spring event at Bristol. However, this race had an additional 34 laps run under caution compared to the 1989 event.
  • On the last lap, Jeff Gordon rooted Rusty Wallace out of the way in Turn 4 to win the race. Wallace barely was able to hold off Terry Labonte for 2nd.
  • Jack Sprague subbed for Ricky Craven in this race due to Craven's injury at Texas last weekend.
  • Goody's Headache Powder 500

    The Goody's Headache Powder 500 was held April 20 at Martinsville Speedway. Kenny Wallace won the pole. It was FILMAR Racing's first career pole of the season. The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Top ten results

    1. 24-Jeff Gordon
    2. 43-Bobby Hamilton
    3. 6-Mark Martin
    4. 5-Terry Labonte
    5. 2-Rusty Wallace
    6. 81-Kenny Wallace
    7. 37-Jeremy Mayfield
    8. 18-Bobby Labonte
    9. 17-Darrell Waltrip
    10. 33-Ken Schrader

    Failed to qualify: 19-Gary Bradberry, 20-Lance Hooper, 78-Billy Standridge, 79-Randy MacDonald, 96-David Green

  • Winner Jeff Gordon was spun out at one point of the race by Jimmy Spencer, but was able to recover from the spin to win the race.
  • Ricky Craven returned to the #25 Chevrolet after missing 2 races due to the concussion he suffered at Texas. He finished 22nd, 2 laps down.
  • Jeff Gordon led 431 of the 500 laps in this race, the most laps he has led in a single race in his career.
  • Save Mart Supermarkets 300

    The Save Mart Supermarkets 300 was held May 4 at Sears Point International Raceway. Mark Martin won the pole. The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Top ten results

    1. 6-Mark Martin
    2. 24-Jeff Gordon
    3. 5-Terry Labonte
    4. 88-Dale Jarrett
    5. 17-Darrell Waltrip
    6. 11-Brett Bodine
    7. 21-Michael Waltrip
    8. 28-Ernie Irvan
    9. 99-Jeff Burton
    10. 22-Ward Burton

    Failed to Qualify:

    42-Joe Nemechek, 75-Rick Mast, 78w-Chuck Pruitt, 90-Dick Trickle, 96-David Green, 09-R.K. Smith

  • The Melling Racing #9 team technically did not make the trip to Sears Point due to a lack of funding. However, they allowed Jeff Davis' Winston West Series team to use their number on their Ford so that the Melling team could get the owners' points. Davis ended up crashing out of the race, finishing 37th.
  • This was the last race for the Winston Cup Series on the 2.52-mile (4.06 km) configuration at Sears Point Raceway. After this event, a purpose-built section was added for the NASCAR weekend.
  • After David Green failed to qualify, Caterpillar put their logos on the #35 Ford driven by Larry Gunselman, one of the Winston West teams. Gunselman started the race, but Green did get in the car and drive at one point.
  • The #19 Child Support Recovery Ford for Tri-Star Motorsports that was driven by Gary Bradberry in the race was actually qualified by Ken Pedersen, a driver in Winston West at the time.
  • The #78 Ford for Triad Motorsports tapped Tom Hubert, a crew member for Bahari Racing, to qualify the #78 in 2nd round qualifying. When Hubert (who had some road racing experience in other classes) qualified fast enough to earn the 27th starting spot in the race, Hubert was put in the car for the race to temporarily replace the team's regular driver, Billy Standridge.
  • Winston 500

    The Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway was originally scheduled for Sunday April 27, but rain forced the race to be postponed. Teams returned on Saturday May 10 (Mother's Day weekend), and the race was held under sunny skies.

    John Andretti started from the pole position. The race was run caution-free, the first time in Talladega history. It also stands as the fastest 500-mile (800 km) race in NASCAR history (at 188.354 mph (303.126 km/h), a record that still stands). The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Top ten results

    1. 6-Mark Martin
    2. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    3. 18-Bobby Labonte
    4. 98-John Andretti
    5. 24-Jeff Gordon
    6. 5-Terry Labonte
    7. 23-Jimmy Spencer
    8. 99-Jeff Burton
    9. 30-Johnny Benson
    10. 28-Ernie Irvan

    Failed to Qualify:

    19-Gary Bradberry, 42-Joe Nemechek*, 91-Mike Wallace

  • Joe Nemechek drove the #40 Chevrolet in place of Robby Gordon during this race since Gordon was attempting to do the Indy-Charlotte double in 1997. As a result of the rescheduled race, it conflicted with Pole Day at Indianapolis. As part of the contract that Gordon signed with SABCO Racing, owner Felix Sabates provided a team for Gordon to attempt Indianapolis with. As for Nemechek, he finished 19th, 1 lap down in Gordon's car.
  • This was the last race for the #20 Ford for Ranier-Walsh Racing. The acquisition of their sponsor Hardees by CKE Restaurants resulted in the company pulling sponsorship of the team. Without sponsorship, the team shut its doors. The #20 car would remain inactive until 1999, when Tony Stewart drove it for Joe Gibbs Racing.
  • Winston Open

    The Winston Open was held before The Winston All Star Race on May 17 at Charlotte Motor Speedway as a last chance qualifier race for the cars that had not won a race yet in 1997 or late 1996 and was not a past champion. Chad Little won the pole. The winner of this race would qualify to be in The Winston All Star Race.

    Top ten results

    1. 25-Ricky Craven
    2. 41-Steve Grissom
    3. 9-Lake Speed
    4. 97-Chad Little
    5. 8-Hut Stricklin
    6. 46-Wally Dallenbach, Jr.
    7. 30-Johnny Benson
    8. 33-Ken Schrader
    9. 98-John Andretti
    10. 31-Mike Skinner

    The Winston

    The Winston is the All Star Race for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17 after the Winston Open Race. Drivers have to qualify; Win a race since last years The Winston race, Win the Winston Open qualifier race, or Win one of The Winston All Star Races from the past 5 years. This race was run in 3 segments with 2 30 segments and a 10 lap shootout segment for a total of 70 laps. Bill Elliott won the pole. Dale Jarrett won the first segment and Bobby Labonte won the second segment. The final segment results are post in the top ten below. The race was broadcast on TNN.

    Top ten final segment results

    1. 24-Jeff Gordon
    2. 18-Bobby Labonte
    3. 5-Terry Labonte
    4. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    5. 23-Jimmy Spencer
    6. 6-Mark Martin
    7. 88-Dale Jarrett
    8. 25-Ricky Craven
    9. 10-Ricky Rudd
    10. 94-Bill Elliott
  • All 50 laps of The Winston Open were run under green. The only caution flag in The Winston came on lap 4 of the first segment, when Bobby Labonte spun coming off turn 4.
  • Coca-Cola 600

    The Coca-Cola 600 was held May 25 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon won the pole. The race was shortened to 333 laps due to time issues after a long rain delay; it was after 1:00 am EDT when the race was completed. The race was broadcast on TBS.

    Top ten results

    1. 24-Jeff Gordon
    2. 2-Rusty Wallace
    3. 6-Mark Martin
    4. 94-Bill Elliott
    5. 99-Jeff Burton
    6. 18-Bobby Labonte
    7. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    8. 5-Terry Labonte
    9. 1-Morgan Shepherd
    10. 10-Ricky Rudd

    Failed to Qualify:

    71-Dave Marcis, 77-Bobby Hillin Jr., 91-Mike Wallace, 95-Ed Berrier, 97-Chad Little

  • Race shortened to 333 laps (499.5 Miles) due to rain.
  • Geoff Bodine suffered a concussion in a practice crash on the Wednesday before the race in Turn 1. As a result, Geoff tapped his younger brother Todd to drive his #7 Ford in the race. However, the engine blew after Todd had made a run up through the field, leaving him with a 42nd-place finish.
  • Miller 500

    The Miller 500 was held June 1 at Dover Downs International Speedway. The #18 of Bobby Labonte won the pole. The race was broadcast on TNN.

    Top ten results

    1. 10-Ricky Rudd
    2. 6-Mark Martin
    3. 99-Jeff Burton
    4. 37-Jeremy Mayfield
    5. 44-Kyle Petty
    6. 33-Ken Schrader
    7. 21-Michael Waltrip
    8. 94-Bill Elliott
    9. 31-Mike Skinner
    10. 4-Sterling Marlin

    Failed to qualify: 78-Billy Standridge, 95-Ed Berrier

  • This was the last 500-mile (800 km) race held at Dover.
  • Robby Gordon, in a rather freak incident during the Indianapolis 500, suffered significant burns to his legs early on when an invisible fire started in the cockpit of his #42 Chevy-powered G-Force. This forced him to sit out for a couple of weeks. Wally Dallenbach Jr. subbed for Gordon at Dover, finishing 36th after suffering electrical problems. He was credited with completing 364 laps of the 500 lap distance.
  • Pocono 500

    The Pocono 500 was held June 8 at Pocono Raceway. The #43 of Bobby Hamilton won the pole. The race was broadcast on TNN.

    Top ten results

    1. 24-Jeff Gordon
    2. 99-Jeff Burton
    3. 88-Dale Jarrett
    4. 6-Mark Martin
    5. 37-Jeremy Mayfield
    6. 16-Ted Musgrave
    7. 17-Darrell Waltrip
    8. 7-Geoff Bodine
    9. 5-Terry Labonte
    10. 3-Dale Earnhardt
  • Greg Sacks was tapped to sub for Robby Gordon in the #40 starting here at Pocono. He qualified 4th, but spun into the wall coming out of Turn 1 on Lap 9 immediately in front of Jeff Gordon.
  • Miller 400

    The Miller 400 was held June 15 at Michigan Speedway. Dale Jarrett won the pole. The race was broadcast on CBS.

    Top ten results

    1. 28-Ernie Irvan*
    2. 94-Bill Elliott
    3. 6-Mark Martin
    4. 16-Ted Musgrave
    5. 24-Jeff Gordon
    6. 88-Dale Jarrett
    7. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    8. 36-Derrike Cope
    9. 18-Bobby Labonte
    10. 30-Johnny Benson
  • This was Ernie Irvan's final Winston Cup victory, and it came at the very same track where he had almost lost his life three years earlier. He had tears in his eyes as he brought the 28 car into Victory Lane. The win also came in his last year with Robert Yates Racing.
  • This was the 1st career Winston Cup start for Jerry Nadeau in the #1 Pontiac for Precision Products Racing. He replaced Morgan Shepherd in the car.
  • California 500 Presented by NAPA

    The inaugural California 500 Presented by NAPA was held June 22 at California Speedway. The #42 of Joe Nemechek won the pole. The race was broadcast on ABC.

    Top ten results

    1. 24-Jeff Gordon
    2. 5-Terry Labonte
    3. 10-Ricky Rudd
    4. 16-Ted Musgrave
    5. 23-Jimmy Spencer
    6. 18-Bobby Labonte
    7. 29-Jeff Green
    8. 88-Dale Jarrett
    9. 25-Ricky Craven
    10. 6-Mark Martin

    Failed to qualify: 78-Billy Standridge, 81-Kenny Wallace, 91-Mike Wallace*

  • After Mike Wallace failed to qualify for the race, his team hastily entered the 200-mile (320 km) Winston West race which was run the day before the Winston Cup race. He finished 3rd to Ken Schrader in that race.
  • Mark Martin ran out of gas with 10 laps to go and was forced to the pits for additional fuel. However, they did not get enough fuel in the car. This resulted in Martin running out of gas again on the last lap and having to coast to the line.
  • Pepsi 400

    The Pepsi 400 was held July 5 at Daytona International Speedway. The #31 of Mike Skinner won the pole. The race was broadcast on ESPN, for the last time.

    Top ten results

    1. 98-John Andretti
    2. 5-Terry Labonte
    3. 4-Sterling Marlin
    4. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    5. 88-Dale Jarrett
    6. 2-Rusty Wallace
    7. 44-Kyle Petty
    8. 99-Jeff Burton
    9. 28-Ernie Irvan
    10. 18-Bobby Labonte

    Failed to qualify: 7-Geoff Bodine, 29-Jeff Green, 91-Loy Allen

  • This was John Andretti's first Winston Cup career win.
  • This was the last July race at Daytona scheduled to run during the day. The 2014 Coke Zero 400 was run during the day, but only after being postponed due to rain the previous night.
  • The race ended with a 1 lap shootout, likely the last such shootout in the Winston Cup Series. As a result of the cars going 4 wide into Turn 3, there was a multi-car wreck, with profane radio commentary from one of the spotters.
  • It was also Cale Yarborough's first and only victory as a car owner.
  • Jiffy Lube 300

    The Jiffy Lube 300 was held July 13 at New Hampshire International Speedway. The #33 of Ken Schrader won the pole. The race was broadcast on TNN.

    Top ten results

    1. 99-Jeff Burton
    2. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    3. 2-Rusty Wallace
    4. 41-Steve Grissom
    5. 6-Mark Martin
    6. 94-Bill Elliott
    7. 5-Terry Labonte
    8. 28-Ernie Irvan
    9. 10-Ricky Rudd
    10. 7-Geoff Bodine

    Pennsylvania 500

    The Pennsylvania 500 was held July 20 at Pocono Raceway. The #42 of Joe Nemechek won the pole. The race was broadcast on TBS.

    Top ten results

    1. 88-Dale Jarrett
    2. 24-Jeff Gordon
    3. 99-Jeff Burton
    4. 16-Ted Musgrave
    5. 6-Mark Martin
    6. 31-Mike Skinner
    7. 23-Jimmy Spencer
    8. 44-Kyle Petty
    9. 37-Jeremy Mayfield
    10. 94-Bill Elliott

    Brickyard 400

    The Brickyard 400 was held August 3 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ernie Irvan won the pole. The race was broadcast on ABC.

    Top ten results

    1. 10-Ricky Rudd
    2. 18-Bobby Labonte
    3. 88-Dale Jarrett
    4. 24-Jeff Gordon
    5. 37-Jeremy Mayfield
    6. 6-Mark Martin
    7. 30-Johnny Benson
    8. 94-Bill Elliott
    9. 31-Mike Skinner
    10. 28-Ernie Irvan

    Failed to qualify: 1-Mike Wallace, 7-Geoff Bodine, 8-Hut Stricklin, 61-Tim Steele, 71-Dave Marcis, 77-Morgan Shepherd, 78-Bobby Hillin, Jr., 90-Dick Trickle

    The Bud At The Glen

    The Bud At The Glen was held August 10 at Watkins Glen International. The #34 of Todd Bodine (in a one-off Winston Cup race for Team 34 Racing, his Busch Series team at the time) won the pole. The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Top ten results

    1. 24-Jeff Gordon
    2. 7-Geoff Bodine
    3. 2-Rusty Wallace
    4. 40-Robby Gordon
    5. 6-Mark Martin
    6. 16-Ted Musgrave
    7. 94-Bill Elliott
    8. 5-Terry Labonte
    9. 41-Steve Grissom
    10. 46-Wally Dallenbach, Jr.
  • This was Jeff Gordon's 1st career victory on a road course, beginning a streak of 6 consecutive road course wins that lasted until 2000.
  • This race was the 1st career Winston Cup start for Steve Park, driving the #14 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc. He qualified well, but ended up finishing 33rd, 2 laps down.
  • DeVilbiss 400

    The DeVilbiss 400 was held August 17 at Michigan Speedway. The #30 of Johnny Benson won the pole. The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Top ten results

    1. 6-Mark Martin
    2. 24-Jeff Gordon
    3. 16-Ted Musgrave
    4. 28-Ernie Irvan
    5. 88-Dale Jarrett
    6. 18-Bobby Labonte
    7. 94-Bill Elliott
    8. 99-Jeff Burton
    9. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    10. 5-Terry Labonte

    ● Mark Martin won after coming from 2 laps down after suffering a blown left rear tire

    ● Roush Racing drivers dominated the day leading 177 of 200 laps

    Goody's Headache Powder 500

    The Goody's Headache Powder 500 was held August 23 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The #81 of Kenny Wallace won the pole. The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Top ten results

    1. 88-Dale Jarrett
    2. 6-Mark Martin
    3. 90-Dick Trickle
    4. 99-Jeff Burton
    5. 41-Steve Grissom
    6. 33-Ken Schrader
    7. 5-Terry Labonte
    8. 18-Bobby Labonte
    9. 7-Geoff Bodine*
    10. 4-Sterling Marlin

    Failed to qualify: 40-Robby Gordon, 71-Dave Marcis, 77-Morgan Shepherd

  • Jeff Gordon was spun out of the lead by Jeremy Mayfield around the halfway point of the race.
  • David Green got on his side during a crash around lap 260. He grinded along on his driver's side after getting bounced off the #36 of Derrike Cope into the wall coming off Turn 4. After sliding about 450 feet (140 m) with other cars spinning around him, the car flipped over once and got back on all 4 wheels. Green was ok.
  • Shortly after the halfway point, Geoff Bodine's crew chief Pat Tryson quit the team, apparently unhappy with the way the team was (or wasn't) being managed.
  • Mountain Dew Southern 500

    The Mountain Dew Southern 500 was held August 31 at Darlington Raceway. Bobby Labonte won the pole. The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Top ten results

    1. 24-Jeff Gordon*
    2. 99-Jeff Burton
    3. 88-Dale Jarrett
    4. 94-Bill Elliott
    5. 10-Ricky Rudd
    6. 5-Terry Labonte
    7. 18-Bobby Labonte
    8. 6-Mark Martin
    9. 21-Michael Waltrip
    10. 33-Ken Schrader

    Failed to Qualify:

    71-Dave Marcis, 77-Morgan Shepherd, 91-Greg Sacks

  • Jeff Gordon's victory made him the 2nd and final driver to win the Winston Million. The program was replaced after 1997 with the No Bull 5 program, which offered five drivers (that finished in the Top 5 of the last No Bull 5 race) the chance to win 1 million dollars.
  • Dale Earnhardt mysteriously passed out during the pace laps for the race and hit the wall. Nobody is really sure what caused this, but Earnhardt had to step out of the car for the day. Once the car was repaired, Busch Series driver Mike Dillon (the son-in-law of car owner Richard Childress) was tapped to sub in the #3. Dillon drove the car to a 30th-place finish, 85 laps down.
  • "Jeff Burton will make a challenge off the corner, onto the straightaway...but Jeff Gordon wins it!"-Bob Jenkins as Jeff Burton tried to challenge Gordon for the victory in the last corners.
  • Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400

    The Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 was held September 6 at Richmond International Raceway. The #94 of Bill Elliott won the pole. The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Top ten results

    1. 88-Dale Jarrett
    2. 99-Jeff Burton
    3. 24-Jeff Gordon
    4. 7-Geoff Bodine
    5. 2-Rusty Wallace
    6. 42-Joe Nemechek
    7. 22-Ward Burton
    8. 27-Kenny Irwin, Jr.*
    9. 16-Ted Musgrave
    10. 37-Jeremy Mayfield
  • This was Kenny Irwin, Jr.'s 1st career Winston Cup start.
  • CMT 300

    The CMT 300 was held September 14 at New Hampshire International Speedway. The #33 of Ken Schrader won the pole. The race was broadcast on TNN.

    Top ten results

    1. 24-Jeff Gordon
    2. 28-Ernie Irvan
    3. 43-Bobby Hamilton
    4. 41-Steve Grissom
    5. 25-Ricky Craven
    6. 88-Dale Jarrett
    7. 23-Jimmy Spencer
    8. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    9. 6-Mark Martin
    10. 8-Hut Stricklin
  • This was the 1st September race held at New Hampshire International Speedway. The race date was acquired as part of the purchase of North Wilkesboro Speedway in 1996 that resulted in its dates being split.
  • Jeff Burton had an inner ear problem and required relief from Todd Bodine.
  • MBNA 400

    The MBNA 400 was held September 21 at Dover Downs International Speedway. Mark Martin won the pole. The race was broadcast on TNN.

    Top ten results

    1. 6-Mark Martin
    2. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    3. 44-Kyle Petty
    4. 18-Bobby Labonte
    5. 88-Dale Jarrett
    6. 10-Ricky Rudd
    7. 24-Jeff Gordon
    8. 94-Bill Elliott
    9. 28-Ernie Irvan
    10. 75-Rick Mast

    Failed to qualify: 14-Steve Park

  • This was the first 400-mile (640 km) race at Dover.
  • Hanes 500

    The Hanes 500 was held September 29 at Martinsville Speedway. Ward Burton won the pole. The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Top ten results

    1. 99-Jeff Burton
    2. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    3. 43-Bobby Hamilton
    4. 24-Jeff Gordon
    5. 94-Bill Elliott
    6. 81-Kenny Wallace
    7. 22-Ward Burton
    8. 25-Ricky Craven
    9. 33-Ken Schrader
    10. 28-Ernie Irvan
  • Jeff Burton inherited the lead after leader Rusty Wallace jumped a restart and was black flagged as a result.
  • Steve Park drove the #40 Chevrolet in place of Robby Gordon, who was subbing for Dario Franchitti at the inaugural Marlboro 500 CART race at California Speedway. Park blew an engine early and finished 41st. Ironically, Franchitti would drive the 40 car in 2008, 11 years later.
  • UAW-GM Quality 500

    The UAW-GM Quality 500 was held October 5 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The #7 of Geoff Bodine won the pole. The race was broadcast on TBS.

    Top ten results

    1. 88-Dale Jarrett
    2. 18-Bobby Labonte
    3. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    4. 6-Mark Martin
    5. 24-Jeff Gordon
    6. 99-Jeff Burton
    7. 94-Bill Elliott
    8. 22-Ward Burton
    9. 44-Kyle Petty
    10. 30-Johnny Benson

    Failed to qualify: 14-Steve Park, 15-Greg Sacks, 17-Darrell Waltrip, 31-Mike Skinner, 40-Elliott Sadler*, 71-Dave Marcis, 75-Rick Mast

  • This was the first career start for Kevin Lepage in the #91 Chevrolet. He finished 40th after wrecking.
  • Early in the race, there was an unusual water seapage problem on the backstretch. This resulted in the track near the outside wall in the middle of the backstretch being wet to the point where cars were kicking up spray. This did not cause any problems, however.
  • This was the first race for ISM Racing's #35 Pontiac with Todd Bodine as the driver. The car qualified well, then sank to the rear of the field and eventually finished 26th, 4 laps down.
  • DieHard 500

    The DieHard 500 was held October 12 at Talladega Superspeedway. Ernie Irvan won the pole. Like many Talladega races, the story was "the Big One" - collecting 23 cars on lap 140 after Jeff Gordon cut a tire and turned into traffic. Mark Martin was furious after the wreck, and made an infamous quote. "I hate restrictor plate racing" he said while being interviewed by a pit reporter. The race was broadcast on CBS.

    Top ten results

    1. 5-Terry Labonte
    2. 18-Bobby Labonte
    3. 98-John Andretti
    4. 33-Ken Schrader
    5. 28-Ernie Irvan
    6. 25-Ricky Craven
    7. 44-Kyle Petty
    8. 7-Geoff Bodine
    9. 75-Rick Mast
    10. 2-Rusty Wallace

    Failed to qualify: 8-Hut Stricklin, 22-Ward Burton, 29-Jeff Green, 78-Gary Bradberry, 95-Ed Berrier

  • The top 5 (T. Labonte, B. Labonte, Andretti, Schrader, Irvan) became the first drivers eligible for the Winston No Bull 5 million-dollar bonus for next season, meaning that if any of them were to win the 1998 Daytona 500, they would receive an extra $1 million.
  • With this win Terry Labonte became only the second Chevrolet driver to win a race in 1997. Jeff Gordon had all of the other wins for Chevrolet in 1997.
  • Last top-5 finish for Ernie Irvan
  • AC Delco 400

    The AC Delco 400 was held October 27 at North Carolina Speedway. Bobby Labonte won the pole. The race was broadcast on TNN.

    Top ten results

    1. 43-Bobby Hamilton
    2. 88-Dale Jarrett
    3. 25-Ricky Craven
    4. 24-Jeff Gordon
    5. 90-Dick Trickle
    6. 6-Mark Martin
    7. 5-Terry Labonte
    8. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    9. 4-Sterling Marlin
    10. 42-Joe Nemechek

    Failed to qualify: 11-Brett Bodine, 71-Dave Marcis

    Dura Lube 500 Presented by Kmart

    The Dura Lube 500 Presented by Kmart was held November 2 at Phoenix International Raceway. Bobby Hamilton won the pole. Dale Jarrett's victory in this race marked the final victory for the Ford Thunderbird. The race was broadcast on TNN.

    Top ten results

    1. 88-Dale Jarrett
    2. 2-Rusty Wallace
    3. 43-Bobby Hamilton
    4. 33-Ken Schrader
    5. 3-Dale Earnhardt
    6. 6-Mark Martin
    7. 41-Steve Grissom
    8. 44-Kyle Petty
    9. 7-Geoff Bodine

    Failed to qualify: 1-Morgan Shepherd

    NAPA 500

    The NAPA 500 was held November 16 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The #7 of Geoff Bodine won the pole at a speed of 197.478 mph (317.810 km/h), which (as of February 26, 2012) is the fastest qualifying lap ever run outside of Daytona and Talladega. The race was broadcast on ESPN.

    Top ten results

    1. 18-Bobby Labonte
    2. 88-Dale Jarrett
    3. 6-Mark Martin
    4. 29-Jeff Green
    5. 36-Derrike Cope
    6. 44-Kyle Petty
    7. 43-Bobby Hamilton
    8. 42-Joe Nemechek
    9. 22-Ward Burton
    10. 30-Johnny Benson

    Failed to qualify: 8-Hut Stricklin, 35-Todd Bodine, 40-Greg Sacks, 71-Dave Marcis, 77-Robert Pressley, 95-Ed Berrier, 96-David Green

  • Bobby Labonte won the first race on the new 1.54 mile configuration on Atlanta and became the first driver to win on both configurations of the track.
  • NASCAR Thunder Special — Suzuka

    The NASCAR Thunder Special - Suzuka was a non points exhibition race held November 23 on the Suzuka Circuit - East Circuit in Japan. Mark Martin won the pole. The race was broadcast on TBS.

    Top ten results

    1. 31-Mike Skinner
    2. 6-Mark Martin
    3. 74-Randy LaJoie
    4. 96-David Green
    5. 21-Michael Waltrip
    6. 09-Jim Richards
    7. 72-Kenny Wallace
    8. 38-Butch Gilliland
    9. 5-Jack Sprague
    10. 7-Geoff Bodine
  • This was the final race for Ford Thunderbirds. Mark Martin ran a Thunderbird and finished 2nd.
  • Bill France Jr suffered a mild heart attack during the trip to Japan. He recovered to live nearly another 10 years.
  • Rain tires were used on Winston Cup cars for the first time ever during Qualifying and Practice sessions.
  • Drivers' championship

    1. Jeff Gordon - 4710
    2. Dale Jarrett - 4696
    3. Mark Martin - 4681
    4. Jeff Burton - 4285
    5. Dale Earnhardt - 4216
    6. Terry Labonte - 4177
    7. Bobby Labonte - 4101
    8. Bill Elliott - 3836
    9. Rusty Wallace - 3598
    10. Ken Schrader - 3576
    11. Johnny Benson - 3575
    12. Ted Musgrave - 3556
    13. Jeremy Mayfield - 3547
    14. Ernie Irvan - 3534
    15. Kyle Petty - 3455
    16. Bobby Hamilton - 3450
    17. Ricky Rudd - 3330
    18. Michael Waltrip - 3173
    19. Ricky Craven - 3108
    20. Jimmy Spencer - 3079
    21. Steve Grissom - 3061
    22. Geoff Bodine - 3046
    23. John Andretti - 3019
    24. Ward Burton - 2987
    25. Sterling Marlin - 2954
    26. Darrell Waltrip - 2942
    27. Derrike Cope - 2901
    28. Joe Nemechek - 2754
    29. Brett Bodine - 2716
    30. Mike Skinner (R) - 2669
    31. Dick Trickle - 2629
    32. Rick Mast - 2569
    33. Kenny Wallace - 2462
    34. Hut Stricklin - 2423
    35. Lake Speed - 2301
    36. Chad Little - 2081
    37. David Green (R) - 2038
    38. Morgan Shepherd - 2033
    39. Jeff Green (R) - 1624
    40. Robby Gordon (R) - 1495
    41. Wally Dallenbach, Jr. - 1475
    42. Dave Marcis - 1405
    43. Robert Pressley - 984
    44. Gary Bradberry - 868
    45. Greg Sacks - 778
    46. Mike Wallace - 541
    47. Bobby Hillin, Jr. - 511
    48. Lance Hooper - 402
    49. Kenny Irwin, Jr. - 390
    50. Billy Standridge - 366

    NASCAR Rookie of the Year

    After running the Cup series part-time for a decade, Mike Skinner finally ran a full-time schedule, and walked away with three top-tens and the Rookie of the Year title. His closest runner-up was David Green, despite the fact Green did not finish any higher than sixteenth. Third place was Green's brother Jeff, who came into the season midway with Diamond Ridge Motorsports. The last place finisher was Robby Gordon, who suffered through a tumultuous season with Team SABCO, dealing with injuries and personal disputes.

    References

    1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Wikipedia


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