| October 15, 2000 (2000-October-15)|
Winston 500 Presented by UPS
Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Alabama
Permanent racing facility
2.660 mi (4.280 km)
188 laps, 500.1 mi (804.8 km)
Warm and sunny with temperatures approaching 81 °F (27 °C); wind speeds up to 7 miles per hour (11 km/h)
The 2000 Winston 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event held on October 15, 2000, at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. As one of the final five races of the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, this event turned out to be the "event of the year" as Dale Earnhardt's "astounding five laps" would secure him an unlikely win within the twilight of his NASCAR Winston Cup career.
Individual race earnings ranged from the winner's share of $135,900 ($188,999.48 when adjusted for inflation) to the last-place finisher's share of $44,086 ($61,311.49). A grand total of $2,329,646 was awarded to all the qualifying drivers of this event ($3,239,896.09). Earnhardt and a fan each won an extra $1 million as part of the Winston No Bull 5 program.
2000 Winston 500 Wikipedia
Three different incidents resulted in yellow flags; a stalled vehicle near the start/finish line, debris on the race track and a four-car accident on the tri-oval. 13 laps were run under a caution flag while the green flag lasted for an average of 44 laps. The first 104 laps proved to be the longest green flag run. The next longest green lap stretch was from lap 120 to lap 168. Although Bill Elliott ended up leading the most laps with 40, the fastest qualifying speed went to Joe Nemechek, who won the pole position at 190.279 miles per hour (306.224 km/h).
The 188-lap race lasted for three hours and one minute and became the first of only five races to run the roof spoiler package which temporarily dealt with the inconsistencies of restrictor plate racing. Dale Earnhardt won the race, his second victory of the season and 76th and final one in his career, beating Kenny Wallace by .119 seconds in front of about 170,000 fans. The last five laps saw Earnhardt come from 18th place to first to win a feat NASCAR fans continue to regard as a memorable moment. Kenny Wallace and Joe Nemechek would play a role in Earnhardt's win by holding off most of the competition. Wallace has said that he did not try to pass Earnhardt because he did not recognize his teammate Nemechek's car behind him, which had a special paint scheme. Four months later, Earnhardt would be killed in a crash in the 2001 Daytona 500.
All 43 drivers were born in the United States of America. Chevrolet and Ford vehicles made up 33 of the 43 positions on the starting grid. Chevrolet's sister make Pontiac made up the remaining 10 positions. Wally Dallenbach, Jr., Blaise Alexander, and Hut Stricklin failed to qualify for the race. Both Earnhardt and his son Dale Earnhardt, Jr. participated at this event; the younger Earnhardt finished 14th. Kevin Lepage finished last as a result of problems with his ignition on lap 20.
The race was televised by ESPN, with pit reporter Jerry Punch (filling in for regular ESPN broadcaster Bob Jenkins, who was at Texas Motor Speedway for the Excite 500 IRL race held that same day), Benny Parsons, and Ned Jarrett commentating. Punch's normal position on pit road was filled by Ray Dunlap.
* Driver failed to finish race