Gordon Wins UAW-GM Quality 500
Oct. 11, 1999
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) _ Jeff Gordon overtook Bobby Labonte with six laps left to win the rain-delayed UAW-GM Quality 500 today, his second Winston Cup victory in as many weeks with new crew chief Brian Whitesell.
``I really should seriously consider retiring right now,'' an elated Whitesell said after Gordon took the checkered flag about 10 car-lengths ahead of Labonte at Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte.
It was Gordon's 49th career victory, tying him with Rusty Wallace for 10th place on the sport's all-time list.
But more important to Gordon, it showed that he can continue to succeed without Ray Evernham, the crew chief who led him to his first 47 victories and three Winston Cup titles. Evernham asked for and was granted his release from the team late last month.
``It feels incredible, absolutely incredible,'' Gordon said after his seventh victory of 1999. ``That Brian Whitesell, he's awesome.''
Gordon averaged 160.306 mph, the fastest 500-mile race in the 40-year history of the track, in a race slowed by just two cautions.
Mike Skinner put on a strong bid for the first victory in his 105-race Winston Cup career, leading 62 laps before the final round of green-flag pit stops with 74 laps remaining. Skinner's crew had trouble changing a rear tire, dropping him to third for the restart, and he was unable to contend for the lead the rest of the way.
Skinner wound up third, tying the best finish of his career. Mark Martin and Ward Burton rounded out the top five.
Labonte went into the last round of pit stops in third place but beat the rest of the contenders back out onto the track. Once in front, he built his lead to three seconds before Gordon staged his charge in the closing stages of a race delayed one day by rain.