Milestone Moment: Earnhardt Pushed His Way to Victory at Bristol in ’99


By Keith Waltz

Throughout the history of NASCAR, there have been milestone moments that define a specific era of racing. The last 10 laps of the Goody’s Headache Powder 500 on Aug. 28, 1999, at Bristol Motor Speedway was one such moment.

The final 200 laps of NASCAR’s annual late-summer visit to the hills of Eastern Tennessee came down to a two-car battle between champions Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte. The pair traded the lead five times before a late-race caution flag set up a dramatic five-lap dash.

Earnhardt restarted from the pole, while Labonte lined up fifth after pitting for four fresh tires.

With Earnhardt setting the pace on the restart, Labonte quickly worked his way to second. Labonte then drove around Earnhardt to lead lap 499, but Earnhardt was not finished.

Going into Turn 2 on the last lap, Earnhardt rammed Labonte’s rear bumper, sending the No. 5 Chevrolet into a spin that collected several cars.

“I wasn’t going to wreck him, but I got to him and it turned him around,” Earnhardt said about the controversial incident. “I didn’t mean to really turn him around, but I meant to rattle his cage, though.”

Jimmy Spencer ended up second to Earnhardt with Ricky Rudd third and Jeff Gordon fourth. Tony Stewart, who led 225 laps during the first half of the race, settled for fifth.