Oral-B USA 500
|Venue||Atlanta Motor Speedway|
|Distance||500.5 miles (805.476 km)|
|Previous names||Dixie 300 (1960)
Dixie 400 (1961–1966)
Dixie 500 (1967–1979)
Atlanta Journal 500 (1980–1990)
Hardee's 500 (1991)
Hooters 500 (1992–1994)
NAPA 500 (1995–2002)
Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 (2003–2006)
Pep Boys Auto 500 (2007–2009)
Emory Healthcare 500 (2010)
AdvoCare 500 (2011–2013)
The Oral-B USA 500 is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car race held at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Since 2009, the race has been run on Labor Day weekend and is the second to last event in NASCAR's regular schedule before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins and since 2011, the race has been Atlanta's only race date after its second date (an early spring race) was given to sister track Kentucky Speedway.
Prior to its most recent rescheduling the fall Atlanta race was always run during the final stages of the NASCAR season, in either October or November, and was one of the ten races in the Chase from its inauguration in 2004 until 2008. From 1987 until 2001 the race was the last scheduled race on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series calendar.
From 1987 until 2001, the race was scheduled as the final race of the NASCAR season, and thus was typically the event in which the champion was decided. Several times, however, the championship had already been clinched prior to this race, rendering the race anti-climactic. In some cases, the championship would be decided the moment the points leader took the green flag to start the race - effectively clinching enough championship points by finishing last or better.
The 1992 race marked the final race for Richard Petty, and coincidentally, the debut for Jeff Gordon. With six drivers eligible for the Winston Cup Championship, the race is widely regarded as one of the greatest NASCAR races of all time. Alan Kulwicki, who finished second in the race, edged out Bill Elliott, the race winner, by leading one more lap in the race. Kulwicki won the NASCAR Winston Cup title by a then-record margin of only 10 points.
The 1998 race was run mostly at night after a long rain delay; despite the inexperience with the lights, newly installed for an Indy Racing League race, NASCAR and the teams agreed to attempt finishing the race at night. It was shortened to 221 laps because it was after 11:00 p.m. EST and NASCAR wanted to "get the fans out at a decent hour". The 1999 Cracker Barrel 500 also ended at night. This would mark a springboard of sorts at finishing delayed races at night by utilizing a track's permanent lighting system.
In 2001, the race was scheduled as the season finale, however, it ended up being the second-to-last race. The New Hampshire 300 was postponed from September 16 to the Friday after Thanksgiving, due to 9/11. Beginning in 2002 the race was moved to mid-October as NASCAR elected to hold its final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway instead of Atlanta. The 2003 race started a tradition of night qualifying at Atlanta, which has carried over to the spring race as well.
In 2006, the race start time was changed from 12:40 p.m. EDT to 2:55 p.m. EDT in order to finish the race at night. Driver complaints erupted because of the track's troublesome situation where the sun can get into the driver's eyes in Turn 1, including leading to a crash during the time the sun sets in that area of the track between Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray, led to the abandonment of the 3 PM start after this race.
In 2009, the race was moved Labor Day weekend as part of a realignment agreement with Auto Club Speedway, which had received the Labor Day weekend race in 2004, and Talladega Superspeedway, where Talladega's fall race moved to the Atlanta race weekend and Fontana received a race in the Chase in Talladega's spot.
|Year||Date||Driver||Team||Manufacturer||Race Distance||Race Time||Average Speed
|1960||July 31||Fireball Roberts||John Hines||Pontiac||200||300 (482.803)||2:29:47||112.652||Report|
|1961||September 17||David Pearson||John Masoni||Pontiac||267||400.5 (644.542)||3:11:39||125.384||Report|
|1962||October 28||Rex White||Rex White||Chevrolet||267||400.5 (644.542)||3:12:24||124.74||Report|
|1963||June 30||Junior Johnson||Ray Fox||Chevrolet||267||400.5 (644.542)||3:18:42||121.139||Report|
|1964||June 7||Ned Jarrett||Bondy Long||Ford||267||400.5 (644.542)||3:33:32||112.535||Report|
|1965||June 13||Marvin Panch||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||267||400.5 (644.542)||3:38:13||110.12||Report|
|1966||August 7||Richard Petty||Petty Enterprises||Plymouth||267||400.5 (644.542)||3:04:30||130.244||Report|
|1967||August 6||Dick Hutcherson||Bondy Long||Ford||334||501 (806.281)||3:47:14||132.286||Report|
|1968||August 4||LeeRoy Yarbrough||Junior Johnson & Associates||Ford||334||501 (806.281)||3:56:34||127.068||Report|
|1969||August 10||LeeRoy Yarbrough||Junior Johnson & Associates||Ford||334||501 (806.281)||3:45:35||133.001||Report|
|1970||August 2||Richard Petty||Petty Enterprises||Plymouth||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:29:53||142.712||Report|
|1971||August 1||Richard Petty||Petty Enterprises||Plymouth||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:52:05||129.061||Report|
|1972||July 23||Bobby Allison||Richard Howard||Chevrolet||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:47:08||131.295||Report|
|1973||July 22||David Pearson||Wood Brothers Racing||Mercury||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:50:01||130.211||Report|
|1974||July 28||Richard Petty||Petty Enterprises||Dodge||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:42:31||131.651||Report|
|1975||November 9||Buddy Baker||Bud Moore Engineering||Ford||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:48:40||130.99||Report|
|1976||November 7||Dave Marcis||Nord Krauskopf||Dodge||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:55:07||127.396||Report|
|1977||November 6||Darrell Waltrip||DiGard Motorsports||Chevrolet||268*||407.896 (656.444)||3:42:23||110.052||Report|
|1978||November 5||Donnie Allison||Ellington Racing||Chevrolet||328||499.216 (803.41)||4:00:43||124.312||Report|
|1979||November 4||Neil Bonnett||Wood Brothers Racing||Mercury||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:33:46||140.12||Report|
|1980||November 2||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates||Chevrolet||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:48:19||131.19||Report|
|1981||November 8||Neil Bonnett||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:49:43||130.391||Report|
|1982||November 7||Bobby Allison||DiGard Motorsports||Buick||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:48:51||130.884||Report|
|1983||November 6||Neil Bonnett||RahMoc Enterprises||Chevrolet||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:37:37||137.643||Report|
|1984||November 11||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:42:31||134.61||Report|
|1985||November 3||Bill Elliott||Melling Racing||Ford||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:34:34||139.597||Report|
|1986||November 2||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:15:22||152.523||Report|
|1987||November 22||Bill Elliott||Melling Racing||Ford||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:35:25||139.047||Report|
|1988||November 20||Rusty Wallace||Blue Max Racing||Pontiac||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:52:09||129.024||Report|
|1989||November 19||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:33:36||140.229||Report|
|1990||November 18||Morgan Shepherd||Bud Moore Engineering||Ford||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:32:34||140.911||Report|
|1991||November 17||Mark Martin||Roush Racing||Ford||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:37:06||137.968||Report|
|1992||November 15||Bill Elliott||Junior Johnson & Associates||Ford||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:44:20||133.322||Report|
|1993||November 14||Rusty Wallace||Penske Racing||Pontiac||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:59:12||125.221||Report|
|1994||November 13||Mark Martin||Roush Racing||Ford||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:21:03||148.982||Report|
|1995||November 12||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:03:03||163.633||Report|
|1996||November 10||Bobby Labonte||Joe Gibbs Racing||Chevrolet||328||499.216 (803.41)||3:39:13||134.661||Report|
|1997||November 16||Bobby Labonte||Joe Gibbs Racing||Pontiac||325||500.5 (805.476)||3:07:48||159.904||Report|
|1998||November 8||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||221*||340.34 (547.724)||2:57:42||114.915||Report|
|1999||November 21||Bobby Labonte||Joe Gibbs Racing||Pontiac||325||500.5 (805.476)||3:37:43||137.932||Report|
|2000||November 20*||Jerry Nadeau||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||325||500.5 (805.476)||3:32:32||141.296||Report|
|2001||November 18||Bobby Labonte||Joe Gibbs Racing||Pontiac||325||500.5 (805.476)||3:17:53||151.756||Report|
|2002||October 27||Kurt Busch||Roush Racing||Ford||248*||381.92 (614.64)||2:59:42||127.519||Report|
|2003||October 26/27*||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||325||500.5 (805.476)||3:55:02||127.769||Report|
|2004||October 31||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||325||500.5 (805.476)||3:25:54||145.847||Report|
|2005||October 30||Carl Edwards||Roush Racing||Ford||325||500.5 (805.476)||3:24:31||146.834||Report|
|2006||October 29||Tony Stewart||Joe Gibbs Racing||Chevrolet||325||500.5 (805.476)||3:29:23||143.421||Report|
|2007||October 28||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||329*||506.66 (815.39)||3:44:45||135.26||Report|
|2008||October 26||Carl Edwards||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||325||500.5 (805.476)||3:43:39||134.272||Report|
|2009||September 6||Kasey Kahne||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||325||500.5 (805.476)||3:44:03||134.033||Report|
|2010||September 5||Tony Stewart||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||325||500.5 (805.476)||3:52:43||129.041||Report|
|2011||September 6*||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||325||500.5 (805.476)||4:00:58||124.623||Report|
|2012||September 2||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||327*||503.58 (810.433)||3:32:45||142.02||Report|
|2013||September 1||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||325||500.5 (805.476)||3:42:14||135.128||Report|
- 1977, 1998, & 2002: Race shortened due to rain.
- 2000: Race postponed from Sunday to Monday due to rain.
- 2003: Race started on Sunday but was finished on Monday due to rain.
- 2007 & 2012: Race extended due to a green-white-checkered finish.
- 2011: Race delayed from Sunday to Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Lee.
Multiple winners (drivers)
|# Wins||Driver||Years Won|
|4||Richard Petty||1966, 1970, 1971, 1974|
|Dale Earnhardt||1984, 1986, 1989, 1995|
|Bobby Labonte||1996, 1997, 1999, 2001|
|3||Neil Bonnett||1979, 1981, 1983|
|Bill Elliott||1985, 1987, 1992|
|Jeff Gordon||1998, 2003, 2011|
|2||LeeRoy Yarbrough||1968, 1969|
|David Pearson||1961, 1973|
|Bobby Allison||1972, 1982|
|Rusty Wallace||1988, 1993|
|Mark Martin||1991, 1994|
|Jimmie Johnson||2004, 2007|
|Carl Edwards||2005, 2008|
|Tony Stewart||2006, 2010|
Multiple winners (teams)
|# Wins||Team||Years Won|
|7||Joe Gibbs Racing||1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2006, 2012, 2013|
|6||Hendrick Motorsports||1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011|
|5||Roush Fenway Racing||1991, 1994, 2002, 2005, 2008|
|4||Wood Brothers Racing||1965, 1973, 1979, 1981|
|Petty Enterprises||1966, 1970, 1971, 1974|
|Junior Johnson & Associates||1968, 1969, 1980, 1992|
|Richard Childress Racing||1984, 1986, 1989, 1995|
|2||Bondy Long||1964, 1967|
|DiGard Motorsports||1977, 1982|
|Melling Racing||1985, 1987|
|# Wins||Manufacturer||Years Won|
|20||Chevrolet||1962, 1963, 1972, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011|
|16||Ford||1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1975, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 2002, 2005, 2008|
|7||Pontiac||1960, 1961, 1988, 1993, 1997, 1999, 2001|
|3||Plymouth||1966, 1970, 1971|
|Dodge||1974, 1976, 2009|
- 1966: Richard Petty led 90 laps and beat Buddy Baker for his first Atlanta win, but the story of the race centered on pole-sitter Curtis Turner and third-starting Fred Lorenzen. With Ford participation stopped in a dispute over engine rules, the season had been dominated by Chrysler racecars. Turner entered in a Smokey Yunick Chevrolet rumored to be radically altered and not in compliance with the NASCAR rulebook; Lorenzen drove Junior Johnson's Ford, a car nicknamed "The Yellow Banana" because the body had been visibly altered; both cars passed NASCAR inspection where others did not. Turner led 60 laps and finished 24th with distributor failure while Lorenzen led 24 laps and was eliminated in a crash, finishing 23rd.
- 1971: Richard Petty became the first stock car driver to reach $1 million in career earnings after a race-long duel with Bobby Allison.
- 1976: Dave Marcis took his final superspeedway win. Driving Harry Hyde's famous #71 Dodge, Marcis engaged in a nose-to-nose battle for most of the first 64 laps with Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough, and David Pearson. Part-time racer Dale Earnhardt survived a huge crash with some 60 to go when Dick Brooks hit the wall in Three and slid into Earnhardt's path; Earnhardt tumbled to the fourth turn.
- 1977: The race shortened due to rain/darkness. Darrell Waltrip took advantage of the lapped car of James Hylton to storm past Donnie Allison on the last lap; Allison crashed with Cale Yarborough coming to the stripe.
- 1978: A scoring breakdown led to an embarrassing change of the declared winner. Manual scoring ruled that Richard Petty had edged Dave Marcis at the stripe, but a recheck hours later proved that Donnie Allison, who finished two lengths ahead of Petty and Marcis, had indeed won.
- 1980: A multicar wreck in the first 20 laps eliminated the Allison brothers and other contenders, leaving Cale Yarborough to breeze all but uncontested to the win; the win helped him close to within 29 points of leader Dale Earnhardt with one race left in the 1980 title chase.
- 1981: ESPN televised the race live, the first such telecast for the third-year cable network. The race turned into a spirited affair as Neil Bonnett and Richard Petty fought back and forth for the lead amid bids by Darrell Waltrip, Joe Ruttman, and Harry Gant. The final two laps were a fierce duel won by Bonnett over Waltrip and Cale Yarborough.
- 1982: The race set a track record for lead changes at 45, among 14 drivers. Blistered tires ruined a victory bid by Richard Petty as Bobby Allison outdueled Darrell Waltrip and Harry Gant for the win. This would be the final start for Country Music singer Marty Robbins, who would die in December of that year.
- 1984: Driver Terry Schoonover was killed in the race after crashing into the barrier in turn two.
- 1986: Dale Earnhardt wrapped up his second career title by completely dominating the Dixie 500. The rest of the top five was a list of NASCAR luminaries - Richard Petty, Bill Elliott, Tim Richmond, and Buddy Baker.
- 1987: For the first time, this race was scheduled as the final race of the NASCAR season.
- 1989: In this race, independent driver Grant Adcox was killed in a crash.
- 1990: With cars packed tightly together for late-race pitstops under yellow (the result of NASCAR's rule closing pit road when the yellow comes out instead of letting cars pit before taking the yellow), one of Bill Elliott's crew members was killed when Ricky Rudd was coming into the pits for service and lost control of his car. This led to NASCAR mandating a speed limit on pit road for crew members safety.
- 1992: Widely considered one of the most dramatic NASCAR races of all time. See 1992 Hooters 500
- 1993: Race winner Wallace, and Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt circled the track in a Polish Victory Lap, carrying #7 and #28 flag to honor Alan Kulwicki and Davey Allison who were both killed in aviation accidents during the season. Both Kulwicki and Allison were key fixtures exactly one year earlier at the classic 1992 race.
- 1995: Jeff Gordon wrapped up his first series title as Dale Earnhardt drove his #3 to victory at the race time of 3 hours, 3 minutes, and 3 seconds.
- 1996: Bobby Labonte took the win, the first for Joe Gibbs Racing building its own engines after four seasons running Rick Hendrick engines. Terry Labonte clinched the 1996 Winston Cup Championship driving for Hendrick Motorsports. The two made a victory lap together and celebrated together in victory lane.
- 1997: 325 laps / 500.5 miles with new configuration. Bobby Labonte won in JGR's first win with Pontiac; Pontiacs dominated the top ten at the finish
- 1998: Race shortened due to rain and darkness. Rain delays throughout the day made the race go into midnight, and track officials wanted the fans to get home at a decent hour. First night Cup race.
- 2000: Race postponed from Sunday to Monday due to rain. Final career start for Darrell Waltrip. It would be the final time the event would be the last race of the NASCAR season.
- 2001: Was scheduled to be the final race of the 2001 season, but Loudon was moved to the weekend after due to 9/11. That instead made this the second-to-last race of the season.
- 2002: Race shortened due to rain. Moved from November to October, such that the race will no longer be the final race of the NASCAR season.
- 2009: Race moved from October to Labor Day weekend, marking the first regularly scheduled Sprint Cup race at Atlanta to start at night. Kasey Kahne took the win, the second of the year for the team now under the aegis of Richard Petty Motorsports.
- 2011: Race postponed from Sunday Night to Tuesday Afternoon due to rain from Tropical Storm Lee. Jeff Gordon scored his 85th Cup win after a fierce duel with teammate Jimmie Johnson over the final 10 laps on worn tires, giving him sole possession of third on the all time wins list and the most wins by a driver in NASCAR's Modern Era (1972–Present). This was only the second time in NASCAR's Modern Era that a race was postponed to a Tuesday, the other time coming in August 2007 at Michigan (also for rain). Gordon was honored by NASCAR president Mike Helton with a framed portrait of photos from past victories by Jeff made into the shape of the #85 to commemorate the milestone victory.
This race, Atlanta's second of the season, had been rumored to be either eliminated or moved several times in recent years. Most recently, track owner Bruton Smith, president of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., was talking with International Speedway Corporation about a possible date switch with one of its tracks. On February 29, 2008, Smith proposed a move that involved the fall Atlanta race and the Pepsi 500, the Labor Day weekend race held at Auto Club Speedway. Doing so gave the Fontana, California track a race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup as well as return the Labor Day weekend race to the southern U.S. for the first time since the second-to-last Southern 500 was run. It also makes the three races that precede the beginning of the Chase closer to each other geographically. Prior to the realignment, the teams raced in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol the week before Labor Day, then traveled cross country for the Pepsi 500, then came back across the country to run the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond the following Saturday.
Ultimately, NASCAR adjusted the schedule as announced on August 19, 2008 to allow the fall race at Atlanta and the Chase event to Fontana to be swapped, but also in the process moved the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway to Atlanta's old date — usually the last weekend in October — and the aforementioned Pepsi 500 was placed in the old Talladega date, the first weekend in October beginning in 2009.
- The 2003 race was ultimately bounced over to TNT after it was rained out and run on Monday.
- NASCAR.COM - Smith proposes date swap between California, Atlanta - February 29, 2008
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Oral-B USA 500
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