2001 Daytona 500

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2001 Daytona 500
Race details[1][2]
Race 1 of 36 in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
2001 Daytona 500 logo.png
Date February 18, 2001 (2001-02-18)
Official name Daytona 500 by Dodge
Location Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida, US
Course Permanent racing facility
2.5 mi (4.02336 km)
Distance 200 laps, 500 mi (804.672 km)
Weather Warm with temperatures reading up to 79 °F (26 °C); wind speeds up to 29.92 miles per hour (48.15 km/h)
Average speed 161.783 miles per hour (260.365 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Evernham Motorsports
Time 49.029
Qualifying race winners
Duel 1 Winner Sterling Marlin Chip Ganassi Racing
Duel 2 Winner Mike Skinner Richard Childress Racing
Most laps led
Driver Ward Burton Bill Davis Racing
Laps 53
Winner
No. 15 Michael Waltrip Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
Television in the United States
Network Fox
Announcers Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, and Larry McReynolds
Nielsen Ratings 10.0
Radio in the United States
Radio MRN
Booth Announcers Joe Moore and Barney Hall
Turn Announcers Kurt Becker (1 & 2), Mike Bagley (Backstretch) and Eli Gold (3 & 4)

The 2001 Daytona 500, the 43rd running of the event, was the first race of the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule. It was held on February 18, 2001, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, consisting of 200 laps and 500 miles on the 2.5-mile (4 km) asphalt tri-oval.

Bill Elliott won the pole and Michael Waltrip, in his first race in the No. 15 car for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., won the race. This was the first Winston Cup victory of his career, coming in his 463rd start, the longest wait for a first win. His teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second and Rusty Wallace finished third.

The program for the 2001 Daytona 500, featuring the cars of Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, and Tony Stewart.

On the final lap, a major accident occurred involving Dale Earnhardt Sr, Ken Schrader, and Sterling Marlin. Earnhardt's car crashed head-on into the retaining wall, killing Earnhardt instantly. Three cars were involved in the crash. The race was also marred by an 18-car pile-up on lap 173 that began when Ward Burton made contact with Robby Gordon, sending Tony Stewart flipping twice down the backstretch. After Earnhardt's death - as well as other notable deaths of other drivers in other NASCAR national touring series in previous seasons - NASCAR, implemented rigorous safety improvements in later seasons.

Entry list[edit]

No. Driver Team Manufacturer Sponsor
01 Jason Leffler (R) Chip Ganassi Racing
with Felix Sabates
Dodge Cingular Wireless
1 Steve Park Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet Pennzoil
2 Rusty Wallace Penske Racing Ford Miller Lite
3 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet GM Goodwrench Service Plus
4 Robby Gordon Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet Kodak Max Film
5 Terry Labonte Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Kellogg's
6 Mark Martin Roush Racing Ford Viagra
7 Mike Wallace Ultra Motorsports Ford NationsRent
8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet Budweiser
9 Bill Elliott Evernham Motorsports Dodge Dodge Dealers/UAW
10 Johnny Benson Jr. MBV Motorsports Pontiac Vavoline
11 Brett Bodine Brett Bodine Racing Ford Ralph's/Red Cell Batteries
12 Jeremy Mayfield Penske Racing Ford Mobil 1
14 Ron Hornaday Jr. (R) A. J. Foyt Racing Pontiac Conseco
15 Michael Waltrip Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet NAPA Auto Parts
17 Matt Kenseth Roush Racing Ford DeWalt
18 Bobby Labonte Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac Interstate Batteries
19 Casey Atwood (R) Evernham Motorsports Dodge Dodge Dealers/UAW
20 Tony Stewart Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac Home Depot
21 Elliott Sadler Wood Brothers Racing Ford Motorcraft
22 Ward Burton Bill Davis Racing Dodge Caterpillar
24 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet DuPont Automotive Finishes
25 Jerry Nadeau Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet UAW-Delphi
26 Jimmy Spencer Haas-Carter Motorsports Ford Kmart
27 Kenny Wallace Eel River Racing Pontiac Hills Brothers Coffee
28 Ricky Rudd Robert Yates Racing Ford Havoline/Texaco
31 Mike Skinner Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Lowe's
32 Ricky Craven PPI Motorsports Ford Tide
33 Joe Nemechek Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet Oakwood Homes
36 Ken Schrader MBV Motorsports Pontiac M&M's
37 Derrike Cope Qwest Motor Racing Pontiac K&N Performance Filters
40 Sterling Marlin Chip Ganassi Racing
with Felix Sabates
Dodge Coors Light
43 John Andretti Petty Enterprises Dodge Cheerios
44 Buckshot Jones Petty Enterprises Dodge Georgia-Pacific
45 Kyle Petty Petty Enterprises Dodge Sprint PCS
50 Rick Mast Midwest Transit Racing Chevrolet Midwest Transit
51 Jeff Purvis Phoenix Racing Ford Phoenix Construction
55 Bobby Hamilton Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet Square D
66 Todd Bodine Haas-Carter Motorsports Ford Route 66/Kmart
71 Dave Marcis Marcis Auto Racing Chevrolet Team Realtree
72 Dwayne Leik Marcis Auto Racing Chevrolet Team Realtree
77 Robert Pressley Jasper Motorsports Ford Jasper Engines
80 Morgan Shepherd Hover Motorsports Ford Hayes Jewelers
84 Norm Benning Norm Benning Racing Chevrolet SoBe Beverages
85 Carl Long Mansion Motorsports Ford Mansion Decorators
88 Dale Jarrett Robert Yates Racing Ford UPS
90 Hut Stricklin Donlavey Racing Ford Hills Brothers Coffee
92 Stacy Compton Melling Racing Dodge Kodiak
93 Dave Blaney Bill Davis Racing Dodge Amoco Ultimate
96 Andy Houston (R) PPI Motorsports Ford McDonald's
97 Kurt Busch (R) Roush Racing Ford Ford 100th Anniversary
99 Jeff Burton Roush Racing Ford Citgo Supergard

Qualifying[edit]

Qualifying to determine positions 1-2 for the Daytona 500 and the lineup for the Gatorade Duels happened on February 10, 2001. Originally, Bill Elliott and Jerry Nadeau were slated to start first and second, respectively. However, during post qualifying inspection, NASCAR determined that Nadeau had an unapproved shock absorber and spring shackle, and his time was disqualified. Stacy Compton, who was originally third, moved up to second.

Dwayne Leik would be the only driver to not set a time.

Pos.[3] No. Driver Make Time Speed
1 9 Bill Elliott Dodge 49.029 183.565
2 92 Stacy Compton Dodge 49.266 182.682
3 88 Dale Jarrett Ford 49.282 182.622
4 20 Tony Stewart Pontiac 49.306 182.534
5 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 49.322 182.474
6 22 Ward Burton Dodge 49.337 182.419
7 40 Sterling Marlin Dodge 49.412 182.142
8 33 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 49.419 182.116
9 31 Mike Skinner Chevrolet 49.419 182.116
10 32 Ricky Craven Ford 49.430 182.076
11 10 Johnny Benson Pontiac 49.453 181.991
12 5 Terry Labonte Chevrolet 49.502 181.811
13 15 Michael Waltrip Chevrolet 49.534 181.693
14 93 Dave Blaney Dodge 49.543 181.660
15 55 Bobby Hamilton Chevrolet 49.543 181.660
16 43 John Andretti Dodge 49.566 181.576
17 96 Andy Houston Ford 49.569 181.565
18 8 D. Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 49.586 181.503
19 4 Robby Gordon Chevrolet 49.632 181.335
20 28 Ricky Rudd Ford 49.670 181.196
21 18 Bobby Labonte Pontiac 49.745 180.923
22 2 Rusty Wallace Ford 49.763 180.857
23 1 Steve Park Chevrolet 49.769 180.835
24 99 Jeff Burton Ford 49.792 180.752
25 19 Casey Atwood Dodge 49.798 180.730
26 6 Mark Martin Ford 49.805 180.705
27 3 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet 49.808 180.694
28 36 Ken Schrader Pontiac 49.822 180.643
29 11 Brett Bodine Ford 49.824 180.636
30 44 Buckshot Jones Pontiac 49.836 180.592
31 45 Kyle Petty Dodge 49.839 180.581
32 14 Ron Hornaday Pontiac 49.853 180.531
33 71 Dave Marcis Chevrolet 49.893 180.386
34 21 Elliott Sadler Ford 49.899 180.364
35 26 Jimmy Spencer Ford 49.928 180.260
36 01 Jason Leffler Dodge 49.967 180.119
37 66 Todd Bodine Ford 50.003 179.989
38 27 Kenny Wallace Pontiac 50.033 179.881
39 51 Jeff Purvis Ford 50.062 179.777
40 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 50.124 179.554
41 7 Mike Wallace Ford 50.151 179.458
42 77 Robert Pressley Ford 50.187 179.329
43 90 Hut Stricklin Ford 50.282 178.990
44 50 Rick Mast Chevrolet 50.396 178.586
45 97 Kurt Busch Ford 50.417 178.511
46 12 Jeremy Mayfield Ford 50.529 178.116
47 37 Derrike Cope Pontiac 50.764 177.291
48 84 Norm Benning Ford 51.049 176.301
49 85 Carl Long Ford 51.053 176.287
50 80 Morgan Shepherd Ford 51.526 174.669
51 72 Dwayne Leik Chevrolet Did not start
DSQ 25 Jerry Nadeau* Chevrolet 49.224 182.838

Race summary[edit]

Polesitter Bill Elliott led the field to the green flag, but he only led one lap before Sterling Marlin (the winner of the first 125-mile qualifying race three days earlier) passed him for the lead. On lap 29, Rusty Wallace drove into his pit after his right front tire had suddenly gone flat. NASCAR determined that he had exceeded the pit road speed limit on his way in and he was consequently issued a 15-second penalty. As a result, he went a lap down and attempted to make up for it by skipping the first scheduled pit stop. The first caution came out on lap 48 when Jeff Purvis bounced off the wall between turns 3 & 4. The race restarted and stayed under a long green-flag run that lasted 105 laps, in which Ward Burton led the most. On lap 87, Dale Earnhardt and rookie Kurt Busch made door-to-door contact coming out of turn 4 while battling for fifth place. Earnhardt promptly flipped Busch the bird at 185 mph or, as described by lap-by-lap commentator Mike Joy, he simply was saying "Kurt, you're number 1".[4]

The second caution came out on lap 157 when Busch, trying to pass Joe Nemechek, hit the front stretch wall and slid across the track right through the infield and onto pit road. On lap 167, Steve Park took the lead, only to be passed by his teammate Michael Waltrip on the next lap.

On lap 173, a huge crash eliminated 18 cars in a spectacular fashion. This began when Robby Gordon, coming onto the back straightaway, turned Ward Burton in the outside lane. Burton then hit Tony Stewart, who turned back across the middle of the racetrack, collecting most of the field behind him. Stewart took the worst ride of any driver in that crash, as his car turned against the wall after being hit by Burton, caught a pocket of air, got pushed airborne over Robby Gordon and flipped over twice, and then landed on top of Jason Leffler before coasting to a stop in the infield. Bobby Labonte's hood broke off and got attached to Stewart's car, causing his engine to catch fire. Stewart's vehicle was described as something similar to Richard Petty's rollover crash in the 1988 race. Mark Martin collided first with the outside wall and then got hit by at least two other cars, destroying the rear end of his. Martin managed to limp his car back to pit road and abandon it. Also involved in this crash were Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte, Andy Houston, Buckshot Jones, Dale Jarrett (the defending Daytona 500 winner), Jeff Burton, Elliott Sadler, Kenny Wallace, John Andretti, and Jerry Nadeau. Only a few drivers, including Earnhardt; Elliott; Ron Hornaday Jr.; and Ken Schrader, were able to avoid the crash with intact cars. The race was red-flagged for extensive cleanup. When the red flag was over, the race restarted on lap 180, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the lead. Marlin led the next three laps before Waltrip took over again.

With less than two laps remaining, Darrell Waltrip in the Fox Sports booth commented that "Sterling [Marlin] ha[d] beat the front end off of that...that ole Dodge just trying to get around Dale [Earnhardt]." As the white flag waved for the final lap, both Earnhardt and his son Dale Earnhardt, Jr. were right behind Waltrip. Earnhardt Jr. was in second place in front of his father. Heading into turn 3, Earnhardt, holding third-place, ran in the middle lane of the pack. Marlin, who was behind him on his left, ran in the inside one. R. Wallace drove his navy blue No. 2 Penske Racing Ford directly behind Earnhardt, and Schrader ran in the outside lane driving his yellow No. 36 Pontiac. Just as the field headed into turn 4, Marlin's car made contact with the left rear on Earnhardt's car, causing the black No. 3 to slide off the track's steep banking onto the flat apron. Trying to correct at speed, Earnhardt sharply turned it up the track toward the outside retaining wall. Although it briefly looked as if he was going to avoid hitting the retaining wall, Earnhardt went right into Schrader's path and Schrader rammed into him behind the passenger door causing Earnhardt's car to snap, rapidly changing its angle toward the wall. As Schrader came into contact, Earnhardt crashed into the wall nose-first at an estimated speed of 155–160 mph. Both cars slid down the steep banking off the track and into the infield grass. While this two-car wreck was in progress, drivers were allowed to race to the finish under green flag conditions.

Seconds later, Waltrip (after 462 races without a win) claimed his first Winston Cup victory, with his teammate Earnhardt, Jr. 0.124 seconds behind to finish second. The yellow and checkered flags came out simultaneously as Waltrip crossed the line, locking the rest of the field in their positions at that moment.[5] R. Wallace finished third, Ricky Rudd finished fourth, Elliott (the polesitter) finished fifth, R. Wallace's brother Mike finished sixth, Marlin (who got loose after making contact with Earnhardt) finished seventh, Bobby Hamilton finished eighth, Jeremy Mayfield finished ninth, and outside polesitter Stacy Compton came across the line tenth. Nemechek finished 11th on the lead lap. Earnhardt and Schrader were credited finishing 12th and 13th despite not finishing the race. After crossing the finish line behind his teammate, Earnhardt, Jr. stopped at the site of his father's wreck at turn 3. Earnhardt was extricated from his car and was transported by ambulance to the nearby Halifax Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 5:16 pm EST, reportedly surrounded by his wife Teresa, his team owner and closest friend Richard Childress, and his son Earnhardt, Jr. The official announcement of Earnhardt's death was made at about 7:00 pm EST by NASCAR president Mike Helton. The death of the seven-time Winston Cup Champion largely overshadowed Waltrip's first Winston Cup victory as well as the 18-car crash on lap 173.

Results[edit]

Pos Grid Car No. Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Laps Led Time/Retired
1 19 15 Michael Waltrip Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 200 27 3:05:26
2 6 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 200 13 +0.124
3 12 2 Rusty Wallace Penske Racing Ford 200 0 Lead lap under caution
4 30 28 Ricky Rudd Robert Yates Racing Ford 200 0 Lead lap under caution
5 1 9 Bill Elliott (W) Evernham Motorsports Dodge 200 1 Lead lap under caution
6 27 7 Mike Wallace Ultra Motorsports Ford 200 0 Lead lap under caution
7 3 40 Sterling Marlin (W) Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge 200 39 Lead lap under caution
8 35 55 Bobby Hamilton Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet 200 0 Lead lap under caution
9 38 12 Jeremy Mayfield Penske Racing Ford 200 0 Lead lap under caution
10 2 92 Stacy Compton Melling Racing Dodge 200 0 Lead lap under caution
11 32 33 Joe Nemechek Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet 200 0 Lead lap under caution
12 7 3 Dale Earnhardt (W) Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 199 17 Contact T4 (fatal)
13 14 36 Ken Schrader MB2 Motorsports Pontiac 199 0 Contact T4
14 39 77 Robert Pressley Jasper Motorsports Ford 199 0 +1 lap
15 43 11 Brett Bodine Brett Bodine Racing Ford 199 1 +1 lap
16 28 45 Kyle Petty Petty Enterprises Dodge 199 0 +1 lap
17 42 14 Ron Hornaday, Jr. (R) A. J. Foyt Racing Pontiac 199 0 +1 lap
18 40 21 Elliott Sadler Wood Brothers Racing Ford 199 0 +1 lap
19 8 99 Jeff Burton Roush Racing Ford 199 0 +1 lap
20 21 19 Casey Atwood (R) Evernham Motorsports Dodge 198 0 +2 laps
21 16 17 Matt Kenseth Roush Racing Ford 196 0 +4 laps
22 31 88 Dale Jarrett (W) Robert Yates Racing Ford 186 1 Contact BS
23 18 32 Ricky Craven PPI Motorsports Ford 185 0 +15 laps
24 34 5 Terry Labonte Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 184 0 Contact BS
25 23 27 Kenny Wallace Eel River Racing Pontiac 184 0 Contact BS
26 4 31 Mike Skinner Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 183 24 +17 laps
27 11 26 Jimmy Spencer Haas-Carter Motorsports Ford 183 0 +17 laps
28 33 10 Johnny Benson, Jr. MBV Motorsports Pontiac 181 0 Engine
29 29 44 Buckshot Jones (R) Petty Enterprises Dodge 181 0 Contact BS
30 13 24 Jeff Gordon (W) Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 178 11 Contact BS
31 25 1 Steve Park Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 177 2 +23 laps
32 5 25 Jerry Nadeau Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 176 0 Contact BS
33 22 6 Mark Martin Roush Racing Ford 175 1 Contact BS
34 15 01 Jason Leffler (R) Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge 174 0 Contact BS
35 10 22 Ward Burton Bill Davis Racing Dodge 173 53 Contact BS
36 24 20 Tony Stewart Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac 173 0 Contact BS
37 41 4 Robby Gordon Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet 173 0 Contact BS
38 9 96 Andy Houston (R) PPI Motorsports Ford 173 0 Contact BS
39 36 43 John Andretti Petty Enterprises Dodge 173 0 Contact BS
40 37 18 Bobby Labonte Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac 173 3 Contact BS
41 26 97 Kurt Busch (R) Roush Racing Ford 169 0 +31 laps
42 20 93 Dave Blaney Bill Davis Racing Dodge 135 0 Engine
43 17 51 Jeff Purvis Phoenix Racing Ford 47 0 Contact FS
Failed to qualify
71 Dave Marcis Marcis Auto Racing Chevrolet
66 Todd Bodine Haas-Carter Motorsports Ford
90 Hut Stricklin Donlavey Racing Ford
50 Rick Mast Midwest Transit Racing Chevrolet
37 Derrike Cope (W) Quest Motor Racing Pontiac
84 Norm Benning (R) Norm Benning Racing Chevrolet
85 Carl Long (R) Mansion Motorsports Ford
80 Morgan Shepherd Hover Motorsports Ford
72 Dwayne Leik (R) Marcis Auto Racing Chevrolet
Sources:[6]

Media[edit]

The 2001 Daytona 500 marked the first Cup Series race under NASCAR's new centralized television contracts, which shifted responsibility for NASCAR's media rights from the track owners (which led to events being inconsistently scattered across multiple networks, including long-time rightsholder CBS) to NASCAR itself. NASCAR entered into six-year deals with two broadcasters, Fox Sports and NBC Sports (with NBC sub-licensing cable rights to TNT, and Fox using its then-sister cable network FX), to serve as rightsholders for each respective half of the season in the Winston Cup Series and Busch Series. Fox and NBC alternated rights to the two Daytona race weekends annually.[7]

Mike Joy joined Fox from CBS to continue as lead announcer. Former driver Darrell Waltrip and crew chief Larry McReynolds would join Joy in the booth as analysts. Joy, Waltrip, and McReynolds would consistently remain Fox's on-air team until 2016, when McReynolds became the rules and technical analyst, replaced in the booth by Jeff Gordon. Darrell Waltrip retired from broadcasting in June 2019, leaving Joy and Gordon as a two-man booth for the 2020 season until Clint Bowyer was hired for the 2021 season.[8][9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sprint Cup Series Schedule". ESPN. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  2. ^ "Weather Information for the 2001 Daytona 500". The Old Farmer's Almanac. Archived from the original on June 22, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  3. ^ "rpm.espn.com: Daytona 500 qualifying results". www.espn.com. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  4. ^ Lap114
  5. ^ Official results of 2001 Daytona 500 on Racing-Reference.info
  6. ^ "2001 Daytona 500 - Racing-Reference.info". Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  7. ^ "The dark day Dale Earnhardt made time stand still at Daytona". Fox Sports. 2016-02-15. Retrieved 2020-02-16.
  8. ^ "Fox broadcasters look back at 2001 Daytona 500 on Fox". Awful Announcing. 2020-02-15. Retrieved 2020-02-16.
  9. ^ "For the first time in 47 years, Darrell Waltrip doesn't know what's next". ESPN.com. 2019-05-23. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  10. ^ "Fox Shifting To Two-Man NASCAR Booth With Joy, Gordon". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 2020-02-16.