MRN Flashback: 1998 California 500

Mark Martin

Martin started third, led a race-high 165 laps – including the final 45 – and beat runner-up Jeremy Mayfield to the checkered flag by 1.287 seconds. (Photo: ISC Archives)

In the early weeks of the 1998 NASCAR season, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon established themselves as Sprint Cup Series championship contenders … each winning twice in the first two months of the campaign.

On May 3, 1998, it was Martin who gained the advantage – driving his No. 6 Roush Racing Ford to victory in the second running of the California 500 at Auto Club Speedway.

Martin started third, led a race-high 165 laps – including the final 45 – and beat runner-up Jeremy Mayfield to the checkered flag by 1.287 seconds. Terry Labonte finished third.

Gordon, seeking his third Cup Series championship in four years, had qualified on the pole and led the first 21 laps before yielding to Mayfield. He would lead only two circuits during the rest of the afternoon and finished fourth. Darrell Waltrip completed the top five.

There were 18 lead changes among just eight drivers with six cautions for 35 laps. Kenny Irwin was the highest-finishing rookie, in 16th place.

Following the weekend at Fontana, Gordon caught fire with victories in 11 of the year’s final 23 races, including a four-race mid-summer winning streak that helped carry him to the championship. Martin ended the season with seven wins and finished second to Gordon in the title chase.

Visit MotorRacingNetwork.com on Thursday at 1 p.m. (ET) to hear the complete broadcast of the 1998 California 500 Presented by NAPA, anchored by Barney Hall and Allen Bestwick. Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR” – will feature a classic race broadcast each week on “Throwback Thursday” throughout the 2013 season at MotorRacingNetwork.com.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup

Photos

  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • From the Archives: Pocono
  • Gordon Wins Fifth at Indy
  • Gordon Wins Fifth at Indy
  • Gordon Wins Fifth at Indy
  • Gordon Wins Fifth at Indy
  • Gordon Wins Fifth at Indy
  • Gordon Wins Fifth at Indy
  • Gordon Wins Fifth at Indy
  • Gordon Wins Fifth at Indy
  • Gordon Wins Fifth at Indy
  • Gordon Wins Fifth at Indy
  • Gordon Wins Fifth at Indy
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Gordon Wins Fifth at Indy
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • Brickyard 400
  • 1994 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 1995 Brickyard Winner: Dale Earnhardt
  • 1996 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
  • 1997 Brickyard Winner: Ricky Rudd
  • 1998 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 1999 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
  • 2000 Brickyard Winner: Bobby Labonte
  • 2001 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2002 Brickyard Winner: Bill Elliott
  • 2003 Brickyard Winner: Kevin Harvick
  • 2004 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2005 Brickyard Winner: Tony Stewart
  • 2006 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2007 Brickyard Winner: Tony Stewart
  • 2008 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2009 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2010 Brickyard Winner: Jamie McMurray
  • 2011 Brickyard Winner: Paul Menard
  • 2012 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
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