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July 1, 2000
Pepsi 400
Daytona International Speedway
CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

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Pepsi 400 - Daytona International Speedway

Jeff Gordon will start in 34th position for the night race at Daytona. Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd, Robert Yates Racing teammates, swept the front row at Daytona for the second time this season. Dale Jarrett circled the 2.5 mile tri-oval in a time of 47.988 seconds (187.547 mph). Gordon's lap, however, took 48.943 seconds (183.887 mph). Gordon's qualifying on the superspeedway's hasn't had anything to do with how he finishes this season. Gordon gained his first win of the season at Talladega, where he qualified in the 36th position. Provided there are no mechanical errors for the #24 team, look for at least a top-5 finish for them this weekend, if not a win.

It was an up and down night for the #24 DuPont Chevy Team and Jeff Gordon. Jeff made great progress in getting toward the front in the first laps, but then fell back to about 27th place. According to team members, Gordon just couldn't get with the draft, which is vital to winning at Daytona. Just before the first caution, Gordon got on a roll and got up as far as 18th.

Then, the first caution came out. Terry Labonte got very loose and spun his car in the tri-oval. Michael Waltrip got into him and spun. Jeremy Mayfield got clipped by Waltrip's sliding car and was also taken out of contention. Labonte got the worst of it, however. His car slid along the wall and knocked him unconscious. He was taken to the nearest hospital but was found to be okay.

All the leaders pitted, and the Rainbow Warriors were able to gain 10 spots for Jeff Gordon, getting him up into eighth position. Gordon backslid on the restart and stayed just outside of the top-10.

The leaders pitted again when the second caution came out for Scott Pruett's single car wreck. Again, Gordon gained position. Again, he backslid on the restart.

After the next pitstop, Gordon was up to third place. But again, he slid back to about tenth. Gordon said, "I'd get a restart and I had no prayer to stay in there. They'd just pull right out and go by me. I was getting ready to get the 22, and I think if I'd got by the 22 I could have got by the 28. That would have been a real good for us."

"It's all right here," he said, lobbying while he pointed to his car's rear spoiler. "That thing is just catching so much air. It's ridiculous how awesome those guys are. We did everything we could. I wish it had stayed green. We were out-handling them. That's the one good thing about having this downforce. You can out handle them and we were."

"We got up front there, and I was real proud of these guys. They did an awesome job in the pits. We were making up like seven and eight spots in the pits, and that's pretty amazing. The car handled great. The longer we went green, the better we were. I'm thankful we got a top-10 out of this. Knowing what this team is capable of, it's just a little frustrating that you're not battling for a win up there."

On the final restart, Jeff was shuffled back but was able to get back to 10th place before the drop of the checkered flag. Jeff Burton went on to win his first restrictor-plate race. Dale Jarrett, defending champion of the Pepsi 400 and winner of two consecutive Daytona races to date, finished second. Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, and Ricky Rudd rounded out Ford's sweep of the top five. Tony Stewart and Ward Burton followed in 6th and 7th in Pontiacs. Dale Earnhardt was the highest finishing Chevrolet in 8th, followed by Mike Skinner and Jeff Gordon.


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