Welcome to Random Recaps, our new weekly feature at From The Marbles. In this space, we’ll recap a race from the past at the track the where Sprint Cup Series is racing next. This week’s race is the 1999 MBNA Platinum 400.
Bobby Labonte won the MBNA Platinum 400 from the pole as he beat Jeff Gordon, the only other car that finished the race on the lead lap thanks to great gas mileage.
Labonte passed Gordon with six laps to go to take the lead for good. Gordon, like many other cars, was forced to pit for fuel to make it to the end of the race, and when he did, Labonte inherited the lead as he didn’t have to make a pit stop.
Until he was passed, Gordon had led 83 laps since taking the lead from Dale Jarrett. It was the second-straight Dover spring race that Gordon forfeited late by having to head to pit road. In 1998, Gordon was leading but had to pit with seven laps to go. Jarrett passed him while Gordon was on pit road and cruised to the win.
Labonte and Gordon ended up as the only cars on the lead lap thanks to a long green-flag run to end the race. The face’s fourth and final caution ended on lap 295, meaning the final 105 laps were run without a yellow. Six cars finished a lap down as ninth-place Jeremy Mayfield, who ran out of fuel, ended the race two laps down.
Mark Martin finished third and Tony Stewart, who led the most laps of anyone with 127, finished fourth.
Darrell Waltrip failed to qualify for the race, the second time he had missed a race in his career. His first missed race came in 1997 in the fall race at Charlotte.
Epilogue: If you have a few moments, watch a bit of the race broadcast and notice some of the stark differences in the 16 years since this race. At one point early in the race, Dick Berggren mentions that there are 122,000 people at Dover and the track is preparing to add more seats to accommodate more folks. Dover’s capacity is now less than 100,000 and the track hasn’t been sold out for quite some time.
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