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Dale Jarrett takes Daytona

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Dale Jarrett takes Daytona
Feb 16, 2001, 11:45 PM

Daytona, February 16-NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran Dale Jarrett, driving the medium blue True Value IROC Pontiac Firebird, won his 1st True Value IROC Daytona race by .014 seconds over fellow NASCAR veteran Ricky Rudd in the first round of ...

Daytona, February 16-NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran Dale Jarrett, driving the medium blue True Value IROC Pontiac Firebird, won his 1st True Value IROC Daytona race by .014 seconds over fellow NASCAR veteran Ricky Rudd in the first round of the 25th True Value IROC series at Daytona International Speedway.

Following Jarrett and Rudd with strong 3rd, 4th and 5th place finishes were Indy Racing Northern Lights Series veteran Eddie Cheever Jr., who started in 2nd position; CART FedEx driver, Kenny Brack and NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Bobby Labonte.

According to Jarrett, "It was a good race all around, exciting from start to finish with a lot of contact out there. It is really great to finally win an IROC race. I knew that Eddie was going to try and block me, so I went as far down as I could. It left the middle wide open and I went to make it three-wide. Then it was just up to Ricky and me. We came off turn four beating on each other, probably me beating on him more than him beating on me. It was pretty incredible racing."

Nine of the twelve drivers finished the tightly-packed, physical race that included 17 lead changes, two incidents and one caution period. On lap 26 of the race, True Value IROC champion Dale Earnhardt barely avoided severe damage from contact caused by NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jeff Burton. Burton cut to the high side on lap 26, sandwiching Earnhardt against the wall.

Earnhardt rode out the collision, while Burton spun collecting Kenny Brack and Northern Light series driver Mark Dismore. Burton's car was retired from the race, Brack and Earnhardt continued with Dismore returning four laps down after repairs.

The deciding point of the race, however, came with only two laps to go when battling for the lead, Eddie Cheever, Jr. and Dale Earnhardt tangled going into turn one with Earnhardt going through the grass at 185 mph, amazingly, Earnhardt retained control of his race car and continued. "I know Earnhardt didn't win this race, but what he did out there in saving that race car is prove, he's the best driver in the world," said Dale Jarrett in Victory Lane. Cheever's contact with Earnhardt opened the door for Jarrett and Rudd to take the top spots going into the third turn all the way through to the stripe. The purse for the 2000 True Value IROC series totals of $1,025,000 with $250,000 awarded to the champion based on cumulative point standings at the end of the fourth race.

True Value contributed a total of $40,000 to the Make-A-Wish foundation for the forty laps completed by Dale Earnhardt's pole position car.

The True Value IROC series matches 12 championship caliber drivers to compete in equalized Pontiac Firebird Trans Am race cars. The cars are differentiated by their brilliant DuPont ChromaSystems TM colors and outfitted with Goodyear Eagle radial race tires. The four-race series awards points according to finishing positions. At the end of the fourth event the points are tallied and a champion is declared.

True Value is the world's largest hardware and home center retailer with more than 6,500 locations worldwide, representing annual retail sales of more than $18 billion. True Value's racing involvement includes a 16-year history with IROC as well as involvement with NASCAR. Additional information on True Value and individual True Value locations is available at www.truevalue.com.

-IROC-

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