1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Chronology

The 1998 season marked NASCAR's 50th anniversary, and the 40th running of the Daytona 500. Adding another layer of significance to the occasion, popular NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt registered a dominating win -- after 20 attempts -- in this crown jewel race of the NASCAR Winston Cup season.

Jeff Gordon, however, would take the season's ultimate title for the second year in a row. Experience the excitement again with our 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup chronology, which features several pictures of 1998 racing events.

February 15, 1998: Daytona 500

With the Thunderbird no longer available, Ford introduces the Taurus for competition in NASCAR's 50th Anniversary season. Dale Earn­hardt ends two decades of frustration at the Daytona 500. Earnhardt, making his 20th start in NASCAR's annual "Super Bowl," leads the final 61 laps and edges Bobby Labonte at the ­finish. It is the 71st win of Earnhardt's ­career and it snaps a ­victory drought that dates back to 1996.

March 1, 1998

Mark Martin drives his Ford Taurus to victory in the inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Martin finishes 1.6 seconds ahead of teammate Jeff Burton as the Jack Roush team posts a 1-2 showing.

April 5, 1998: Texas 500

Mark Martin passes Chad Little with 30 laps remaining and motors to a close victory in the Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Little and third-place finisher Robert Pressley enjoy the best finishes of their careers. A 13-car crash on the opening lap takes out many of the top contenders.

NASCAR Image Gallery

Dale Earnhardt leads the pack in the 1998 Daytona 500, a NASCAR Winston Cup series event.
Dale Earnhardt leads a pack of cars as they approach the white flag of the Feb. 15 Daytona 500. The final lap was run under caution due to an accident involving John Andretti and Lake Speed. Earnhardt finally prevailed in NASCAR's crown-jewel event after 20 years of trying. He also halted a career-long 59-race winless streak that stretched back to 1996. See more pictures of NASCAR.

April 20, 1998: Goody's 500

Bobby Hamilton's dominating performance nets an overwhelming victory in the Goody's 500 at Martins­ville Speedway. Hamilton finishes 6.3 ­seconds ahead of runner-up Ted Musgrave to score his third career NASCAR Winston Cup victory.

May 24, 1998: Coca-Cola 600

Jeff Gordon runs down Rusty Wallace with 10 laps to go and hustles to victory in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With his late-race pass, Gordon denies Wallace a shot at the Winston No Bull 5 $1 million bonus. Gordon also takes the points lead for the first time in the 1998 campaign.

Jeff Gordon drives during the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup series season.
Jeff Gordon swept both road-course events on the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup slate -- Sears Point in June and Watkins Glen in August. In the Aug. 9 The Bud At The Glen, Gordon overcame a slow pit stop, rallied from an 11-second deficit, and raced past leader Mike Skinner with four laps left. The victory gave Gordon an 82-point lead in the championship chase and put him in position to capture his third title in four years.

June 6, 1998: Pontiac 400

Terry Labonte bumps his way past Dale Jarrett with three laps remaining and notches his first win of the season in the Pontiac 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Jeff Gordon's victory bid is derailed when Rusty Wallace knocks him into the wall with 28 laps remaining.

June 21, 1998: Pocono 500

Jeremy Mayfield holds off Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarrett in a stirring finish to bag his first career NASCAR Winston Cup win in the Pocono 500. Mayfield leads 122 of the 200 laps on the triangular 2.5-mile speedway and the win comes in his 125th career start.

July 4, 1998

Raging forest fires in the state of Florida force Daytona International Speedway officials to postpone the Pepsi 400 until October. Wildfires burn more than 300,000 acres in the Sunshine State. It is the first time the holiday NASCAR classic is postponed since the track was built in 1959.

Jeff Gordon in the 1998 Pepsi Southern 500, a NASCAR Winston Cup series event.
Jeff Gordon continued his hot streak in the Sept. 6 Pepsi Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, scoring his seventh win in the last nine races. Gordon bagged another Winston No Bull 5 $1 million bonus with his late victory gallop, and the triumph gave him a comfortable 199-point lead in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings.

August 16, 1998: Pepsi 400

Title-bound Jeff Gordon racks up his fourth consecutive victory in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speed­way, rallying from a two-mile deficit in the final 22 laps. A timely caution flag bunches up the field and Gordon takes the lead with nine laps remaining.

September 6, 1998: Pepsi Southern 500

Jeff Gordon bags his sixth victory in the last seven races and wins another Winston No Bull 5 $1 million bonus with a win in the Pepsi Southern 500 at Darlington. Gordon pads his lead in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings to 199 points over Mark Martin.

Dale Earnhardt wins a 1998 qualifying race at the Daytona International Speedway.
Dale Earnhardt rides under the checkered flag to win the Feb. 12 Gatorade Twin 125-mile ­qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway. The narrow victory over the new Ford Tauruses of Dale Jarrett and Jeremy Mayfield was the ninth win in a row for Earnhardt in the preliminary sprint races. Ford brought the Taurus to NASCAR for the first time in 1998, making it the first four-door car to be approved for NASCAR's top series.

September 27, 1998: NAPA Autocare 500

Ricky Rudd overcomes 100-degree heat to win the NAPA Autocare 500 at Martinsville, giving him a victory in 16 consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup seasons. Rudd's feat leaves him two years shy of NASCAR's all-time record of 18 set by Richard Petty.

October 17, 1998: Pepsi 400

Jeff Gordon passes Kenny Irwin, Jr., with 38 laps remaining and hustles to victory in the rescheduled Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. For the first time, a race is staged under the lights at Daytona. Gordon wins for the 11th time in the 1998 season and is virtually assured of winning his third championship.

Jeff Gordon and Michael Waltrip in the 1998 Goodwrench Service Plus 400, a NASCAR Winston Cup series event.
Jeff Gordon rides the high side around #21 Michael Waltrip in the Feb. 22 GM Goodwrench Service Plus 400 at North Carolina Speedway. After Gordon fell to 31st in the first 100 miles, crew chief Ray Evernham adjusted the car on each pit stop. Near the end of the race, Gordon's #24 Chevrolet was untouchable. It was the 30th career NASCAR Winston Cup win for Gordon and his second straight at Rockingham.

November 8, 1998

After nearly a seven-hour rain delay, Jeff Gordon wins the finale at Atlanta for his 13th win of the season. Gordon finishes 364 points ahead of runner-up Mark Martin in the final NASCAR Winston Cup standings.

Continue to the next page for a look at this golden anniversary NASCAR season's final standings.

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1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Standings

Jeff Gordon moved past Jeremy Mayfield in late June to take the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup points lead and left all rivals to battle over the leftovers. Gordon motored to a 364-point win to capture his third championship during the NASCAR's 50th anniversary celebration.

1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon
1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon

Gordon won 13 races, tying a modern-era mark established by Richard Petty in 1975. Mark Martin finished a distant second to Gordon, marking his third runner-up finish.

Over the course of the season, the points lead changed hands five times among four drivers before Gordon set sail. Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, and Mayfield traded the lead before Gordon assumed command.

Third-place finisher Dale Jarrett won three races during the year, but his title hopes were dashed with poor finishes at Martinsville and Charlotte in the fall.

See how the other drivers fared with this 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup standings chart.

1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Standings

Rank
Driver
Points
Wins
Earnings
1
Jeff Gordon
5,328
13
$9,306,584
2
Mark Martin
4,964
7
4,309,006
3
Dale Jarrett
4,619
3
4,019,657
4
Rusty Wallace
4,501
1
2,667,889
5
Jeff Burton
4,415
2
2,626,987
6
Bobby Labonte
4,180
2
2,980,052
7
Jeremy Mayfield
4,157
1
2,332,034
8
Dale Earnhardt
3,928
1
2,990,749
9
Terry Labonte
3,901
1
2,054,163
10
Bobby Hamilton
3,786
1
2,089,566
11
John Andretti
3,682
0
1,838,379
12
Ken Schrader
3,675
0
1,887,399
13
Sterling Marlin
3,530
0
1,350,161
14
Jimmy Spencer
3,464
0
1,741,012
15
Chad Little
3,423
0
1,449,659
16
Ward Burton
3,352
0
1,516,183
17
Michael Waltrip
3,340
0
1,508,680
18
Bill Elliott
3,305
0
1,618,421
19
Ernie Irvan
3,262
0
1,600,452
20
Johnny Benson
3,160
0
1,360,335
21
Mike Skinner
3,153
0
1,518,901
22
Ricky Rudd
3,131
1
1,602,895
23
Ted Musgrave
3,124
0
1,253,626
24
Darrell Waltrip
2,957
0
1,056,475
25
Brett Bodine
2,907
0
1,281,673
26
Joe Nemechek
2,897
0
1,343,991
27
Geoff Bodine
2,864
0
1,247,255
28
Kenny Irwin
2,760
0
1,459,967
29
Dick Trickle
2,678
0
1,208,771
30
Kyle Petty
2,675
0
1,287,731
31
Kenny Wallace
2,615
0
1,019,861
32
Robert Pressley
2,388
0
996,721
33
Rick Mast
2,296
0
894,327
34
Steve Grissom
2,215
0
1,030,041
35
Kevin Lepage
2,196
0
852,721
36
Jerry Nadeau
2,121
0
804,867
37
Derrike Cope
2,065
0
956,980
38
Wally Dallenbach, Jr.
1,832
0
807,856
39
Rich Bickle
1,773 0
682,255
40
Jeff Green
1,687 0
589,841
41
Todd Bodine
1,322 0
378,766
42
Steve Park
1,322 0
487,265
43
Lake Speed
1,297 0
552,521
44
David Green
1,014
0
441,121
45
Dave Marcis
949
0
444,946
46
Ricky Craven
907
0
527,875
47
Morgan Shepherd
843
0
364,541
48
Gary Bradberry
787
0
341,307
49
Randy LaJoie
768
0
336,905
50
Hut Stricklin
700
0
337,106

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