News & Multimedia

Countdown To The 20th Running: The 1997 Brickyard 400
Date: August 2, 1997
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speed Way
Race Winner: Ricky Rudd
Pole Winner: Ernie Irvan
From January 1, 1981, to November 20, 2005, Ricky Rudd showed up at the track almost every for 788 consecutive races earning him the moniker as NASCAR’s "Iron Man." However, on August 2, 1997, Rudd was more brick than iron when he scored perhaps his most prestigious victory in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 
For the first two-thirds of the 1997 fourth annual Brickyard 400, it seemed that the event was headed for its first two-time winner. Jeff Gordon appeared to have one of the strongest cars in the field and defending champion of the Brickyard 400, Dale Jarrett was right in his tire tracks. The two were either leading or in the battle for the lead, along with others like Jeff Burton and Ernie Irvan.
As the final third portion of the race began, Virginia native Ricky Rudd decided to play a fuel-mileage game, knowing it was his only hope of winning. Rudd’s Tide Ford conserved fuel from the beginning of the race. The fuel window was in the 38-42 lap range for all the teams. With 46 laps to go and a full load of fuel on board, Rudd decided to roll the dice. The final tour of the 2.5-mile oval began. While other teams began plans to make their final pit stop with 10 laps to go, Rudd maintained his conservative pace.
With 14 laps remaining in the race, the yellow flag flew after Robby Gordon slapped the wall between the first and second turns. Most teams headed for pit road but Rudd, Bobby Labonte and Johnny Benson remained on the track and gained the front of the field for the restart. The race restarted on lap 151.
Rudd’s lead was erased when Rich Bickle hit the third turn wall on lap 154 of the 160-lap race. Rudd was still at the point, but he now had to be concerned with a furious dash to the checkered flag if the green flag waved again. The cleanup was speedy, and with three laps left in the event, the green flag flew. Because the restart came with less than 10 laps to go, it was a single-file start, eliminating any problem for Rudd with lapped cars on his left, and he was able to burst away to a small lead. Bobby Labonte followed Ricky Rudd in preparation for a single-file restart with just three laps remaining in the race. Labonte was unable to catch Rudd after the green flag flew, but did manage to protect his position and finish second.
Rudd motored to a .183-second victory, becoming the fourth different driver to win the Brickyard 400. The independent owner/driver had just beaten the biggest teams in the sport in the richest race of the year.
Stories and excerpts used from The Official NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Yearbooks are used with permission of Round 5 Books and UMI Publications.
Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Countdown To The 20th Running: The 1997 Brickyard 400
 
Countdown To The 20th Running: The 1997 Brickyard 400
From January 1, 1981, to November 20, 2005, Ricky Rudd showed up at the track almost every for 788 consecutive races earning him the moniker as NASCAR’s "Iron Man." However, on August 2, 1997, Rudd was more brick than iron when he scored perhaps his most prestigious victory in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Related Media
Valentino Rossi
 
Cycle World Interview: Valentino Rossi
Cycle World Magazine's Maria Guidotti sat down with the nine-time MotoGP World Champion about the seasons so far, his battle his Marc Marquez, his relationship with teammate Jorge Lorenzo and much more.
Read More
Graham Rahal
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Rahal Ends Skid at Wild MAVTV 500
Graham Rahal ended a 124-race winless drought dating to April 6, 2008, on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and earned his second career victory.
Read More
Jason Sharkey
 
The Judges’ Word is Gold For Corvette Enthusiasts
One of the aspects that makes the Bloomington Gold Corvettes USA show -- appearing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through Saturday -- the biggest and most prestigious of its kind in the world is the judging that takes place, offering Corvette enthusiasts confirmation that their Corvette meets the highest standards.
Read More
Jorge Lorenzo
 
The Cathedral To Host Epic Yamaha Showdown
The Motul TT Assen will host to a battle between Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo for the lead in the MotoGP World Championship standings.
Read More
Saints of Valory
 
Saints of Valory Added as Second Special Guest to Open for The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones have announced that Saints of Valory have been added as the second special guest to open their show in Indianapolis on Saturday, July 4, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 500
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
Request. Ride. Rock. http://t.co/VAQyqwRAHC #StonesIndy #ThinkAndRide http://t.co/bv45ezNAQ3
about 2 minutes ago