Countdown To The 20th Running: The 1995 Brickyard 400
A portion of the below story and excerpts were used from "Brickyard 400 Five Years of NASCAR at Indy," an official publication of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Date: August 5, 1995
Race Winner: Dale Earnhardt
Pole Winner: Jeff Gordon
He had to win one of these. He just had to. The Brickyard 400 just wouldn’t have been the Brickyard 400 if Dale Earnhardt didn’t win at least once. He did. In 1995, the NASCAR Hall of Famer and seven-time champion added his name to the illustrious list of winners at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
After a four hour delay because of rain, the second annual Brickyard 400 began. Drivers took the green flag at 4:25 p.m. and polesitter and defending Brickyard 400 champion Jeff Gordon led the opening 31 laps. A total of 11 drivers swapped the lead 17 times during the race.
Bill Elliot would lead for 47 laps, Dale Earnhardt would lead for 28 laps, and Rusty Wallace would lead for 22 laps. Jeff Gordon led more laps than everyone except Bill Elliot, but the handling of his No. 24 Chevrolet Monte Carlo faded slightly toward the end, and he finished sixth.
Jeff Burton’s single-car spin in Turn 2 at Lap 133 brought out the day’s only caution period. Much of the day belonged to Rusty Wallace, who started 24th but quickly worked his way through traffic. He gained nine spots in the first 10 laps, five more positions in the next 20 laps, and then took the lead for the first time on Lap 70. He stayed among the top five until pitting for gas and tires at Lap 97 on a green-flag stop that left him ninth. However, he powered back to the lead 12 laps later by passing Gordon, whose car was beginning to fade. Wallace built his lead much as 3.2 seconds before losing the lead.
Earnhardt, who started his Chevrolet Monte Carlo 13th and quietly loitered among the top five, was running second when he came in for his final green-flag stop. It came at Lap 128, and he needed 18 seconds to take four tires and gas. Wallace pitted at the same time for four tires and gas but lost precious seconds by having to slow up when Rich Bickle and Joe Nemechek banged together ahead of him on his exit from the pits. By the time Rusty Wallace zigged to miss a tire rolling across his path, he had lost the lead to Earnhardt.
By the time all cars cycled through pit stops, Earnhardt was ahead to stay. In the end, the seven-time champion beat Wallace by nearly half a second, with Dale Jarrett almost a second behind.
"The last pit stop was the key," Earnhardt said. "To come up here and run is quite an honor, but to be a Brickyard 400 winner is pretty impressive."