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IROC - International Race of Champions - 1997

IROC - International Race of Champions

IROC began its third decade of competition with the traditional opener at Daytona, won for the first time by Al Unser Jr. He joined his father, Al, and uncle, Bobby, as IROC winners on stock-car racing’s most famous speedway. Mark Martin found victory lane for the second straight year, under the lights, at Charlotte. Martin came back to claim the inaugural IROC event at the California Speedway in the series’ first appearance in Southern California since 1988. Randy LaJoie made the history books as the first NASCAR Busch Grand National driver to score an IROC triumph, at Michigan, as Martin clinched the title to become IROC’s only three-time champion. (from IROC Website)

The 1997 IROC Drivers
Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Tommy Kendall, Randy LaJoie, Darrell Waltrip, Robby Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jimmy Vasser, Terry Labonte, Al Unser Jr, Alex Zanardi

 

Final Points


IROC 21 Champion
Mark Martin

Position
Driver/Residence/Sanction
Points
Money Earned
1
Mark Martin/Daytona Beach, FL/NASCAR
72 225,000
2
Robby Gordon/Cornelius, NC/SCORE
63 100,000
3
Randy LaJoie/Kannapolis, NC/NASCAR
58 60,000
4
Al Unser Jr./Albuquerque, NM/CART
57 50,000
5
Terry Labonte/Thomasville, NC/NASCAR
43 45,000
6
Jeff Gordon/Davidson, NC/NASCAR
39 40,000
7
Dale Earnhardt/Mooresville, NC/NASCAR
35 40,000
8
* Dale Jarrett/Hickory, NC/NASCAR
34 40,000
9
Tom Kendall/Santa Monica, CA/SCCA
34 40,000
10
Jimmy Vasser/Las Vegas, NV/CART
30 40,000
11
Darrell Waltrip/Franklin, TN/NASCAR
18 40,000
12
Alex Zanardi/Indianapolis, IN/CART
17 40,000
 
* Tie-breaker: Higher finishing position in final race

 

Race One

 
February 14, 1997
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
2.5-mile high-banked oval, 40 laps, 100 miles

 

Finish

Start

Driver

Laps

Status

1 12
Al Unser Jr. - Green
40 Running
2 7
Mark Martin - Lt Blue
40 Running
3 2
Dale Earnhardt - Gold
40 Running
4 10
Randy LaJoie - White
40 Running
5 4
Tom Kendall - Violet
40 Running
6 8
Terry Labonte - Med Blue
40 Running
7 9
Dale Jarrett - Hugger Orange
40 Running
8 5
Robby Gordon - Silver
40 Running
9 3
Jeff Gordon - Red
40 Running
10 1
Alex Zanardi - Aqua
40 Running
11 6
Darrell Waltrip - Yellow
40 Running
12 11
Jimmy Vasser - Dk Blue
40 Running

 

Time of Race: 33 minutes, 43 seconds
Average Speed: 177.602 MPH
Margin of Victory: .122 second
Caution Flags : None
Lead Changes: 16 among 8 drivers
Lap Leaders: J. Gordon, 1-2; Waltrip, 3; Martin, 4; Jarrett, 5-6; Waltrip, 7; J. Gordon, 8-10; Waltrip, 11-12; Labonte, 13; R. Gordon, 14; Unser Jr., 15-24; Waltrip, 25; J. Gordon, 26; Earnhardt, 27-28; R. Gordon, 29; J. Gordon, 30-32; Unser Jr., 33-40.

 

Race Two

 
May 16, 1997
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Concord, North Carolina
1.5-mile oval, 67 laps, 100.5 miles

 

Finish

Start

Driver

Laps

Status

1 10
Mark Martin - Hugger Orange
67 Running
2 12
Robby Gordon - Rose
67 Running
3 4
Jeff Gordon - Purple
67 Running
4 1
Jimmy Vasser - Lt Blue
67 Running
5 11
Al Unser Jr - Red
67 Running
6 6
Terry Labonte - Yellow
67 Running
7 8
Randy LaJoie - Cream
67 Running
8 9
Dale Earnhardt - Brt Orange
67 Running
9 7
Tom Kendall - Lime
67 Running
10 5
Dale Jarrett - Green
67 Running
11 2
Darrell Waltrip - Silver
67 Running
12 3
Alex Zanardi - Med Blue
50 Suspension
** Robby Gordon missed the mandatory IROC drivers’
meeting and was moved from 5th to 12th starting position.

 

Time of Race: 36 minutes, 56 seconds
Average Speed: 163.267 MPH
Margin of Victory: .22 second
Caution Flags: None
Lead Changes: 1 among 2 drivers
Lap Leaders: Vasser, 1-58; Martin 59-67.

 

Race Three

 
June 21, 1997
California Speedway
Fontana, California
2-mile oval, 50 laps, 100 miles

 

Finish

Start

Driver

Laps

Status

1 12
Mark Martin - Dk Blue
50 Running
2 10
* Bobby Labonte - Silver
50 Running
3 5
Terry Labonte - Brt Orange
50 Running
4 6
Randy LaJoie - Lime
50 Running
5 9
Jeff Gordon - Green
50 Running
6 11
Al Unser Jr - White
50 Running
7 4
Tom Kendall - Lt Blue
50 Running
8 3
Dale Jarrett - Cream
50 Running
9 8
Dale Earnhardt - Yellow
50 Running
10 7
Jimmy Vasser - Red
50 Running
11 2
Darrell Waltrip - Rose
49 Running
12 1
** Alex Zanardi - Hugger Orange
4 Accident
 
* Bobby Labonte drove in place of the injured Robby Gordon. The points he earned were credited to Robby Gordon’s total for the series.
 
** Alex Zanardi moved to rear of field in backup car after accident before start.

 

Time of Race: 36 minutes, 30 seconds
Average Speed: 164.384 MPH
Margin of Victory: .129 second
Caution Flags: 1 (Zanardi accident before start; Zanardi accident after Lap 4.)
Lead Changes: 5 among 4 drivers
Lap Leaders: Jarrett, 1; Terry Labonte, 2-6; Martin, 7-22; Bobby Labonte, 23-47; Martin, 48-50.

 

Race Four

 
July 27, 1997
Michigan International Speedway
Brooklyn, Michigan
Two-mile superspeedway, 50 laps, 100 miles.

 

Finish

Start

Driver

Laps

Status

1 7
Randy LaJoie - Violet
50 Running
2 11
Robby Gordon - Red
50 Running
3 3
Dale Jarrett - Brt Orange
50 Running
4 10
Al Unser Jr - Green
50 Running
5 4
Tom Kendall - White
50 Running
6 9
Terry Labonte - Dk Blue
50 Running
7 6
Dale Earnhardt - Lime
50 Running
8 12
Mark Martin - Yellow
50 Running
9 8
Jeff Gordon - Gold
50 Running
10 5
Jimmy Vasser - Cream
26 Retired
11 2
Darrell Waltrip - Lt Blue
14 Retired
12 1
Alex Zanardi - Rose
12 Retired

 

Time of Race: 36 minutes, 22 seconds
Average Speed: 164.271 MPH
Margin of Victory: . 387 second
Caution Flags: None
Lead Changes: 1 among 2 drivers
Lap Leaders: Zanardi, 1-2; LaJoie, 3-50.