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IROC - International Race of Champions - 2001

IROC - International Race of Champions

The 25th anniversary season was bitter sweet due to the loss of seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, Dale Earnhardt. Race 1 at Daytona International Speedway resulted in NASCAR driver, Dale Jarrett getting his first series victory, narrowly beating out his Winston Cup teammate, Ricky Rudd. Jarrett’s victory ceremony came in the wake of an on-track incident between the four-time, reigning IROC champion, Earnhardt and open-wheel ace, Eddie Cheever, Jr. When battling for the lead with two laps to go, Earnhardt and Cheever, Jr. made contact exiting the tri-oval resulting in Earnhardt taking a harrowing ride through the grass, regaining control and continuing on to a 7th place finish in his final IROC race.

Race 2 continued on the high-banks at Talladega Superspeedway where NASCAR Winston Cup champion, Bobby Labonte repeated his 2000 victory, dedicating the win to Dale Earnhardt. Open-wheel drivers, Kenny Brack and Buddy Lazier made the transition to stock cars look easy finishing second and third respectively.

Race 3 at Michigan International Speedway produced another first time series winner with a dominating run by Tony Stewart. Strong finishes abounded in the open-wheel ranks with Al Unser Jr., substituting for the injured Scott Goodyear, finishing second, followed by Kenny Brack and Eddie Cheever, Jr., third and fourth respectively.

It was a close points battle among the top six, with the possibility of winning the 25th anniversary championship stretching back to eighth position. The final run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was evenly split among open-wheel drivers and stock car drivers. Bobby Labonte held a one-point lead over Kenny Brack, with Eddie Cheever, Jr. and Tony Stewart only five-points behind. Per the rules, the field was inverted by points, setting up a necessary run from the rear to the front by those contending for the championship, and once up front, contending with everyone for a coveted victory at Indy.

Bobby Labonte and NASCAR teammate, Tony Stewart, battled ferociously in the last stages of the race. Stewart was able to maintain second place after making contact with the wall coming off turn-four with four laps remaining. Labonte went on to secure the championship by winning the race with Brack finishing third behind Stewart. Labonte became the first driver to win at the Brickyard in two different series, having won the NASCAR Brickyard 400 in 2000.

The Labonte’s, Terry and Bobby, joined the Unser’s, Bobby and Al, as brothers who have won IROC series championships. (from IROC Website)

Final Points


IROC 25 Champion
Bobby Labonte


Position
Driver/Residence/Sanction
Points
Money Earned
1
Bobby Labonte/Trinity, NC - NASCAR
68 $250,000
2
Tony Stewart/Rushville, IN - NASCAR
58 $125,000
3
Kenny Brack/Dublin, OH - CART
57 $  80,000
4
Eddie Cheever, Jr./Orlando, FL - Indy Racing League
47 $ 72,000
5
Dale Jarrett/Hichory, NC - NASCAR
47 $  70,000
6
Ricky Rudd/Cornelius, NC - NASCAR 
45 $  65,000
7
Scott Goodyear/Carmel, IN - Indy Racing League
42 $  62,000
8
Jeff Burton/Huntersville, NC - NASCAR
32 $  61,000
9
Buddy Lazier/Vail, CO - /Indy Racing League
31 $  60,000
10
Jeff Green/Davidson, NC - NASCAR
28 $  60,000
11
Mark Dismore/Greenfield, IN - /Indy Racing League
25 $  60,000

 

Race One

 
February 16, 2001
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
2.5-mile high-banked oval, 40 laps, 100 miles

 

Finish

Start

Car

Name/Color

Laps

Status

1 7 7
Dale Jarrett/Blue
40 Running
2 10 10
Ricky Rudd/Gold
40 Running
3 2 2
Eddie Cheever, Jr./Silver
40 Running
4 5 5
Kenny Brack/Yellow
40 Running
5 11 11
Bobby Labonte/Violet
40 Running
6 4 4
Scott Goodyear/Aqua 
40 Running
7 1 1
Dale Earnhardt/Green
40 Running
8 6 6
Mark Dismore/Lime
36 Running
9 9 9
Tony Stewart/White
35 Running
10 3 3
Jeff Burton/Rose
26 Accident
11 8 8
Buddy Lazier/Red
26 Accident
12 12 12
Jeff Green/Black
9 Engine

Time of Race: 34 min. 40 sec.
Average Speed: 173.077
Margin of Victory: . 0.014 sec.
Caution Flags : 1
Lead Changes: 17 among 7
Lap Leaders: Burton 1-3, Earnhardt 4, Jarrett 5, Burton 6, Earnhardt 7, Brack 8, Labonte 9-13, Earnhardt, 14, Rudd 15-19, Earnhardt 20-25, Burton 26, Jarrett 27-28, Labonte 29, Jarrett 30-32, Earnhardt 33-38, Cheever 39, Jarrett, 40


Race Two

April 21, 2001
Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega, AL
2.66-mile high-banked tri-oval, 38 laps, 101.08 miles

 

Finish

Start

Car

Name/Color

Laps

Status

1 7 5
Bobby Labonte/White
38
Running
2 8 4
Kenny Brack/Yellow
38
Running
3 3 10
Buddy Lazier/Medium Blue
38
Running
4 10 2
Ricky Rudd/Gold
38
Running
5 9 3
Eddie Cheever Jr./Cream
38
Running
6 4 9
Jeff Burton/Violet 
38
Running
7 5 7
Mark Dismore/Silver
38
Running
8 2 11
Jeff Green/Lime
38
Running
9 6 6
Scott Goodyear/Aqua 
38
Running
10 1 8
Tony Stewart/Evans Orange
38
Running
11 11 1
Dale Jarrett/Red
35
Accident

Time of Race: 34 Min. 22 Sec.
Average Speed: 176.473
Margin of Victory: .2097
Caution Flags: 1
Lead Changes: 11 among 6
Lap Leaders: Stewart 1-5, Labonte 6, Burton 7, Green 8-10, Cheever 11-12, Stewart 13, Green 14, Stewart 15, Labonte 16-19, Jarrett 20, Green 21-36, Labonte 37-38


Race Three

 
June 9, 2001
Michigan International Speedway
Brooklyn, Michigan
Two-mile superspeedway, 50 laps, 100 miles.

 

Finish

Start

Driver

Laps

Status

1 11
Tony Stewart/Evans Orange
50
Running
2 9
Al Unser Jr. - Scott Goodyear/White
50
Running
3 3
Kenny Brack/Violet
50
Running
4 5
Eddie Cheever Jr./Silver
50
Running
5 1
Bobby Labonte/Yellow
50
Running
6 6
Buddy Lazier/Dark Blue
50
Running
7 10
Jeff Burton/Lime
50
Running
8 4
Dale Jarrett - Dave Marcis/Red
50
Running
9 8
Jeff Green/Medium Blue
50
Running
10 2
Ricky Rudd/Black
50
Running
11 7
Mark Dismore/Rose
49
Running

Time of Race: 37min 28sec.
Average Speed: 160.142 MPH
Margin of Victory: 2.875 sec  
Caution Flags: 0
Lead Changes: 1 among 2 drivers  
Lap Leaders: Cheever 1-2, Stewart 3-50


Race Four

 
August 4, 2001
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis, IN
2.5-mile oval, 40 laps, 100 miles

 

Finish

Start

Driver

Laps

Status

1 1
Bobby Labonte/Black
40
Running
2 4
Tony Stewart/Silver
40
Running
3 2
Kenny Brack/Orange
40
Running
4 6
Dale Jarrett/Aqua
40
Running
5 7
Al Unser Jr./ Scott Goodyear/White
40
Running
6 5
Ricky Rudd/Medium Blue
40
Running
7 3
Eddie Cheever Jr./Dark Blue
40
Running
8 10
Jeff Green/Rose
40
Running
9 11
Mark Dismore/Lime
39
Running
10 9
Jeff Burton/Creme
19
Accident
11 8
Buddy Lazier/Violet
19
Accident

Time of Race: 38min 39sec
Average Speed: 155.239 mph
Margin of Victory: .324
Caution Flags: 2
Lead Changes: 3 among 3 drivers  
Lap Leaders: 1-19 Burton, 20-25 Labonte, 26-33 Stewart, 34-40 Labonte