By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
NOTE: Video of the finish of the 1999 Las Vegas 400 is included at the bottom of this post
This week we turn back the clocks to March 7, 1999 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup (then Winston Cup) Series Las Vegas 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
To paint a picture of the world when this race occurred, here are some of the signs of the times from March 7, 1999:
- Tony Stewart was in the midst of his rookie season in the Sprint Cup Series.
- Current up-and-coming driver, Todd Gilliland had not been born yet.
- The movie Analyze This, starring Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal, was the No. 1 movie at the box office.
- Pontiac still made cars.
This race marked the third of 34 races in the 1999 Cup Series season, and there are a few things I can recall off the top of my head about the event.
Tom Hubert’s qualifying effort: Hubert started a total of 11 races in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, and aside from this race he never started higher than 10th. Hubert was a road racing ace, but opened everyone’s eyes with an impressive fourth-place qualifying speed in his first — and only — oval start in the Cup Series. Hubert, who was driving the underdog No. 19 car, owned by Kurt Roehrig, would go on to finish 28th.
Big Melee: On lap 131, there was an eight car crash on the backstretch. Everyone was okay after the incident. The crash started when Kenny Irwin Jr. washed up the track and into Kenny Wallace. This sent Wallace and Irwin spinning in front of the field behind them. Irwin would slam into the inside retaining wall. Wallace would collect several other cars including Bill Elliott and Buckshot Jones.
Mike Skinner continues hot start to season: Skinner started fifth in this race, and ran near the front all day long. Skinner eventually wound up in fourth, and left this race with the point lead for the second week in a row. Skinner’s championship hopes would begin to fizzle at Darlington two races later, and by season’s end Skinner would be the 10th place man in the championship standings.
Brother versus Brother: Although Jeff Burton started 19th in this race, and his older brother Ward started way back in 30th, it didn’t stop the brothers for putting on a show for the win. Jeff dominated on the day leading 111 of the 267 laps, but it was Ward who held the lead with just 15 laps left in the race.
Here is the battle that occurred between the two Burtons over the final 15 laps of the 1999 Las Vegas 400.
Image: RacingOne/Getty Images