2001 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500
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2001 Cracker Barrel Old County Store 500
Race details
Race 4 of 36 of in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
Atlanta Motor Speedway (after 1997, before Atlanta International Speedway)
Atlanta Motor Speedway (after 1997, before Atlanta International Speedway)
Date March 11, 2001 (2001-03-11)
Location Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Georgia
Course Permanent racing facility
1.54 mi (2.48 km)
Distance 325 laps, 500.5 mi (805.4 km)
Weather Temperatures reaching up to 68 °F (20 °C); wind speeds up to 6 miles per hour (9.7 km/h)[1]
Average speed 143.273 mph (230.576 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Yates Racing
Time 28.763
Most laps led
Driver Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports
Laps 118
No. 29 Kevin Harvick Richard Childress Racing
Television in the United States
Network Fox Broadcasting Network
Announcers Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds, Darrell Waltrip
Nielsen Ratings 5.7[2]

The 2001 Cracker Barrel Old County Store 500 was the fourth stock car race of the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. It was held on March 11, 2001 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, in Hampton, Georgia. The 325-lap race was won by Kevin Harvick of the Richard Childress Racing team after starting from fifth position. Jeff Gordon finished second and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jerry Nadeau came in third.

Pole position driver Dale Jarrett maintained his lead for the first six laps of the race, but Harvick, who started fifth, passed him on the seventh lap. Gordon soon became the leader and would lead the race high of 118 laps. Five laps from the finish, Harvick took the lead after a five-car battle. On the final lap, Harvick won his first Winston Cup Series race from Gordon by .006 seconds in his third start.

There were 8 cautions and 25 lead changes among 11 different drivers. The result left Gordon in first position of the Drivers' Championship, thirty-seven ahead of second place driver Sterling Marlin and seventy-three ahead of Johnny Benson. Chevrolet maintained its lead in the Manufacturers' Championship, fourteen points ahead of Ford and twenty ahead of Pontiac, with thirty-two races remaining in the season.



The track, Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of three quad-oval tracks to hold NASCAR races, the others being Charlotte Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.[3] The standard track at Atlanta Motor Speedway is a four-turn quad-oval that is 1.54 miles (2.48 km) long. The track's turns are banked at twenty-four degrees, while the straightaways are banked at five degrees.[4] Atlanta Motor Speedway can seat up to 99,000 people.

Before the race, Sterling Marlin was leading the Drivers' Championship with 468 points, and Jeff Gordon stood in second with 433 points. Michael Waltrip was third in the Drivers' Championship with 415 points, Dale Jarrett was fourth with 411 points, and Steve Park was fifth with 401 points.[5] In the Manufacturers' Championship, Chevrolet were leading with 27 points, nine points ahead of their rival Ford. Pontiac, with 12 points, were two points ahead of Dodge in the battle for third.[6]Dale Earnhardt was the race's defending champion.[7]

Practice and qualifying

Two practice sessions were held before the Sunday race--one on Friday, and one on Saturday. The first session lasted 120 minutes, and the second 60 minutes.[8] During the first practice session, Jarrett was fastest, placing ahead of Jimmy Spencer in second and Gordon in third. Kevin Harvick was scored fourth, and Brett Bodine placed fifth.

During Friday afternoon qualifying, forty-six cars were entered, but only forty-three were able to race because of NASCAR's qualifying procedure.[9]Dale Jarrett clinched his second consecutive pole position of 2001 with a time of 28.763 seconds. He was joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, Todd Bodine and Mark Martin shared the second row in the third and fourth position,[10] while Kevin Harvick, with a time of 28.908, qualified fifth. Jeremy Mayfield, Dave Blaney, Jimmy Spencer, Rusty Wallace and Michael Waltrip rounded out the top ten qualifiers. The three drivers that failed to qualify were Rick Mast, Carl Long and Casey Atwood.[9]


The race, the fourth out of a total of thirty-six in the season, began at 1 p.m. EST and was televised live in the United States on FOX. To begin pre-race ceremonies, at 1 p.m EST, Phil Brannon, the Atlanta Motor Speedway Chaplain, gave the invocation. Then, Moby in the Morning, from local radio station WKHX-FM performed the national anthem, and television personality Willard Scott gave the command for drivers to start their engines.[11]

Dale Jarrett made a good start, retaining the first position; Jeff Gordon behind him maintained second position. At the end of the first lap, Kevin Harvick passed Gordon. By lap 3, Jerry Nadeau was clipped by Michael Waltrip with Robert Pressley spinning out and nearly being clipped by Nadeau. During the same lap, the grandstands fell silent and spectators held up a three-finger salute in the memory of Dale Earnhardt--who was killed in an accident during the Daytona 500 three weeks previously; and 7,000 balloons were released into the air.[11]

On the final lap (325), Gordon attempted a pass on Harvick the straightway but Harvick won his first Winston Cup Series race by .006 seconds, the second closest finish in a NASCAR-sanctioned race. Nadeau followed in third, ahead of Jarrett in fourth and Terry Labonte in fifth.[12]


Kevin Harvick appeared in victory lane after his victory lap to start celebrating his first win in the Winston Cup Series. Harvick's victory took place in his third start, breaking the record of the fewest number starts to first victory previously held by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.[12]



Car Driver Team Manufacturer Time (in seconds) Grid
88 Dale Jarrett Robert Yates Racing Ford 28.763 1
24 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 28.813 2
66 Todd Bodine Haas-Carter Motorsports Ford 28.827 3
6 Mark Martin Roush Fenway Racing Ford 28.892 4
29 Kevin Harvick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 28.908 5
12 Jeremy Mayfield Penske Racing Ford 28.950 6
93 Dave Blaney Bill Davis Racing Dodge 28.976 7
26 Jimmy Spencer Haas-Carter Motorsports Ford 28.993 8
2 Rusty Wallace Penske Racing Ford 28.996 9
15 Michael Waltrip Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 28.998 10
33 Joe Nemechek Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet 29.034 11
40 Sterling Marlin Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge 29.036 12
25 Jerry Nadeau Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 29.053 13
22 Ward Burton Bill Davis Racing Dodge 29.063 14
14 Ron Hornaday, Jr. A.J. Foyt Racing Pontiac 29.065 15
44 Buckshot Jones Petty Enterprises Dodge 29.067 16
8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 29.078 17
45 Kyle Petty Petty Enterprises Dodge 29.094 18
10 Johnny Benson Ginn Racing Pontiac 29.138 19
43 John Andretti Petty Enterprises Dodge 29.142 20
5 Terry Labonte Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 29.147 21
01 Jason Leffler Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge 29.156 22
28 Ricky Rudd Robert Yates Racing Ford 29.165 23
9 Bill Elliott Evernham Motorsports Dodge 29.176 24
90 Hut Stricklin Donlavey Racing Ford 29.179 25
11 Brett Bodine Brett Bodine Racing Ford 29.196 26
36 Ken Schrader MB2 Motorsports Pontiac 29.203 27
92 Stacy Compton Melling Racing Dodge 29.213 28
96 Andy Houston PPI Motorsports Ford 29.222 29
31 Mike Skinner Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 29.235 30
55 Bobby Hamilton Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet 29.243 31
1 Steve Park Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 29.244 32
77 Robert Pressley Jasper Motorsports Ford 29.315 33
18 Bobby Labonte Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac 29.325 34
20 Tony Stewart Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac 29.330 35
97 Kurt Busch Roush Fenway Racing Ford 29.394 36
99 Jeff Burton Roush Fenway Racing Ford Provisional 37
17 Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Racing Ford Provisional 38
7 Mike Wallace Ultra Motorsports Ford Provisional 39
21 Elliott Sadler Wood Brothers Racing Ford Provisional 40
4 Robby Gordon Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet Provisional 41
27 Kenny Wallace Eel River Racing Pontiac Provisional 42
32 Ricky Craven PPI Motorsports Ford Provisional 43
Failed to Qualify
50 Rick Mast Midwest Transit Racing Chevrolet 29.429 44
85 Carl Long Mansion Motorsports Ford Motor Company 29.565 45
19 Casey Atwood Evernham Motorsports Dodge 29.696 46



  1. ^ "Weather Information for the 2001 Cracker Barrel Old County Store 500". The Farmer's Almanac. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ King, Bill (March 12, 2001). "TV - FOX Rolls On With 5.7 Overnight from Atlanta". Speedvision. Archived from the original on June 10, 2001.
  3. ^ "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR.com. Archived from the original on September 12, 2010. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ "NASCAR Tracks - Atlanta Motor Speedway". Archived from the original on July 21, 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ "Standings: 2001 Official Driver Standings: UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400". NASCAR.com. Archived from the original on October 4, 2009. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ "2001 Manufacturers Championship". Jayski. Retrieved 2001.
  7. ^ "2000 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500". Racing Reference. Yardbreaker. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ "Event Schedule". Jayski's Silly Season Site. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 2014.
  9. ^ a b c "Race Lineup". NASCAR.com. Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ Thomas, Stephen (March 9, 2001). "Jarrett charges to Cracker Barrel 500 pole position". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ a b NASCAR on Fox (Television production). Hampton, Georgia: Fox Sports (Fox Broadcasting Company). March 11, 2001.
  12. ^ a b Thomas, Stephen (March 11, 2001). "Rookie Harvick wins Cracker Barrel 500 at the line". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2014.

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