In the immediate aftermath of the 1997 Food City 500, Rusty Wallace called it “one of those little love taps.”
In the years since, Jeff Gordon’s move to win the race on the last lap has affectionately come to be called the bump-and-run.
The race came down to Wallace, who had five Bristol wins at that point, and Gordon, who had won the last two spring Bristol races.
With Terry Labonte right behind them in the final laps, Wallace kept Gordon at bay until the last lap, when he was slowed up by the lapped car of Jimmy Spencer coming off Turn 2.
That was enough to give Gordon the momentum he needed to deliver a shot to Wallace’s rear bumper in Turn 3 and send him up a lane.
Gordon raced by the take the checkered flag, his third of what would be 10 wins in 1997. Gordon would win a fourth straight Food City 500 the following year.
Also on this date:
1968: Richard Petty won a race at Greenville-Pickens (S.C) Speedway by three laps over Bobby Isaac. But according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: Big Bucks and Boycotts,” Petty did not earn any points from the win after NASCAR enforced a rule that required drivers to submit written entries to the race promotor and NASCAR, which Petty did not do.
1975: After being two laps down in seventh with 40 laps to go, Bobby Allison came back to win at Darlington. He was aided by a wreck between leaders Benny Parsons and David Pearson with 17 laps to go. Allison passed Darrell Waltrip for the lead with eight laps to go and held on for the win.
1986: Dale Earnhardt won at Darlington after leading all but 32 of the race’s 367 laps. He only lost the lead when he had to pit.