Jeff Gordon bumped Rusty Wallace for the win at Bristol Motor Speedway
In the height of Bristol fame, there was a waiting list to claim season tickets for the Bristol Night race. 158,000 race fans packed into the half-mile oval to watch short track racing in NASCAR’s prime.
Watch the full race video of the 2002 Bristol Night Race below.
In August 2002, fans got what they paid for. With 4 laps to go, race leader Rusty Wallace spun the tires off turn two. Jeff Gordon climbed right to his bumper.
With 3 to go, Gordon leaned on the rear bumper of Wallace and shoved him into the corner. Gordon drove to victory lane, ending a 31-race winless drought.
“That’s just racing, I guess. He just got to me where he could hit me. I was trying desperately to knock the shit out of him, I just couldn’t catch him,” Rusty Wallace famously stated after finishing 2nd.
I was at this race. When Gordon climbed from his car and the sparklers went off in victory lane, a sea of boos rained from the grandstands. To the point that the crowd overpowered Gordon over the PA system. But, what he said was…
“I just wanted it really really bad. We don’t deserve to be written about for our losing streak so thank god that’s over,” Jeff Gordon stated from victory lane.
“He got bottled up in some traffic. I knew if I could get to him, I could make a move. He got real loose, shut the door on me. Once he shut the door on me I said, ‘Alright, fair game right there.’ I got into him, he got a little loose and I hope he’ll understand tomorrow,” Gordon added.
The body had a nickname within Hendrick Motorsports. ‘Beetle Juice’ is etched in NASCAR history and now, it’s come up for auction.
Hendrick Motorsports: #2449
“This certificate verifies that the Hendrick Motorsports’ take-off Chevrolet Monte Carlo body (sheetmetal only, no chassis) identified as #2449 was actually used during a race won by a Hendrick Motorsports’ Race Car.”
The details for this body are indicated below:
Series: NASCAR Winston Cup
Race: Sharpie 500 – Bristol, TN
Race Date: August 24, 2002
Team: #24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevrolet
The body certificate was signed by Mark Anderson from Hendrick Motorsports on June 21, 2006.
The car is fitted with an engine marked as JRH-290. That engine comes with a separate Certificate of Authenticity from Hendrick Motorsports. It declares the engine was used by Ricky Hendrick in the NASCAR Busch Series during the 2002 season.
While the body claims to be from the famed Bristol night race, the car and engine are not.
“This Chevrolet Monte Carlo race car is comprised of components used by Hendrick Motorsports during the 2002 Winston Cup and Busch Series seasons. The body, from chassis #2449, was used on a car driven by Jeff Gordon to victory in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol in August 2002 before being removed and installed on a replacement chassis.”
“The car is finished in a multi-color #24 DuPont Automotive Finishes flame livery and is powered by a 358ci V8 mated to a Tex Racing four-speed manual transmission and a locking differential. Equipment includes 15″ Aero wheels, roof flaps, a rear spoiler, a roll cage, a fixed racing seat, and Wilwood disc brakes with an adjustable proportioning valve.”
“This Cup Series race car was purchased by the seller in 2012 and is now offered in Ontario, Canada, with Hendrick Motorsports certificates of authenticity, extra wheels, spare parts, a fuel can, storage dollies, and a bill of sale.”
“The body from chassis #2449—nicknamed “Beetle Juice” by the race team—features a flame-style DuPont Automotive Finishes livery with the number 24 in yellow. It is installed over a tube-frame chassis said to have been outfitted with components from several Hendrick Motorsports team cars.”
“Exterior features include front brake-duct inlets, exposed hood locks, cooling vents, roof flaps, a rear spoiler, and longitudinal stabilizing strips on the roof and over the rear window. Dents on the left-front fender can be viewed in the gallery.”
Click here to bid on the Chevrolet Monte Carlo.