Bristol Motor Speedway served as the site for a few intense battles between Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace, two drivers who had finished first and second at the Tennessee track three times before. The 2002 Bristol Night Race hosted another one of those iconic moments in the rivalry between the NASCAR Hall of Famers.
Contested over 500 laps on the .533-mile short track, that Saturday night’s race had Gordon, who had not won in 31 straight races, take the first step toward ending his drought by winning the pole. Wallace was on the hunt for a victory, carrying a 49-race winless streak.
The final laps were shaping up to be déjà vu from five years earlier. Wallace led with just three laps left; Gordon was close behind in second. As they approached lap traffic, Gordon saw a chance to make his move. The No. 24 pilot knew the perfect amount of contact needed to bump the leading Wallace out of the way and get his first victory of the season. One of the best drivers on short tracks would be dethroned yet again by the Californian in a familiar move almost identical to the Bristol spring race of 1997.
Gordon went on to finish his career with five wins at Bristol, while Wallace closed with nine.
Check out the bump-and run-finish between Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace in this Classic Race Replay of the 2002 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.