2020 May6 Wilkesboro96 Main

Gordon, Earnhardt battle in final Cup race at North Wilkesboro

The 1996 season was the final year the NASCAR Cup Series ran at North Wilkesboro Speedway. The final race at the track that year came down to two of the biggest names in stock-car racing: “Wonderboy” Jeff Gordon and the worst thing to see in your rearview mirror since police lights, “The Intimidator” Dale Earnhardt.

That’s exactly what Gordon was facing in the closing stages of the 1996 Tyson Holly Farms 400. With the laps counting down, Earnhardt was charging, hungry for any type of momentum the No. 3 team could scrape up after an 11-race stretch with no top-five finishes. That same stretch saw Earnhardt drop from the points lead to fourth in the standings.

RELATED: Full race results | North Wilkesboro racing history | Memorable moments

However, Gordon wasn’t fazed and he never let Earnhardt get close enough to make a move. Gordon went on to win the final NASCAR Cup Series race at North Wilkesboro for his 10th victory of the season — his first of three straight seasons with at least 10 wins. The win was his third straight and kept him in the points lead over Terry Labonte. “Texas Terry” would take back the points lead back for good with two races to go after the series’ race at Rockingham.

Relive the 1996 Tyson Holly Farms 400 in this week’s NASCAR Classic Full Race Replay, and don’t miss the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series‘ virtual trip to North Wilkesboro on Saturday, May 9 at 3 p.m. ET on FOX* (check local listings), FS1 and FOX Sports App.