The 21st Goody's 500; But 1999 Has to Be the One to Remember!

Brandon CaldwellCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2009

9 Mar 1997: NASCAR driver Bobby Hamilton in a Pontiac Grand Prix racing for team STP Pontiac in action during the Primestar 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia.

It was April 18, 1999.

Drivers and teams were getting ready for the running of the 1999 Goody's Body Pain 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Rookie Tony Stewart won his first career Cup Series pole, and fingers were pointed at he, and points leader Jeff Burton to win the Goody's Body Pain 500.

The weekend was already a feel good weekend for the Pettys. Jimmy Hensley drove the No. 43 truck to victory in the Truck Series race the day before. They sure wanted to follow that up with a nice run in the 500 on Sunday.

The day didn't start out too good for the No. 43 team and John Andretti.

After spinning out early on in the race, Andretti and the 43 car were down a lap.

In a terrific piece of driving, Andretti was able to get his lap back and stick around on the lead lap.

Then Andretti, and crew chief Robbie Loomis, decided to take two tires on the final pit stop. 

This was a huge risk, especially since 26 cars had broke the track record in qualifying, and the speeds were as fast as they've ever been at Martinsville, and Dale Jarrett had taken two tires earlier in the race, and it didn't work for him.

The moved paid off for the Petty's and Andretti.

With 13 laps to go, Andretti passed Jeff Gordon for second place.

With five laps to go, battling lap traffic, Andretti passed leader Jeff Burton to take the lead.

Fans expected Andretti's car to fall off, and Jeff would be able to pass Andretti again, but it didn't happen.

John's car, even in the back of the pack, was one of the fastest cars all day long. When Loomis made the move to take two, they did so because they knew they'd get a great finish out of it.

As the King jumps on the door of the car, and takes a ride to victory lane, it was all smiles for Petty Enterprises, unfortunately for the last time.

It was the last hurrah for the great Petty Enterprises team.

After Andretti had finished fourth the week before and Kyle Petty finished 10th at Martinsville, people thought the Petty's were back to their winning ways.

They were for at least one weekend, but everyone thought that the Petty's would win again in 1999, after such an outstanding performance at Martinsville.

For one weekend, it felt like the 60's and 70's and even early 80's when no one could beat Petty Enterprises.

But things always don't work out the way people want them too.

Looking back, it was the most fitting way for the Petty's final win. They had been fast the whole day, and came from a lap down to win, after a spin.

The way Richard Petty used to do it.

This truly was the best Goody's 500 ever!