Just two years after his life changing accident during a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice run, Ernie Irvan found his way to victory lane against all odds with an emotional win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s 1996 Jiffy Lube 300.
After months of recovery, Irvan was once again behind the wheel of the No. 28 Texaco Havoline Ford owned by Robert Yates.
The 28 crew pulled into the “Magic Mile” that July weekend strong, with seven top-10 finishes but no trip to the winners circle.
Starting sixth, pit stops made all the difference for Ernie in the race. On lap 245 he pitted for the final time taking fuel and right-side tires.
With just 22 laps to go, Irvan took the lead with teammate Dale Jarrett trailing close behind, but it was Irvan who took home the checkered flag
“It’s exciting to be able to win again. You never know if you are going to do it again,” said Ernie Irvan. “I think there are a lot of people who doubted us. I think 99 percent of the people in the grandstands still thought I could do it, Robert Yates, Crew Chief Larry McReynolds, and all the people at Texaco and Ford never doubted what I could do. We overrode all the bad rumors and kept flopping up the last couple of months.”
Irvan would go on that season to capture another win at Richmond and finish tenth in the championship points standings.
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