Rusty Wallace kept his eyes on the wrong man.
While Wallace was watching Robbie Moroso in his rear-view mirror coming out of turn four on the final lap, the veteran Darrell Waltrip charged hard on the low part of the track, edging Wallace 100 yards from the finish line for a half-car length victory Saturday in the Goody's 300.Waltrip's thrilling victory capped a wild last lap that began with Wallace leading Dale Jarrett, Geoff Bodine, and Waltrip. Jarrett tried to pass Wallace down the backstretch and went high between turns three and four. Wallace also went high, causing Jarrett to lose control of his car, taking Jarrett and Bodine out of the race.
Waltrip, meanwhile, was charging low on the track in his Exxon Superflo Chevrolet.
"I thought I won the race," Wallace said. "I didn't see Darrell Waltrip on the race to the checkered flag. I looked back, and only saw Robbie Moroso coming on. Darrell was down low. I didn't see him until he was beside me at the start-finish line. It was a wild race."
For Waltrip, it was his 13th win at Daytona, although none of those victories have come in a Winston Cup race. One of those wins came under similar circumstances, when he won an International Race of Champions event in 1985 after the lead four cars wrecked coming out of turn four on the last lap.
"It reminded a little bit of IROC 1985," Waltrip said. "So I had a little practice with it. All of a sudden, things started happening so I dove low and made it through."
It appeared Wallace had won the race when he beat Jarrett to the stripe with five laps remaining and a yellow flag out following a multi-car accident that saw two cars become airborn. NASCAR officials stopped the race with three laps left to clean up the debris and restarted the race, with one lap run under caution.
Moroso finished third, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Bodine, and Rick Wilson. Waltrip earned $34,475 for his fifth win in the Daytona Grand National race.