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The Scene Vault: Rusty Wallace Throws a Water Bottle at Dale Earnhardt


Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt had an agreement going into the 1995 Bristol night race.

They were going to go after this new kid, Jeff Gordon, who was tearing up the Winston Cup circuit. Wallace and Earnhardt wanted Gordon out of the way, so they could settle Bristol between themselves. That was the plan, at least.

Early in the event, however, it was Wallace who got turned by Earnhardt, not Gordon. Incensed, Wallace held onto his frustration … if not outright anger … for the rest of the night.

Although Terry Labonte spun across the finish line after contact from Earnhardt, he was able to cross it first and win the event. Afterward, Earnhardt climbed from his car at Bristol’s gas pumps to face the media.

Just then … whack. A water bottle tossed by Wallace hit Earnhardt squarely in the chest. As onlookers hooted and pressed toward the would-be combatants, the two men exchanged heated barbs … one more incident in Bristol’s long and storied history.


For more than 32 years, Grand National/Winston Cup/NASCAR Scene writers and photographers were there to record NASCAR history as it was being made. Join hosts Rick Houston and Steve Waid each week on The Scene Vault Podcast Presented by Q Ware as they take a look back at the extraordinary people, places and events woven into the rich tapestry that is our sport.

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