1984 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
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|1984 NASCAR Winston Cup Series|
The 1984 NASCAR Winston Cup Season was the 36th season of professional stock car racing in the United States and the 13th modern-era Cup series season. It began on Sunday February 19 and ended on Sunday November 18. Terry Labonte was crowned champion at the end of the season. This was the final year for Chrysler until Dodge returned in 2001.
Teams and drivers
Bold denotes NASCAR Crown Jewel event
Cale Yarborough completed a lap of 201.848 mph (324.828 km/h), officially breaking the 200 mph barrier at Daytona. He drafted past Darrell Waltrip on the final lap, winning for the second year in a row, and fourth time in his career. Richard Petty, making his debut with Curb Motorsports, stormed from 34th to lead over 20 laps before a camshaft broke.
Bobby Allison grabbed his first win of the season, while a vicious four-car crash swept up rookie Rusty Wallace on Lap 372; the guardrail was damaged to where it took half an hour to repair it. Before the race controversy erupted between the track and sponsor Warner Hodgdon over late payment of sponsorship fees; the fees were paid in full March 19.
Benny Parsons fought off Dale Earnhardt and Cale Yarborough in a three-car race; the win was Parsons' final Winston Cup win. Darrell Waltrip was dropped from fifth to 10th after the race when NASCAR ruled he'd passed illegally to get a lap back late in the race.
Waltrip passed Tim Richmond with 44 laps to go for his seventh-straight Bristol International Raceway win. He was pressured by Bobby Allison, who led 190 laps to Waltrip's 205; Allison faltered with 57 laps to go and finished 19th.
Northwestern Bank 400
Two thunderstorms and multiple crashes permeated Darlington's annual spring race as Darrell Waltrip took his fourth Rebel 500 win. Pole-sitter Benny Parsons hit the wall on the opening lap; on Lap Three a three-abreast stack-up for second led to a four-car crash involving Bobby Allison, Richard Petty (who led seven laps and still finished seventh), Geoff Bodine, and Dick Brooks. Around Lap 137 following a Bobby Hillin, Jr. crash Joe Ruttman, Terry Labonte, Buddy Baker, and Rusty Wallace crashed on the backstretch on the yellow. In a later five-car melee in the second turn D.K. Ulrich climbed over Greg Sacks's hood; Tim Richmond crashed twice while Dave Marcis crashed while leading (he still finished 13th) after being sideswiped by Buddy Baker. In all some thirty cars were involved in wrecks.
Ricky Rudd led 121 laps and Bobby Allison led 266 laps, but both were knocked out of contention in the final 60 laps as Geoff Bodine took his first career Winston Cup win and gave Charlotte car dealer Rick Hendrick his first win. Ron Bouchard, a longtime adversary of Bodine on NASCAR's Modified Tour, finished second.
The Winston 500 at Talladega was the 2nd most competitive race in the history of NASCAR Winston Cup. The race had 75 different lead changes, a record that stood until the 2010 Aaron's 499 with 88 changes, which was matched in 2011. Cale Yarborough passed Harry Gant in the final lap to take the win.
Music City 420
Nashville's Fairgrounds race track had seen numerous controversies over the years, but 1984's controversy may have topped all of them. On lap 418 three cars crashed on the backstretch; Darrell Waltrip led laps 418 and 419 but Junior Johnson teammate Neil Bonnett passed him on the final lap under yellow; Dick Beaty of NASCAR initially ruled Bonnett the race winner; the following Monday, however, NASCAR reversed the decision since the yellow had flown before the last-lap pass.
Richard Petty had not won at Dover Downs International Speedway since 1979 and had not won the track's spring/early summer race since 1969. But he battled Bill Elliott, Tim Richmond, and Harry Gant to the win, his 199th Winston Cup win. Gant led 218 laps but fell out while running in the top five 108 laps from the end, while Elliott cut a tire while running second with 40 to go. It was Petty's first win not with Petty Enterprises since driving a Don Robertson Plymouth to two wins in 1970.
Because of the 1971 Myers Brothers 250 controversy and NASCAR rules regarding combination races of the time (compared to modern rules), there is a dispute if this was his 200th win. (Petty, the highest-placed Grand National car in the combination Grand National and Grand American race, would be credited with a Grand National, or as it is called as of 2017, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, win under combination race regulations in play.)
Van Scoy Diamond 500
Cale Yarborough outlasted his competitors to take the win at Pocono Raceway. David Pearson drove Neil Bonnett's Chevrolet in qualifying and won the pole; he relieved Bonnett and finished 14th; ironically David finished just behind arch-rival Richard Petty, who led early before finishing 13th.
Geoff Bodine led 327 laps to the win at Nashville - it would turn out to be the final Winston Cup race at the Fairgrounds as Warner Hodgedon's racing empire began cracking. Richard Petty started third but fell out after 212 laps with engine failure; it was his first race having to get engines from suppliers other than the DiGard team after the Gardners ended their engine deal with Curb Motorsports.
At Pocono Harry Gant burst past pole-sitter Bill Elliott on the opening lap and edged Cale Yarborough and Elliott at the stripe after leading 107 laps. Bobby Allison led one lap but climbed the wall hard in the Tunnel Turn (one of nine yellows during the day) and finished a distant 28th.
Dale Earnhardt fought off a ten car pack, passing Terry Labonte on the last lap to win his second consecutive Talladega 500. The race featured 68 lead changes among 16 drivers.
Terry Labonte led 117 laps as he, Darrell Waltrip, and pole-sitter Bill Elliott led 194 of 200 laps at Michigan International Speedway. With no yellows, pitstops became the key as Waltrip stretch his fuel mileage for the win.
Darrell Waltrip led 144 laps but after halfway he fell out and finished 12th, ending his win streak at Bristol International Raceway. Terry Labonte led the final 124 laps but had to withstand a challenge from Bobby Allison to grab the win, his fourth career win and first on a short track.
Capital City 400
Darrell Waltrip, despite more wins than any other driver, found himself a distant fifth in points; he led 321 laps for the win but was still 185 points out of the lead. Dale Earnhardt grabbed third in the race and second in points behind Labonte (eighth at the end) while Harry Gant finished ninth.
Harry Gant and Terry Labonte combined to lead 385 of 500 laps at Dover Downs International Speedway en route to a 1-2 finish, Gant's third win of the season, as numerous crashes thinned the field; among those involved in wrecks were Bill Elliott, Rusty Wallace, Tim Richmond, and defending race champ Bobby Allison. Dale Earnhardt led 35 laps but finished three laps down; Ron Bouchard led 68 laps but finished five laps down. Richard Petty, winner at Dover in May, fell out with oil pump failure.
Despite leading 313 laps to the win, Darrell Waltrip was now 215 points out of the lead following Martinsville's early-autumn race. Terry Labonte finished second and held a 91-point lead over Harry Gant (fourth). Pole-sitter Geoff Bodine led the first 37 laps before his oil pump failed. Joe Ruttman fell out with engine failure and left Ron Benfield's team after two potent but ultimately futile seasons.
Benny Parsons and Bill Elliott claimed the front row and combined to lead 284 of 334 laps. Cale Yarborough and point leaders Harry Gant and Terry Labonte led 37 laps between them and finished 3-4-5 at the end. Elliott grabbed the lead with 60 to go and pulled away to his second win of the season. Gant finished fourth and stood 86 points behind Labonte.
Holly Farms 400
Junior Johnson's Chevrolets led 305 of 400 laps as Darrell Waltrip took his seventh win of the season and Neil Bonnett finished fifth. But he was 246 points out of the lead and realistically was eliminated from the championship; the story fell to Harry Gant as he finished a close second in the race; combined with a ninth-place finish by Terry Labonte the finish helped Gant close to 59 points out.
Warner W. Hodgdon American 500
North Carolina Motor Speedway saw its final race under Warner Hodgdon sponsorship as the racing magnate's business empire was deteriorating more and more. Numerous crashes erupted; a multicar melee on a restart eliminated Geoff Bodine and Tim Richmond. The most spectacular crash came when Jerry Bowman flipped over and slid on his roof down the backstretch. Bill Elliott and Harry Gant combined to lead 299 laps; in the final 55 laps Gant ran down Elliott and took the lead with two to go, but Elliott dove back under Gant and the two raced abreast the final two miles; they hit the stripe abreast and Elliott won by less than a wheel. Labonte finished third and held a 49-point lead on Gant with two races to go.
Atlanta Journal 500
Geoff Bodine stormed into the lead on the opening lap and led 125 laps before his engine failed with 36 laps to go; this put Dale Earnhardt into the lead for his second win of the season, while pole-sitter Bill Elliott finished second. Terry Labonte and Harry Gant fell out with engine failures and the points race stood with Labonte holding a 42-point lead on Gant. Tragedy blackened the event when Terry Schoonover crashed some 200 miles in and was killed.
Winston Western 500
Geoff Bodine grabbed his third win of the season as Terry Labonte won the pole and finished third, finally clinching the Winston Cup title. Harry Gant finished eighth and finished second in points. Lame duck series champ Bobby Allison led 56 laps but slid off the track with four to go and finished seventh; arch-rival Darrell Waltrip led 33 laps but blew his engine and finished 34th. Bodine referenced budding rumors about Riverside International Raceway's future when he said he was glad to have won as "they're going to tear this place down."
Bold denotes NASCAR Crown Jewel event.
Final points standings
- 44-Terry Labonte 4508
- 33-Harry Gant 4443
- 9-Bill Elliott 4377
- 3-Dale Earnhardt 4265
- 11-Darrell Waltrip 4230
- 22-Bobby Allison 4094
- 15-Ricky Rudd 3918
- 12-Neil Bonnett 3802
- 5-Geoff Bodine 3734
- 43-Richard Petty 3643
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1984 in NASCAR.|
- Racing-Reference.info (links to race results)