1986 Champion Spark Plug 400
|Race 19 of 29 in the 1986 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season|
Layout of Michigan International Speedway
|Date||August 17, 1986|
|Official name||Champion Spark Plug 400|
|Location||Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan|
|Course||2.000 mi (3.218 km)|
|Distance||200 laps, 400 mi (643 km)|
|Weather||Very hot with temperatures of 84 °F (29 °C); wind speeds of 12 miles per hour (19 km/h)|
|Average speed||135.376 miles per hour (217.867 km/h)|
|Driver||Leo & Richard Jackson|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Bill Elliott||Melling Racing|
|No. 43||Bill Elliott||Melling Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Jack Arute, Jerry Punch|
Michigan International Speedway has been a Ford dominated track starting in 1984, and a Mercury track before that from 1969-78. It was also a track that suited a smooth driver or a driver that could change his driving tactics for Michigan International Speedway.
Michigan International Speedway is a four-turn superspeedway that is 2 miles (3.2 km) long. Opened in 1968, the track's turns are banked at eighteen degrees, while the 3,600-foot-long front stretch, the location of the finish line, is banked at twelve degrees. The back stretch, has a five degree banking and is 2,242 feet long.
Groundbreaking took place on September 28, 1967. Over 2.5 million cubic yards (1.9×106 m3) of dirt were moved to form the D-shaped oval. The track opened in 1968 with a total capacity of 25,000 seats. The track was originally built and owned by Lawrence H. LoPatin, a Detroit-area land developer who built the speedway at an estimated cost of $4–6 million. Financing was arranged by Thomas W Itin. Its first race took place on Sunday, October 13, 1968, with the running of the USAC 250 mile Championship Car Race won by Ronnie Bucknum.
There were 41 drivers on the starting grid for this event. Gary Fedewa (uncle of later Busch Series driver Tim Fedewa), Dick Trickle, USAC veteran Cliff Hucul of Canada, Ronnie Thomas, Joe Booher, and Howard Mark failed to qualify for this race. In this 200-lap event, Buddy Baker deserved his last-place finish due to a problem with the rear end of his vehicle on lap 27. Various problems including engine troubles and crashes caused several drivers not to finish the race. All of the drivers in this racing event were born in the United States of America, and prior to the green flag the total number of Winston Cup wins among all 41 drivers equaled 672, and a total of 20 Winston Cups.
Sixty-four thousand people witnessed a race lasting for almost three hours. Bill Elliott managed to defeat Tim Richmond by almost one and a half seconds. Benny Parsons earned the pole position for this racing event by driving up to 171.924 miles per hour (276.685 km/h) during qualifying. While the opening laps in the race saw four different drivers duel each other for the lead, only Bill Elliott and Darrell Waltrip would be able to fight for the first-place position on the closing laps. Michael Waltrip would become the lowest-finishing driver to finish the race; even though he only logged in 122 laps of actual racing. Greg Sacks was involved in an accident on lap 63 while Morgan Shepherd had a similar collision on lap 83. There was a two-car crash on lap 173 involving Kyle Petty and Jim Hull. The last accident of the race occurred on lap 187 involving Benny Parsons.
From 1985 to 1988, Bill Elliott had the most dominant engine in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Mechanical know-how and technological achievements allowed Elliot to dominate in those three seasons instead of driving style or "finesse." The most dominant drivers in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series during the 1980s were Bill Elliott, Darrell Waltrip, Terry Labonte, Bobby Allison, and Dale Earnhardt.
The total prize purse for the contenders in this event was $345,585 ($789,894 in today's American dollars). Winnings for each individual driver varied from $55,950 ($127,883 in today's American dollars) to a meager $1,185 ($2,709 in today's American dollars).
Introductions and retirements
Pearson would go on to become "racing royalty" at Michigan International Speedway due to his incredible performances on that race track alone. While starting an average of 8th place on all NASCAR races that took place on Michigan International Speedway, Pearson's average finish of 12th place would be accompanied by nine other MIS racing victories and twenty finishes in the "top ten."
Top ten finishers
|2||2||25||Tim Richmond||Chevrolet||200||$27,890||5||175||+1.34 seconds|
|3||4||11||Darrell Waltrip||Chevrolet||200||$27,275||3||170||Lead lap under green flag|
|4||6||5||Geoffrey Bodine||Chevrolet||200||$17,225||21||165||Lead lap under green flag|
|5||12||3||Dale Earnhardt||Chevrolet||199||$18,750||34||160||+1 lap|
|6||7||27||Rusty Wallace||Pontiac||199||$12,525||1||155||+1 lap|
|7||28||28||Cale Yarborough||Ford||199||$6,815||0||146||+1 lap|
|8||5||33||Harry Gant||Chevrolet||199||$14,815||0||142||+1 lap|
|9||9||66||Phil Parsons||Oldsmobile||199||$5,700||0||138||+1 lap|
|10||15||21||David Pearson||Chevrolet||199||$6,605||0||134||+1 lap|
Standings after the race
|10||Bobby Hillin, Jr.||2267||-643|
- Weather information for the 1986 Champion Spark Plug 400 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
- 1986 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information at Racing Reference
- "Michigan International Speedway". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- "Track History". Michigan International Speedway. Archived from the original on March 2, 2009.
- 1986 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
- 1986 Champion Spark Plug 400 racing information at Race Database
- David Pearson was king of Michigan International Speedway Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine at Stock Car Racing
- NASCAR Statistics for David Pearson Archived 2012-06-23 at the Wayback Machine at Driver Averages
1986 The Budweiser At The Glen
| NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1986 Busch 500