1987 The Winston

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1987 The Winston
Race details[1]
Exhibition race in the 1987 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
Date May 17, 1987 (1987-05-17)
Location Concord, North Carolina
Course Charlotte Motor Speedway
1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Distance 135 laps, 202.5 mi (324 km)
Weather Temperatures around 82 °F (28 °C), with humidity at 59% and winds gusting to 8 miles per hour (13 km/h) southwest
Average speed 153.023 mph (246.267 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Melling Racing
Most laps led
Driver Bill Elliott Melling Racing
Laps 121
Winner
No. 3 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing
Television in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Keith Jackson and Donnie Allison

The 1987 edition of The Winston was a stock car racing competition that took place on May 17, 1987. Held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, the 135-lap race was an exhibition race in the 1987 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Bill Elliott of Melling Racing won the pole and led the most laps (121), but it was Dale Earnhardt of Richard Childress Racing who won the race in a move that would be known in NASCAR history as the "pass in the grass."[2][3]

This was Tim Richmond's second and final appearance in The Winston. Despite being eligible for the 1988 Winston, he opted not to participate due to a then-ongoing lawsuit against NASCAR after he was suspended for testing positive for banned substances early that year. He died of complications from AIDS on August 13, 1989.[4][5]

Background[edit]

Charlotte Motor Speedway, the track where the race was held.

The Winston was open to race winners from last season through the 1987 Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, including the 1986 Atlanta Invitational. Because the field did not meet the minimum requirement of 19 cars, the remaining spots were awarded to the most recent winning drivers prior to the 1986 season.

1987 The Winston drivers and eligibility[edit]

Race winners in 1986 and 1987[edit]

1986 Atlanta Invitational winner[edit]

Race winners from previous years, not eligible by the above criteria[edit]

Winner of The Winston Open[edit]

Race summary[edit]

Segment 1[edit]

Bill Elliott won the pole with a track record of 170.827 mph (274.919 km/h). Buddy Baker made the starting grid by winning the Winston Open. Cale Yarborough served as the onboard camera car throughout the race. On the first lap, Dale Earnhardt and Geoff Bodine got loose and tangled with each other, with Earnhardt slightly hitting the turn three wall and both cars losing several positions in the process. Earnhardt eventually inched his way towards the top-five throughout the race. On lap 62, Neil Bonnett and Richard Petty collided in turn three, bringing out the first caution and ending their chances of finishing the race. Segment 1 ended on lap 76 with Elliott in first place.

Segment results
  1. 9-Bill Elliott ($25,000)
  2. 5-Geoff Bodine
  3. 17-Darrell Waltrip

Segment 2[edit]

Baker retired on lap 95 due to a transmission failure while Harry Gant suffered engine problems on lap 121. Segment 2 ended on lap 126, with Elliott once again on the top spot.

Segment results
  1. 9-Bill Elliott ($50,000)
  2. 3-Dale Earnhardt
  3. 5-Geoff Bodine

Segment 3[edit]

As Segment 3 began, Bodine attempted to pass in front of Elliott, but both cars tangled with Bodine spinning while Earnhardt took over the lead before the caution came out. With eight laps to go, Elliott closed in on Earnhardt and tapped him from behind. Earnhardt was sent to the infield grass, but he quickly recovered to maintain the lead in what has become known as the "pass in the grass".[2] Both cars once again traded paint side-by-side, but the contact cut Elliott's left rear tire, forcing him to pit and go a lap down while Terry Labonte charged forward to challenge Earnhardt. Eventually, Earnhardt beat Labonte and Tim Richmond to win The Winston and earn $200,000.

Following the race, a frustrated Elliott bumped Earnhardt before all cars returned to pit road and Earnhardt entered victory lane.

Race results
Pos Grid Car Driver Owner Manufacturer Laps run Laps led
1 4 3 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 135 10
2 12 11 Terry Labonte Junior Johnson & Associates Chevrolet 135 0
3 2 25 Tim Richmond Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 135 0
4 5 5 Geoff Bodine Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 135 3
5 7 27 Rusty Wallace Blue Max Racing Pontiac 135 0
6 15 21 Kyle Petty Wood Brothers Racing Ford 135 1
7 17 26 Morgan Shepherd King Racing Buick 135 0
8 14 22 Bobby Allison Stavola Brothers Racing Buick 135 0
9 9 17 Darrell Waltrip Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 135 0
10 6 55 Benny Parsons Jackson Motorsports Oldsmobile 135 0
11 18 15 Ricky Rudd Bud Moore Engineering Ford 135 0
12 3 28 Davey Allison Rainier-Lundy Racing Ford 134 0
13 19 29 Cale Yarborough Cale Yarborough Motorsports Oldsmobile 134 0
14 1 9 Bill Elliott Melling Racing Ford 134 121
15 11 50 Greg Sacks Dingman Brothers Racing Pontiac 132 0
16 10 8 Bobby Hillin Jr. Stavola Brothers Racing Buick 132 0
17 13 33 Harry Gant Mach 1 Racing Chevrolet 121 0
18 20 88 Buddy Baker Baker-Schiff Racing Oldsmobile 95 0
19 16 43 Richard Petty Petty Enterprises Pontiac 63 0
20 8 75 Neil Bonnett RahMoc Enterprises Pontiac 62 0
Source:[1]

Aftermath[edit]

NASCAR fined Earnhardt and Elliott $2,500 each for aggressive driving. On May 27, 1987, a fan sent NASCAR President Bill France Jr. a letter threatening to kill Earnhardt at Pocono, Watkins Glen, or Dover. NASCAR immediately handed over the letter to the FBI, who provided security for Earnhardt on all three tracks. The investigation was closed after the races on the three tracks finished with no incident.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "1987 The Winston". Racing-Reference. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Martinelli, Michelle R. (May 18, 2017). "Dale Earnhardt Jr. on why his dad's infamous 'pass in the grass' All-Star Race was so incredible". USA Today. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  3. ^ "Photos: 30 years of NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winners". Fox Sports. October 20, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  4. ^ "Tim Richmond, 34, Auto Racer". The New York Times. August 16, 1989. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  5. ^ Hinton, Ed (August 17, 2009). "More than Tim Richmond died in 1989". ESPN. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  6. ^ Petchesky, Barry (August 21, 2012). ""When I Get A Clear Shot...": 25 Years Ago, Dale Earnhardt Received This Death Threat For His Ornery Driving". Deadspin. Gizmodo Media Group. Retrieved November 30, 2018.