CP MOTORSPORTS - DARLINGTON RACEWAY CELEBRATING '7 DECADES OF NASCAR'
Darlington Raceway is celebrating “7 Decades of NASCAR” for its Bojangles’ Southern 500 Throwback Weekend on Sept. 1-2. As part of the celebration, the track Too Tough To Tame is highlighting specific moments in the sport’s history, continuing today with the 1980s.
- · Dale Earnhardt won his first of seven NASCAR Cup Series championship in 1980. He also won series championships in 1986 and 1987 in the 80s.
- · Bobby Allison won his first and only NASCAR Cup Championship in 1983 after enduring six runner-up finishes previous to that year. The NASCAR Hall of Famer won six races in 1983 and 84 overall in his illustrious career.
- · In 1984, Terry Labonte won his first NASCAR Cup Series Championship. Despite Darrell Waltrip winning seven races that year, Labonte won the title with a commanding points lead after posting a series-high 17 top-five finishes, to go along with two wins.
- · Waltrip would return the favor in 1985, winning the series championship with three victories, while Bill Elliott finished second with 11 wins. Elliott won the Winston Million that year (winning at Daytona, Talladega and Darlington), but Waltrip’s 18 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes that year gave him the title. Waltrip also won the series title in 1981 and 1982. Elliott would go on to win his only championship in 1988.
- · 1985 also was the year that The Winston (or now called the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race) was introduced. Technically, the All-Star race started in the 1960s (it competed for three years in Daytona from 1961-63), however, it was the involvement of Winston that brought back the event, which was relocated to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Waltrip beat Harry Gant for the 1985 All-Star victory, giving him a $200,000 pay-day for his efforts.
- · Tim Richmond was a popular figure in NASCAR after making the jump from the open-wheel racing circuit. The 1986 season proved to be his most successful after winning seven races (including the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington) for owner Rick Hendrick. He finished third in the point standings that year. He would never compete in another full-time season as he missed the start of the 1987 campaign due to an illness, which he ultimately succumbed to in 1989.
- · NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace won his one and only series title in 1989. After finishing second to Elliott during the 1988 season (he lost the title by a mere 24 points), Wallace returned the next year and won a series-high six races with 20 top-10 finishes.