| Winston Western 500|
| November 22, 1981 (1981-November-22)|
Riverside International Raceway (Riverside, California)
Permanent racing facility
2.700 mi (4.345 km)
119 laps, 311.8 mi (501.7 km)
Temperatures up to 72 °F (22 °C); wind speeds up to 7 miles per hour (11 km/h)
The 1981 Winston Western 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that was held on November 22, 1981, at Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, California.
Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day. Road courses were one of the more attractive features for NASCAR during the 1981 Winston Cup Series season. NASCAR would develop a liking for mile and a half tracks by the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
1981 Winston Western 500 (November) Wikipedia
During the preceding season, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power anymore. This race and two others of this kind at Riverside during the 1981 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season were probably used to make-up for the loss of Ontario Motor Speedway. It had been the season finale in previous years while Riverside had the opening date in January and the race in June. Then they changed it leaving the June Riverside race and putting the other race as the final from 1982 to 1986 before Atlanta got the finale until 2000. Riverside kept its two races until 1988 when they ran the last race in June 1988 and the later date went to Phoenix. Then they added a second Pocono race in 1982 but then lost Texas World Speedway.
It took three hours and sixteen seconds for Bobby Allison to defeat Joe Ruttman by a time of 0.24 seconds in front of 46000 live spectators while driving Harry Ranier’s No. 28 Hardee’s Buick. Richard Childress would make his final racing appearance here before devoting his career to running Richard Childress Racing. Former Formula One racer Bob Bondurant would retire from the NASCAR Cup Series after this race. Seven cautions were given out for 33 laps on this road course that spanned 2.620 miles (4.216 km) per lap; for a grand total of 311.8 miles (501.8 km). Darrell Waltrip qualified for the pole position with a speed of 114.981 miles per hour (185.044 km/h) while the average race speed was 95.288 miles per hour (153.351 km/h). Out of the entire 40-driver grid, 38 drivers were American while Roy Smith and Gary Kershaw were Canadians.
Ricky Rudd would receive the last-place finish with an engine problem on the second lap in his Buick vehicle; earning only $6,150 in prize winnings ($16,201.15 when inflation is taken into effect). J.D. McDuffie would finish in 11th place; a rarity for a driver with the most last-place finishes in NASCAR history. Joe Millikan would make his final "top five" finish in this race.
* Driver failed to finish race