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1986 Winston 500

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Official name  Winston 500
1986 Winston 500
Date  May 4, 1986 (1986-May-04)
Location  Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega, Alabama
Course  Permanent racing facility 2.660 mi (4.280 km)
Distance  188 laps, 500.1 mi (804.8 km)
Weather  Warm with temperatures reaching up to 81 °F (27 °C); average wind speed of 6.7 miles per hour (10.8 km/h)

The 1986 Winston 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on May 4, 1986, at Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Alabama. There was an invocation service and the singing of the American national anthem prior to the gentlemen starting their engines.


Total earnings for each driver ranged from the winner's share of $77,905 ($170,213.20 when inflation is taken into effect) to the last-place finisher's share of $5,135 ($11,219.37 when inflation is taken into effect). NASCAR officials were authorized to hand out a grand total of $499,905 to all the drivers who qualified for this race ($1,092,233.24 when inflation is taken into effect). The spectators who were watching the event at home on ESPN noticed that the "standard definition" graphics were superior to the rest of cable television during the late 1980s and the commercials to be on par with those aired during Super Bowl XX.


Talladega Superspeedway, originally known as Alabama International Motor Superspeedway (AIMS), is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city of Lincoln. The track is a Tri-oval and was constructed by International Speedway Corporation, a business controlled by the France Family, in the 1960s. Talladega is most known for its steep banking and the unique location of the start/finish line - located just past the exit to pit road. The track currently hosts the NASCAR series such as the Sprint Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. Talladega Superspeedway is the longest NASCAR oval with a length of 2.66 miles (4.28 km), and the track at its peak had a seating capacity of 175,000 spectators.


Seven drivers failed to qualify for the race including: Mark Martin, J. D. McDuffie, Davey Allison, and Alan Kulwicki. Martin would never fail to qualify for a NASCAR Cup Series race ever again after this one. Bill Elliott would receive the pole position with an average speed of 209.383, a track record, which he broke the following year with a speed of 212.809. Ford vehicles, however, were proven to have an advantage in aerodynamics from 1983–88. The addition of restrictor plates starting in the 1988 would eventually make all-200 MPH grids tricky if not impossible. Nine cautions were given for laps; while 24 different lead changes were made on the track. The race took more than three hours to complete.

The Waltrip siblings (Darrell Waltrip and his younger brother Michael) both appeared in this race along with veteran drivers Ricky Rudd, Dale Earnhardt, and Rusty Wallace. Even the father-son duo (consisting of Richard and Kyle Petty) appeared in this race. Bobby Allison (driving a 1986 Buick LeSabre) would defeat Earnhardt by almost 0.2 seconds in front of a live audience of 133,000 people. Richard Childress had employed his famous "Flying Aces" pit crew at the time; it was made of the best maintenance people in the business and were constantly assigned to Earnhardt's vehicle. Allison was 48 years old during the day of the race; making him one of the oldest drivers to ever win a NASCAR Cup Series racing event.

Allison's win would be the first one in his column since the 1984 World 600. Tommy Gale would finish his NASCAR career during this race. Jody Ridley received credit for the last-place finish due to an engine problem on the fourth lap of this 188-lap event. Ron Bouchard would lead his final lap in his Cup Series career; after winning the 1981 Talladega 500 as a rookie on the same track. Trevor Boys was the only foreigner in the entire race; he was born in Canada. A drunken, 20-year-old fan, Darren Charles Crowder stole the pace car of the race for a joyride but was apprehended before completing two laps.

Finishing order

† signifies that the driver is known to be deceased
* Driver failed to finish race


1986 Winston 500 Wikipedia

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