| 1.522 mi (2.449 km)|
| March 20, 1988 (1988-03-20)|
Motorcraft Quality Parts 500
Atlanta International Raceway, Hampton, Georgia
328 laps, 499.2 mi (803.3 km)
Temperatures reaching up to 68 °F (20 °C); wind speeds up to 15.9 miles per hour (25.6 km/h)
The 1988 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event held on March 20, 1988, at Atlanta International Raceway in the American community of Hampton, Georgia.
A souvenir magazine was handed out at this racing event; each copy sold at the then-inexpensive amount of $5 USD ($10.13 when adjusted for inflation).
1988 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 Wikipedia
Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway) is one of ten current intermediate track to hold NASCAR races; the others are Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Homestead Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway. However, at the time, only Charlotte and Darlington were built.
The layout at Atlanta International Speedway at the time was a four-turn traditional oval track that is 1.54 miles (2.48 km) long. The track's turns are banked at twenty-four degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, and the back stretch are banked at five.
Eleven drivers failed to qualify their cars for the race:Buddy Arrington (No. 67)
Charlie Baker (No. 93)
Mickey Gibbs (No. 01)
Jimmy Horton (No. 80)
Dale Jarrett (No. 1)
Rick Jeffrey (No. 86)
Jocko Maggiacomo (No. 63)
Steve Moore (No. 22)
Dave Pletcher (No. 03)
Greg Sacks (No. 50) (accident in practice)
Tony Spanos (No. 48) (accident in practice)
Two drivers were awarded provisional qualifying positions at the back of the grid. These were Davey Allison (41st), and Ken Bouchard (42nd). Dale Jarrett started in 40th position on the grid, in Connie Saylor's No. 99 car, thus Jarrett was awarded the driver points for the car's finish.
There were 42 cars on the starting grid for this 328-lap racing event . Approximately 12% of this event was held under caution; with the green flag being maintained for an average of 36 laps. A long green flag stretch between laps 152 and 297 would be dominated by Dale Earnhardt, Benny Parsons and Rusty Wallace in addition to several other drivers. Dale Earnhardt would end up besting Rusty Wallace by only 90 seconds after racing for more than three and a half hours. This would become his first points victory in the #3 black Chevrolet machine. By the time that Earnhardt achieved his final NASCAR Cup Series win at the 2000 Winston 500, he had already picked up an incredible 45 wins with the black Chevrolet that people still associate with him today. Former NASCAR crew chief and driver Kirk Shelmerdine would guide Earnhardt into the 32nd win of his NASCAR Cup Series career. Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.
Jimmy Means finished in last-place due to a problem with his engine on the third lap. All of the drivers in this event were born in the United States of America. Brad Noffsinger made his debut here and finished in 14th place (after starting in a lowly 25th place). Geoffrey Bodine would clinch the pole position for Hendrick Motorsports after reaching speeds up to 176.623 miles per hour (284.247 km/h); while racing speeds would average 137.588 miles per hour (221.426 km/h). Sixty-two thousand avid NASCAR followers attended this event and would see Derrike Cope become the lowest-finishing driver to complete the event; despite being more than 100 laps behind the lead vehicles. Bill Elliott's crash on lap 312 would prevent him from securing a "top ten" finish. Despite Bill Elliott's lackluster performance in this race, he would go on to defeat Rusty Wallace for the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup championship by a mere 24 points. The only drivers to win a Ford vehicle were him, Dale Jarrett and Alan Kulwicki. Brad Noffsinger and Rodney Combs were refused NASCAR championship points for not submitting their entry forms to the NASCAR officials in a suitable amount of time. They did, however, qualify for their respective spots and were cleared to compete.
Individual monetary earnings from this event ranged from the winner's share of $69,750 ($141,246.69 when adjusted for inflation) to the last-place winner's share of $4,410 ($8,930.44 when adjusted for inflation). The total prize purse for this racing event was a then-incredible $416,355 ($843,136.45 when adjusted for inflation).