| Southern 500|
| September 4, 1988 (1988-September-04)|
Darlington Raceway, Darlington, South Carolina
Permanent racing facility
1.366 mi (2.198 km)
367 laps, 501.3 mi (806.7 km)
Hot with temperatures reaching up to 88 °F (31 °C); wind speeds up to 13 miles per hour (21 km/h)
The 1988 Southern 500, the 39th running of the event, was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on September 4, 1988, at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina.
All the wives of the participating NASCAR drivers received a special racing pass that allowed them to access all aspects of racing life except for the pits where the drivers' crew did their actual work.
1988 Southern 500 Wikipedia
Darlington Raceway, nicknamed by many NASCAR fans and drivers as "The Lady in Black" or "The Track Too Tough to Tame" and advertised as a "NASCAR Tradition", is a race track built for NASCAR racing located near Darlington, South Carolina. It is of a unique, somewhat egg-shaped design, an oval with the ends of very different configurations, a condition which supposedly arose from the proximity of one end of the track to a minnow pond the owner refused to relocate. This situation makes it very challenging for the crews to set up their cars' handling in a way that will be effective at both ends.
The track is a four-turn 1.366 miles (2.198 km) oval. The track's first two turns are banked at twenty-five degrees, while the final two turns are banked two degrees lower at twenty-three degrees. The front stretch (the location of the finish line) and the back stretch is banked at six degrees. Darlington Raceway can seat up to 60,000 people.
Lasting almost four hours, this final "traditional" Southern 500 racing event would feature Bill Elliott (employed at that time by Mr. Harry Melling of Melling Racing) defeating Rusty Wallace (employed by Raymond Beadle Blue Max Racing racing team during this era) by 0.24 seconds; the average speed of the race was 128.297 miles per hour (206.474 km/h). Four drivers would fail to qualify for this race; which had ten cautions for a whopping 49 laps. 74000 people would attend the race to see 367 laps of racing action; last-place finisher Harry Gant would only finish 50 of them due to engine difficulties. Twenty-four different changes would be made for the first-place position of the race. The pole winner was also the winner of the race; qualifying with speeds up to 160.827 miles per hour (258.826 km/h). Both Richard Petty and his son Kyle would compete in this race. Notable drivers at the race also included Darrell Waltrip, Terry Labonte, and Alan Kulwicki.
Two different drivers would be involved in accidents; Derrike Cope on lap 203 and Ken Ragan on lap 308. A stock car carrying the Ford manufacturer won the race while Chevrolet was the official manufacturer of the last-place finisher. The total purse of the race was $431,345 ($873,491.83 when adjusted for inflation); with the winner taking $75,800 of the purse ($153,498.20 when adjusted for inflation).
From the following year to the end of the autumn Southern 500 races in 2004, a sponsor's name would be added to the overall race name; reducing the traditionalism surrounding the early "Southern 500" races.Start: Bill Elliott was ahead of the other drivers as the green flag was waved
Lap 41: First caution of the event, caution ended on lap 44
Lap 54: Second caution of the event, caution ended on lap 60
Lap 130: Third caution of the event, caution ended on lap 132
Lap 167: Fourth caution of the event, caution ended on lap 170
Lap 206: Fifth caution of the event, caution ended on lap 208
Lap 236: Sixth caution of the event, caution ended on lap 239
Lap 257: Seventh caution of the event, caution ended on lap 260
Lap 302: Eighth caution of the event, caution ended on lap 305
Lap 312: Ninth caution of the event, caution ended on lap 314
Lap 328: Tenth caution of the event, caution ended on lap 330
Finish: Bill Elliott was officially declared the winner of the event