#19 – Talladega 500 – Talladega International Speedway – 7/26/87

NASCAR Winston Cup race number 17 of 29

Sunday, July 26, 1987 at Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega, AL
188 laps on a 2.660 mile paved track (500.1 miles)

Time of race: 2:55:10
Average Speed: 171.293 mph
Pole Speed: 203.827 mph
Cautions: 4 for 18 laps
Margin of Victory: 0.15 sec
Attendance: 88,000
Lead changes: 23


Elliott and the Coors – Melling Ford Thunderbird Team arrived in Talladega, AL, on a boiling hot July day with some questions in the air. Since their last trip to Talladega International Speedway the smaller 390 CFM carburetors had been installed on all the cars at both Daytona and Talladega. For the last 3 years it wasn’t a question if Elliott would be on the pole at Talladega & Daytona; it was just how fast Elliott and his Ford Thunderbird would run. In The Winston 500 in May at Talladega Elliott broke yet another speed record for the pole at 212.809 mph. The record speed of 212.809 mph still stands today as the fastest time for a stock car in the NASCAR series on a closed course speedway. This record is likely to stand because of actions by NASCAR to slow the cars with smaller CFM carburetors, restrictor plates, fuel injection and other methods to keep the cars at a safer speed less than 200 mph. Elliott also holds the fastest record for a stock car at Daytona of 210.364 mph.

On the afternoon of qualifying it was a hot and humid 97 degrees air temperature and the track temperature was much hotter. Elliott and everyone else knew they wouldn’t see the earlier speeds because of the heat and methods of NASCAR to slow down the cars however 19 cars did qualify over the 200 mph mark. At the top of the Chart was the #9 of Bill Elliott with a speed of 203.827 mph. The Pole Award made Elliott’s 6th straight pole at the Talladega International Speedway, another record that still stands today.

Elliott won the Talladega 500 in a close victory over Davey Allison of just .15 seconds for the 19th victory in his career. The race average was 171.292, just a few miles per hour under the quickest race at Talladega set by Lennie Pond in the 1978 Talladega 500 at 174.7 mph.

(Article by Dale Brown)

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