1985 Budwiser 500 – Dover Downs International Speedway – 5/19/1985

NASCAR Winston Cup race number 10 of 28

Sunday, May 19, 1985 at Dover Downs International Speedway, Dover, DE
500 laps on a 1.000 mile paved track (500.0 miles)

Time of race: 4:03:43
Average Speed: 123.094 mph
Pole Speed: 138.106 mph
Cautions: 5 for 37 laps
Margin of Victory: 1 lap 6 sec
Attendance: 48,000
Lead changes: 7


Elliott came into Dover International Speedway with a storybook season well under way. Dover was a track that was always good to Elliott with 4 total wins at the speedway. In the May of 1985 race Elliott qualified 4th with Terry Labonte on the pole. Geoffrey Bodine qualified 6th but lead most of the first half of the race changing the lead with Neil Bonnett several times while Elliott paced himself behind Bodine and Bonnett. Bodine in the Hendricks Chevrolet ran out of gas during a green flag pit stop on lap 161. Harry Hyde and the crew got him back on the track one lap behind the leader. Elliott took over the lead on lap 162 and led all but 3 of the remaining laps due to a pit stop for a total of 336 total laps led out of the 500 scheduled laps. Elliott and the Coors – Melling Ford Thunderbird were dominate in the remainder of the race passing everyone in the field including Harry Gant with 3 laps to go to the finish the race lapping the entire field that day. Another impressive performance from “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville”, and the rest of the team from Dawsonville, GA. This was Elliott’s 5th win of the season the week after winning at Talledega the week before setting a new track record winning the pole at a blazing speed of 209.398. Race fans were astounded by this feat, but there was more speed left in the Coors – Melling Ford Thunderbird in the races ahead.

In the 1985 Budwiser 500 Elliott qualified 4th and led 336 of the 500 scheduled laps that made up the 500 mile race. The race saw 5 cautions for a total of 37 laps. The lead changed 7 times before Elliott took the lead from Neil Bonnett on lap 317 as Elliott never looked back while lapping the entire field. Elliott took the checkered flag at lap 500 with a winning margin of 1 lap and 6 seconds over second place Harry Gant. Kyle Petty, Ricky Rudd and Darrell Waltrip finished out the top 5 positions. Owner Harry Melling collected $44,500 dollars that day, and Elliott gained another 185 Winston Cup championship points.

Elliott has impressive stats at Dover International Speedway through the years. In his 43 races at the speedway Elliott had 4 wins, 12 top 5’s, and 19 top 10’s with only 3 DNF’s. Elliott collected 3 poles while leading 2,050 laps of his total 18,910 laps at the track in competition. Elliott earned a total of $1,683,473 dollars at Dover so far in his career. Elliott has an 11.1 average starting position with a 14.4 average finish while driving 18,910 miles at the track to date.

(Article by Dale Brown)

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