Champion Spark Plug 400 – Michigan International Speedway – 8-11-1985

NASCAR Winston Cup race number 18 of 28

Sunday, August 11, 1985 at Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, MI
200 laps on a 2.000 mile paved track (400.0 miles)

Time of race: 2:54:38
Average Speed: 137.43 mph
Pole Speed: 165.479 mph
Cautions: 5 for 28 laps
Margin of Victory: 4 sec
Attendance: 65,000
Lead changes: 14


Bill Elliott and Michigan International Speedway are synonymous for Elliott’s many poles and wins. Car owner Harry Melling’s home town is close by and he considers this his home track. Elliott and the Coors – Melling Ford Thunderbird team came into Michigan winning the first 8 of 17 races, dominating the 1985 season. Elliott in normal fashion at Michigan won the pole at a speed of 165.479 mph while breaking his own qualifying record of a year earlier at the August Michigan race of 165.217 mph. Geoff Bodine qualified on the outside of the front row. Elliott’s race started out hectic when on the 2nd lap he tangled with the three other cars of Geoff Bodine, Ricky Rudd and Neil Bonnett. Elliott was forced to come to the pits and make repairs to the Coors – Melling Ford Thunderbird. Elliott returned to the race in 26th place and started working through the field. By lap 52 Elliott was back in 1st place. The race saw 14 lead changes and 5 cautions for a total of 28 total laps under the yellow. Elliott held the lead 5 times that day for a total of 90 laps. Elliott took the lead on lap 151 to lead the final 50 laps for the victory at an average speed of 137.43 mph. Darrell Waltrip finished 2nd, 4 seconds behind Elliott. Harry Gant, Kyle Petty and Benny Parsons rounded out the top 5 positions. Car owner Harry Melling collected $57,600 purse that day with Elliott picking up another 180 championship points.

Elliott enjoyed racing at Michigan International Speedway and had some astounding results at this speedway through the years. Bill always liked the track which suited his smooth driving style. Complimented by the high HP engines of Ernie Elliott, and the smooth drivelines of Dan Elliott, Bill’s brother, the Coors Melling Team had some tremendous finishing stats through the years. Elliott ran 61 races at Michigan with 7 wins, 17 top 5’s, 29 top 10’s, and 6 pole positions. Elliott led 1,004 laps of the 11,212 laps he completed on the 2 mile track earning $2,463,235 in total earnings to date. Elliott drove a total of 22,424 miles at Michigan Speedway with an average starting position of 11th, with an average finish of 14.6.

(Article by Dale Brown)

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