Coca-Cola 500 – Atlanta Motor Speedway – 3/17/1985

NASCAR Winston Cup race number 4 of 28

Sunday, March 17, 1985 at Atlanta International Raceway, Hampton, GA
328 laps on a 1.522 mile paved track (499.2 miles)

Time of race: 3:33:32
Average Speed: 140.273 mph
Pole Speed: 170.278 mph
Cautions: 6 for 31 laps
Margin of Victory: 2.64 sec
Attendance: 67,800
Lead changes: 17


Elliott always came into Atlanta International Speedway with the home track advantage. At this time no one knew what was in store for Elliott and the entire Coors – Melling Ford Thunderbird team in 1985. Fans would see a season like no other in the history of NASCAR with 11 “Super Speedway” wins as well as collecting the first “Winston Million” for the team based in Dawsonville, GA, just north of Atlanta. During the 1985 season Elliott became known as “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville”.

In the 1985 Coca-Cola 500 Elliott qualified 3rd and led 129 of the 328 scheduled laps that made up the 500 mile race. The race saw 6 cautions for a total of 31 laps. The lead changed 17 times before Elliott took the lead from Cale Yarborough on lap 273 and never looked back till the checkered flag at lap 328. Geoffrey Bodine finished in 2nd, in a Hendricks Motorsports Chevrolet, 2.64 seconds behind the dominate Coors – Melling Ford. Owner Harry Melling collected $59,800 dollars that day, and Elliott gained another 185 points.

Elliott was involved in a wreck at Rockinham two weeks earlier and sustained a hairline fracture in his leg. The doctors were able to bandage the broken leg where he was able to drive the car in the Atlanta race. It was a painful day for Elliott, but Victory Circle took all that away with the win. Atlanta was always good to Elliott. In his 62 races at the speedway Elliott had 5 wins, 13 top 5’s, and 19 top 10’s. Bill collected 5 poles while leading 1,017 laps of his total 17,429 laps at the track in competition. Elliott has earned a total of $2,338,048 dollars at Atlanta so far in his career. Elliott had a 15.8 average starting position with an 18.6 average finish while driving an impressive 26,636 miles on his home track.

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