Dover, DL – It Gets pretty hard to steer a car when the power steering goes out. But if you’re Bill Elliott, you figure you can go the distance, and he did Sunday to take the Budweiser 500 at Dover Downs International Speedway.
The power steering went out with about 35 to 40 laps to go on the “Monster Mile”, said Elliott who led 336 laps and finished 1 lap and 6 seconds ahead of Harry Gant to take the 10th race on NASCAR’s Winston Cup Grand National Circuit. Gant who followed by Kyle Petty, who was one lap down, Ricky Rudd, two laps off and Darrell Waltrip, three laps off the pace
Elliott who had an average speed of 123.094 mph, walked away with $44,500 and called it luck.
“We’ve been lucky in a lot of ways. The car held together and several others didn’t,” he said adding Geoff Bodine, who was strong at the start, gave us a run for the money.
“This is the best we have ever run here,” Elliott said, adding he had the car he would usually bring to Dover, although some drivers admitted they didn’t bring their best cars because they were saving them for next week’s World 600 in Charlotte.
The sellout crowd, estimated at 48,000 watched Bodine take an early lead, then lose it and regain it again in the 89th lap before Elliott took it over.
Bodine lost the lead to Elliott with a pit stop just before Phil Parsons cut a tire and hit the wall between turns one and two. The caution ended up putting Bodine one lap down.
Eddie Biersehwale was out on lap 79 when he hit the wall between turns three and four and Ron Bouchard hit the wall coming off the second turn, the same place he wrecked Saturday during qualifying for the Late Model Sportsman Budweiser 200.
Caution flags were out for the three wrecks, debris on the track and a spinout by Bobby Allison.
Allison’s car broke loose and hit the wall between turns one and two. Allison still managed to finish 13th.
Gant had a good strong run and moved into the top five after about 300 laps. By lap 311 he was making his move on Bodine, who was running second. Gant took over second and held it after Bodine went too high on turn two.
Terry Labonte, who had the pole, finished 16th and lost his lead in the points race to Elliott who now has 1,497 points.
(Associated Press & Citizen Times)