DARLINGTON, S.C. — Bill Elliott, playing a cat-and-mouse game with Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip most of the way, swept past Waltrip on lap 270 Sunday and charged to victory in the 29th annual TranSouth 500 stock car race.
It was Elliott’s third Grand National win of 1985, giving him a $42,900 share of the record $338,350 purse.
Waltrip, who qualified in 13th position, finished 1:86 seconds behind Elliott in a battle with Tim Richmond, who had been running well all day despite an early collision.
Elliott, a lanky 29-year-old from Dawsonville, Ga., seemed content with second place until rain clouds again started to threaten.
With only four cars still on the lead lap, Elliott, winner of the Daytona and Coca-Cola 500s earlier this year, powered past Waltrip on turn four and then took off, gaining about one-tenth of a second on each lap.
At the finish, less than half of the 40-car starting field was still rolling around the 1.366-mile Darlington International Raceway oval.
Earnhardt, who started on the fourth row, held the lead 130 laps of the race but fell off the pace with engine trouble on the 210th lap. He later withdrew when part of the car’s frame broke 80 laps later.
After Earnhardt was slowed by engine troubles, Waltrip took the lead for the next 59 laps but Elliott stayed close the entire time.
The win was Elliott’s seventh career victory and his fifth in the last 11 Grand National races. Going into the race, he was the circuit’s top money winner with $288,155.April 15, 1985| Associated Press