1985 Summer 500 – Pocono International Raceway – 7/21/85

NASCAR Winston Cup race number 16 of 28

Sunday, July 21, 1985 at Pocono International Raceway, Long Pond, PA
200 laps on a 2.500 mile paved track (500.0 miles)

Time of race: 3:43:52
Average Speed: 134.008 mph
Pole Speed: 151.973 mph
(Pole won by Bill Elliott )
Cautions: 6 for 24 laps
Margin of Victory: 5 sec
Attendance: 65,000
Lead changes: 36


Elliott and the Coors – Melling Ford Thunderbird team arrived in Pocono International Raceway with one of the best starting records in NASCAR history. Starting the 1985 season Elliott and the team had collected 7 out of the first 15 races. Elliott and his Coors – Melling team were untouchable winning 7 out of 11 races on the superspeedway tracks, one mile or longer. Elliott had won the Van Scoy Diamond Mine 500 at Pocono 4 weeks earlier in the season finishing just ahead of Harry Gant who was a close second.

Qualifying was controversial this week at Pocono International Raceway with Darrell Waltrip in the Junior Johnson Chevrolet qualifying 1st with Bill Elliott 2nd on the outside of the front row. As done regularly in the 80’s fuel samples were taken from some of the cars in the field. Two weeks later Darrell Waltrip was stripped of the Pocono pole position for using illegal fuel. The pole of official record was then given to Elliott with a speed of 151.973 mph just a tic slower than his record setting pole speed four weeks earlier.

The race saw 36 lead changes among 12 different drivers with Elliott leading 4 different times for a total of 58 laps. The race had 6 caution flags for a total of 24 laps during the event. The race had a quick pace and saw some of the best racing to this point of the year on a superspeedway. Everyone thought Elliott’s weekend handling problems would give someone else a chance for victory. Elliott would not be denied of a win at one of his favorite tracks when he took the lead on lap 191 from Neil Bonnett in another Junior Johnson Chevrolet. Elliott took the win with a 5 second margin of victory. Darrell Waltrip, Geoff Bodine and Harry Gant rounded out the top 5 places. Elliott and the Coors – Melling team picked up their 8th win of the season. Owner Harry Melling collected $44,025 for the win while Elliott picked up another 180 championship points.   This left Elliott still in the championship lead over Darrell Waltrip by 111 points in their 1985 storybook season.

Elliott’s impressive stats at Pocono in his 48 starts at the 2.5 mile track; 5 wins, 4 poles, 14 top 5’s, and 22 top 10’s at the tri-oval track. He led 429 laps of his total 8524 laps run at the Pocono Raceway. Elliott’s total monetary winnings at Pocono were $1,817,562. With a starting average of 13.2, and a finishing average of 17.1, Elliott has driven a total of 21,310 miles at Pocono International Raceway.

(Article by Dale Brown)

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