ROCKINGHAM. NC (October 25, 1987) – Bill Elliott ran away from Dale Earnhardt in the final stages and won the AC Delco 500 at North Carolina Motor Speedway. It was the fifth win of the season for the Dawsonville, GA Ford driver.
Dale Earnhardt recovered from a spin-out to finish second, 2.0-seconds behind Elliott. Earnhardt clinched the 1987 Winston Cup driving title by merely starting the race. “If somebody would have kidnapped Dale, maybe somebody could have caught him,” cracked Elliott.
Darrell Waltrip came in third, Terry Labonte was fourth, and Morgan Shepherd fifth.
Elliott didn’t lead until the 143rd lap, but by that time the Melling Racing crew had the red and white Ford dialed in. Earnhardt was to be reckoned with, but he spun his car in the late stages. “I just spun it,” said the new champion. “It would have been nice to win the race and the championship, but I’m satisfied with just the championship.”
Pole sitter Davey Allison was the first driver out of the race. He fell victim to mechanical problems in the 74th lap.
Joe Ruttman, substituting for the injured Neil Bonnett, drove the RahMoc Pontiac to a 10th place finish. “We were just a tick off on the set-up,” said Ruttman. “If we could have gotten the car right, we’d have never lost two laps. The motor was plenty strong.”
Earnhardt had a 515-point lead with just two laps left on the 1987 slate.Greg Fielden — Forty Years Of Stock Car Racing: The Modern Era 1972-1989