Concord – Bill Elliott played the role of survivor Sunday in the winning the wreck-strewn Oakwood Homes 500 NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Elliott, 32, beat Bobby Allison by over two seconds in winning for the fourth time this season, and solidifying his grasp on second place in the Winston Cup season point standings.
It was Elliott’s second career win at Charlotte Motor Speedway and earned him $74,040.
The Dawsonville, GA, resident, driving a Ford, took the lead for the first time after a pit stop on the final caution periods of the 334-lap, 500-mile race. The caution came out on lap 270 when Larry Pearson spun in the fourth turn.
Allison, 49, was leading the race prior to the final caution, but dropped to fourth on the restart. Allison, in a Buick, moved into second place after two laps under the green flag, but could never pull closer than the final margin of victory.
Sterling Marlin of Columbia, Tenn., was the only other driver to finish on the lead lap. Dale Earnhardt missed an opportunity to officially clinch his second consecutive season championship with his 12th-place finish. His Chevrolet lost it brakes on lap 193. However, Earnhardt needs to only start in the AC-Delco 500 in Rockingham on Oct. 25th to win the title.
Earnhardt’s brake problems put the Kannapolis driver six laps down and over-shadowed his earlier effort that saw him make up a three-lap deficit to get back on the lead lap.
Earnhardt lost the three laps after he was caught up in a six car accident on lap 21.
Derrike Cope and Earnhardt collided between the first and second turns to begin the massive pile-up. Jimmy Means, Greg Sacks, Buddy Baker and Cope were eliminated from competition while Ken Schrader missed several laps in the pits.
The early race accident began a series of wrecks and mechanical failures that resulted in only 19 of the 42 starters running at the end. There were seven cautions flags for a total of 60 laps, which slowed the average speed of the race to 128.443 mph.
Neil Bennett of Bessemer, Ala., crashed into the fourth turn wall on lap 56 and suffered a broken hip. He was taken to Cabarus Memorial Hospital where he is scheduled for surgery Monday. He wills remained hospitalized for at least the rest of the week, officials said.
The other serious accident came on lap0 126 when Rick Wilson ran into Geoff Bodine as the two, along with Lake Speed, attempted to go into turn one three abreast. Wilson, Geoff Bodine, Brett Bodine, Alan Kulwicki and Bobby Hillin Jr. were knocked out in the chain reaction wreck. Dave Marcus, of Skyland, and Darrell Waltrip were also involved, but continued to run.
(Courtesy of Associated Press and Citizen Times)