Miller American 400 – Michigan International Speedway – 6/15/86

NASCAR Winston Cup race number 14 of 29

Sunday, June 15, 1986 at Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, MI
200 laps on a 2.000 mile paved track (400.0 miles)

Time of race: 2:53:21
Average Speed: 138.851 mph
Pole Speed: 172.031 mph
Cautions: 8 for 39 laps
Margin of Victory: 2 cl
Attendance: 66,000
Lead changes: 34

Bill Elliott and the Coors – Melling Ford Thunderbird team were glad to get back to one of Elliott’s best tracks to break an 8 month long stretch without a win after his sensational 1985 season. Tim Richmond won the Pole Award with a speed of 172.031 in his Hendricks Chevrolet. Elliott started in the 8th position and paced himself through the race leading for 3 different times for 28 total laps of the 200 lap race. This was the first race since the Michigan International Speedway was repaved which made for many lead changes and the ability for anyone to run in any grove on the track. The new surface made for some exciting racing and 32 lead changes among 12 drivers. Elliott ran in the top 5 all day long before taking the lead for the final time on lap 196 to lead the final 5 laps. Elliott and the team needed a good win to get the “Monkey off Their Back”. Finishing out the top 5 were Harry Gant, Geoff Bodine, Buddy Baker, and Darrell Waltrip. Elliott won with an average speed of 138.851 mph. Slowing the race pace were 8 cautions for 39 laps. Owner Harry Melling won $56,900 dollars for the win, Elliott picking up another 180 Championship points where he was in 3rd place at the time. The win was Elliott’s 16 win, and the 11th different winner out of 14 races so far this year.

Elliott enjoyed racing Michigan International Speedway and with his smooth driving style, he had some astounding results at this speedway through the years. Complimented by the high HP engines of Ernie Elliott, and the smooth drivelines of Dan Elliott, Bill’s brothers, the Coors Melling Team had some tremendous finishing stats through the years. Elliott ran 61 races at Michigan with 7 wins, 17 top 5’s, 29 top 10’s, and 6 pole positions. Elliott led 1,004 laps of the 11,212 laps he completed on the 2 mile track earning $2,463,235 in total earnings to date. Elliott drove a total of 22,424 miles at Michigan Speedway with an average starting position of 11th, with an average finish of 14.6.

(Article by Dale Brown)

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