Win #40 – Mountain Dew Southern 500 – Darlington Raceway – 9/4/1994

NASCAR Winston Cup race number 23 of 31

Sunday, September 4, 1994 at Darlington Raceway, Darlington, SC
367 laps on a 1.366 mile paved track (501.3 miles)

Time of race: 3:55:05
Average Speed: 127.952 mph
Pole Speed: 166.998 mph
Cautions: 6 for 42 laps
Margin of Victory: 6.39 sec
Attendance: n/a
Lead changes: 28


Bill Elliott and his Junior Johnson #11Budweiser Ford Thunderbird arrived at Darlington International Speedway with a good chance of breaking a 52 race drought at one of Elliott’s favorite tracks with impressive stats and results. Elliott had 4 wins at Darlington, 3 at the Southern 500 with his team owner Johnson having 10 wins at the “Track Too Tough To Tame.” Elliott won the first & only “Winston Million at Darlington in 1985 winning 3 out of the big four races being the only driver to do so making a great achievement in NASCAR history. Elliott started the race in 7th place due to rain earlier in the week. He was only able to get in 1 lap of practice and 2 laps of qualifying before the start of the race. Elliott, Mike Beam, crew chief, and Junior Johnson consulted on a race setup and hit it pretty close as Elliott ran in the top 10 all day long. There were 28 lead changes among 11 drivers. Elliott leading 3 times in the very competitive race took the lead on lap 355 from Dale Earnhardt, Sr., to lead the last 11 laps by an impressive margin of victory of 6.39 seconds. Finishing out the top 5 were Dale Earnhardt, Sr., Morgan Shepherd, Ricky Rudd and Sterling Marlin.

Elliott’s win was not without some suspenseful last laps. With the rough track surface at Darlington and Goodyear’s softer tires everyone was having overheating problems because of rubber buildup stopping up their radiators. Elliott said, “He never finished a race with the water temp at 300 degrees and the oil temperature at 260 degrees.”

Some had called Elliott a falling former champion, but by breaking the 52 race streak Elliott show them if he had a good car under him he had the ability to beat the best drivers on any day. Elliott picked up 180 championship points that day and team owner Junior Johnson $68,330 for t

Elliott ran 52 races at Darlington Raceway with 5 wins, 22 top 5’s and 35 top 10’s. Elliott won 5 poles at Darlington. He ran a total of 17,477 while leading 980 laps. His average starting position was 11.0, and he had an average finishing position of 9.4 at Darlington. Elliott won $2,719,414 in winnings at Darlington while driving an astounding 23,873 miles at the track. (Article by Dale Brown)


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