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The 1980 Coca-Cola 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on July 27, 1980, at Pocono International Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.[2]

1980 Coca-Cola 500
Race details[1]
Race 19 of 31 in the 1980 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Neil Bonnett in the winner's circle after winning the 1980 Coca-Cola 500
Neil Bonnett in the winner's circle after winning the 1980 Coca-Cola 500
Date July 27, 1980 (1980-July-27)
Official name Coca-Cola 500
Location Pocono International Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania
Course Permanent racing facility
2.500 mi (3.400 km)
Distance 200 laps, 501.0 mi (804 km)
Weather Warm with temperatures of 79 °F (26 °C); wind speeds of 6.6 miles per hour (10.6 km/h)
Average speed 124.395 miles per hour (200.194 km/h)
Attendance 75,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Junior Johnson & Associates
Time less than 60.000 seconds
Most laps led
Driver Neil Bonnett Wood Brothers Racing
Laps 59
No. 21 Neil Bonnett Wood Brothers Racing
Television in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Chris Economaki
Jackie Stewart

By 1980, NASCAR had completely stopped tracking the year model of all the vehicles and most teams did not take stock cars to the track under their own power anymore. Only manual transmission vehicles were allowed to participate in this race; a policy that NASCAR has retained to the present day.



Pocono Raceway is one of six superspeedways to hold NASCAR races; the others are Daytona International Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.[3] The standard track at Pocono Raceway is a three-turn superspeedway that is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long.[4] The track's turns are banked differently; the first is banked at 14°, the second turn at 8° and the final turn with 6°. However, each of the three straightaways are banked at 2°.[4]


It took four hours and one minute to complete 200 laps; Neil Bonnett defeated Buddy Baker by six-tenths of a second.[2][5] There were 19 lead changes in the final 56 laps, with nearly all the lead changes occurring between Baker and Bonnett. The two drivers exchanged the lead nine times in the last 22 laps before Bonnett took the lead for good with four laps remaining in the race.[6]

Bonnett's victory would mark both his first victory of the 1980 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season and the penultimate one for Mercury as a brand in NASCAR Cup competition.[2]

There were forty American born drivers in the race.[2] Travis Tiller achieved the last-place finish of the race due to a problem in the ignition system during the pace laps of the race.[2] Five cautions slowed the race for 26 laps while 49 lead changes took place from the green flag to the checkered flag.[2][5] The other drivers who finished in the top ten were: Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt, Harry Gant, Terry Labonte, Kyle Petty, Dave Marcis, Richard Childress (now the owner of Richard Childress Racing), and Ricky Rudd.[2][5] Most of the drivers competed with the Chevrolet marquee.[2] Kenny Hemphill, Tim Richmond (12th-place finish), and Bob Riley would start their NASCAR Cup Series career at this race while Janet Guthrie and Nelson Oswald would make this race into their swan songs.[5]

Richard Petty broke his neck as a result of a crash on lap 57.[2][7]

He managed to successfully rehab his serious injury. Guthrie would race fast and furiously with the male competitors until her engine failed after 134 laps.[8] Legendary driver and current NASCAR on Fox personality Darrell Waltrip competed in this race; he started in 7th and finished in 26th place in his #88 Chevrolet machine owned by DiGard Motorsports.[2]

Notable crew chiefs in attendance for this race were Junie Donlavey, Joey Arrington, Darel Dieringer, Dale Inman, Darrell Bryant, D.K. Ulrich, Harry Hyde, Waddell Wilson, and Kirk Shelmerdine.[9]

Twenty lead changes were accomplished during the last 58 laps of the race.[5]

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2]
1   Dale Earnhardt 2902
2   Richard Petty 2758
3   Cale Yarborough 2724
4   Benny Parsons 2627
5   Darrell Waltrip 2574
6   Bobby Allison 2570
7   Jody Ridley 2455
8   Richard Childress 2330
9   Harry Gant 2291
10   Terry Labonte 2237


  1. ^ "1980 Coca-Cola 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "1980 Coca-Cola 500 racing information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  3. ^ "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on January 5, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Pocono Raceway". NASCAR. Turner Sports. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e "1980 Coca-Cola 500 racing information". Race Database. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  6. ^ "Bonnett Weaved His Way to a 1980 Win at Pocono". Wood Brothers Racing. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  7. ^ "1980 Coca-Cola 500 - Richard Petty Crash". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  8. ^ "POCONO LOOK BACK: 1980 Coca-Cola 500". The Times-Tribune. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  9. ^ "1980 Coca-Cola 500 crew chiefs information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
Preceded by
1980 Busch Nashville 420
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1980 Talladega 500
Preceded by
Coca-Cola 500 races
Succeeded by