1981 Budweiser NASCAR 400
|Race 14 of 31 in the 1981 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season|
Layout of Texas World Speedway
|Date||June 7, 1981|
|Official name||Texas 400|
|Location||Texas World Speedway, College Station, Texas|
Permanent racing facility|
2.000 mi (3.218 km)
|Distance||250 laps, 400 mi (404 km)|
|Weather||Extremely hot with temperatures of 91 °F (33 °C); wind speeds of 12.8 miles per hour (20.6 km/h)|
|Average speed||132.475 miles per hour (213.198 km/h)|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Dale Earnhardt||Osterlund Motorsports|
|No. 15||Benny Parsons||Bud Moore Engineering|
|Television in the United States|
Texas World Speedway was built in 1969 and is one of only seven superspeedways of two miles (3 km) or greater in the United States used for racing, the others being Indianapolis, Daytona, Pocono, Talladega, Auto Club, and Michigan (there are several tracks of similar size used for vehicle testing). TWS is located on approximately 600 acres (2.4 km²) on State Highway 6 in College Station, Texas. There is a 2-mile (3 km) oval, and several road course configurations. The full oval configuration is closely related to that of Michigan and is often considered the latter's sister track, featuring steeper banking, at 22 degrees in the turns, 12 degrees at the start/finish line, and only 2 degrees along the backstretch, compared to Michigan's respective 18, 12, and 5 degrees. The last major race occurred at the track in 1981. The track was used by amateur racing clubs such as the SCCA, NASA, Porsche Club of America, Corinthian Vintage Auto Racing, CMRA, driving schools and car clubs, as well as hosting music concerts and the like. The speedway was also a race track location for the video game, Need for Speed: Pro Street.
During the 1980s the track fell into a state of disrepair, and both NASCAR and the Indy cars chose to drop it from their respective schedules. It continued to operate in a limited role for amateur racing.
During the preceding season, 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.
34 drivers qualified for this 200-lap race; with Baxter Price, Kirk Shelmerdine and D.K. Ulrich quitting the race early on in this three-hour-long session. Morgan Shepherd's vehicle developed a problematic radiator on lap 17 while a faulty cylinder head forced Darrell Waltrip out of the race on lap 33.
The track was evidently in horrible shape even then. It had rained non-stop for the two days prior to the race, and a couple of drivers slid and got stuck in the mud. Kyle Petty's engine suddenly stopped working on lap 34; the wreckers couldn't even get to him for fear of getting stuck. Rick Newsom inflicted terminal vehicle damage on lap 40. Engine problems would claim the vehicles of Roger Hamby on lap 72 in addition to Bobby Wawak on lap 92 and James Hylton on lap 115. Ricky Ruddy's engine stopped working on lap 122 where Terry Labonte was involved in a crash on lap 131. Before Labonte's crash, he had put on a daring move to barely beat leaders Parsons and Earnhardt to the line to get back on the lead lap. Randy Ogden managed to lose the rear end of his vehicle on lap 137 while Rick Baldwin managed to blow his vehicle's engine on lap 149.
It was an awesome battle between Benny Parsons and Dale Earnhardt over the last 90 laps the lead was traded between them 16 times with Parsons coming out on top; beating the Intimidator by slightly more than half a second. All of the drivers were born in the United States of America. Only three drivers remained on the lead lap at the end of the race: Benny Parsons, Dale Earnhardt, and Bobby Allison. Eighteen thousand people would come to see 35 different lead changes. Many of these lead changed occurred under green flag racing. Regardless of the problems that the drivers faced during the race and the resulting separation of the field at the finish, there was still tight competition for the lead throughout the entire race.
Other notable participants at the race were: Richard Petty, J.D. McDuffie, Richard Childress, Terry Labonte, Ricky Rudd, and Kyle Petty. Crashes and engine problems also made up the bulk of the drivers who failed to finish the race. The winner received $22,750 in total winnings ($62,696 when considering inflation) while last-place finisher Baxter Price received a meager $900 ($2,480 when considering inflation).
The total purse for this event was $179,075 ($493,505 when considering inflation).
Top ten finishersEdit
|2||3||2||Dale Earnhardt||Pontiac||200||$18,650||96||180||+0.51 seconds|
|3||2||28||Bobby Allison||Buick||200||$14,650||17||170||Lead lap under green flag|
|4||5||43||Richard Petty||Buick||199||$12,550||0||160||+1 lap|
|5||13||71||Dave Marcis||Buick||198||$8,935||0||155||+2 laps|
|6||6||90||Jody Ridley||Ford||198||$8,610||1||155||+2 laps|
|7||16||99||Tim Richmond||Oldsmobile||196||$6,840||0||146||+4 laps|
|8||14||66||Lake Speed||Oldsmobile||196||$5,630||4||147||+4 laps|
|9||12||6||Joe Ruttman||Buick||195||$3,100||3||143||+5 laps|
|10||7||33||Harry Gant||Pontiac||193||$2,700||4||139||+7 laps|
Standings after the raceEdit
- Weather information for the 1981 Budweiser NASCAR 400 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
- 1981 Budweiser NASCAR 400 racing information at Racing Reference
- "1978 USAC Texas Grand Prix telecast".
- 1981 Budweiser NASCAR 400 crew chiefs information at Racing Reference
- 1981 Budweiser NASCAR 400 racing information at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
1981 World 600
| NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1981 Warner W. Hodgdon 400