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The 1982 Champion Spark Plug 400 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event held on August 22, 1982, at Michigan International Speedway in the American community of Brooklyn, Michigan.

1982 Champion Spark Plug 400
Race details[1]
Race 20 of 30 in the 1982 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Michigan International Speedway
Layout of Michigan International Speedway
Date August 22, 1982 (1982-August-22)
Official name Champion Spark Plug 400
Location Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan
Course Permanent racing facility
2.000 mi (3.218 km)
Distance 200 laps, 400 mi (643 km)
Weather Mild with temperatures approaching 72 °F (22 °C); wind speeds up to 11.8 miles per hour (19.0 km/h)
Average speed 136.454 miles per hour (219.601 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Melling Racing
Time 44.173
Most laps led
Driver Bobby Allison DiGard Motorsports
Laps 120
No. 88 Bobby Allison DiGard Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

While the glory days of Richard Petty ended before this race, he was still more recognized to the general public than Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip during the early 1980s. Between 1974 and 1982, the troika of Waltrip, Cale Yarborough and Richard Petty were considered to be the "elite three drivers" of the NASCAR scene. The rest of 1982 would see a NASCAR Winston Cup Championship slip out of Richard Petty's grasp and into the hands of a young Darrell Waltrip for the second time in his entire career.


Michigan International Speedway is a four-turn superspeedway that is 2 miles (3.2 km) long.[2] Groundbreaking took place on September 28, 1967. Over 2.5 million cubic yards (1.9×10^6 m3) of dirt were moved to form the D-shaped oval. The track opened in 1968 with a total capacity of 25,000 seats. The track was originally built and owned by Lawrence H. LoPatin, a Detroit-area land developer who built the speedway at an estimated cost of $4–6 million.[3] Financing was arranged by Thomas W Itin. Its first race took place on Sunday, October 13, 1968, with the running of the USAC 250 mile Championship Car Race won by Ronnie Bucknum.


It took two hours and forty-five minutes to complete this event. 38 American-born drivers competed on this 200-lap event; Joe Ruttman would become the last-place finisher due to a problem with his vehicle's oil pump on the second lap. Bill Elliott would end up finishing the race 96 laps behind the leaders while Tim Richmond would see the conclusion of his racing weekend by inflicting some damage to the back of his stock car on lap 161. This was the debut race for the Chrysler Imperial car of Buddy Arrington.[4]

Buicks, Pontiacs and Ford vehicles would rule the racing grid on this day. Thirty thousand people would come to the race live to watch Bobby Allison best Richard Petty by two car lengths. Bill Elliott brought some fast thrills to the solo qualifying position by driving at speeds up to 162.995 miles per hour (262.315 km/h). While a wide variety of drivers would lead the opening 50 laps, the final 50 laps would be monopolized by three different drivers (Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison). Terry Labonte would keep a close lead in championship points after this race; trailing by a mere 50 points to Bobby Allison. Drivers in the actual race drove an average speed of 136.545 miles per hour (219.748 km/h).[4] Tony Bettenhausen, Jr. and Robin McCall would make their respective departures from the NASCAR Winston Cup Series after the conclusion of this event.[5]

Notable crew chiefs to actively participate in the race were Buddy Parrott, Junie Donlavey, Joey Arrington, Elmo Langley, Darrell Bryant, Jake Elder, Travis Carter, Waddell Wilson, Tim Brewer, Bud Moore, Jeff Hammond, and Larry McReynolds.[6]

Individual race earnings ranged from the winner's share of $26,900 ($69,837.97 when adjusted for inflation) to the last-place finisher's share of $1,850 ($4,802.98 when adjusted for inflation). NASCAR officials on the track were authorized by the board of directors to hand out a grand total of $222,875 to all the qualifying drivers of this racing event ($578,629.61 when adjusted for inflation).[7]


Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Qualifying time[8] Speed[8]
1 9 Bill Elliott Ford 44.173 162.995
2 11 Darrell Waltrip Buick 44.210 162.859
3 3 Ricky Rudd Pontiac 44.444 162.002
4 28 Buddy Baker Pontiac 44.513 161.750
5 67 Buddy Arrington Chrysler 44.598 161.442
6 44 Terry Labonte Buick 44.632 161.319
7 27 Cale Yarborough Buick 44.657 161.229
8 1 Kyle Petty Pontiac 44.731 160.962
9 2 Tim Richmond Buick 44.753 160.883
10 88 Bobby Allison Buick 44.768 160.829

Top ten driversEdit

Pos[4] Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Laps
1 10 88 Bobby Allison Buick 200
2 11 43 Richard Petty Pontiac 200
3 15 33 Harry Gant Buick 200
4 13 50 Geoffrey Bodine Pontiac 200
5 14 55 Benny Parsons Buick 200
6 5 67 Buddy Arrington Chrysler 199
7 2 11 Darrell Waltrip Buick 198
8 28 71 Dave Marcis Buick 197
9 17 21 Neil Bonnett Ford 197
10 20 47 Ron Bouchard Buick 197


Section reference: [4]

  • Start of race: Bill Elliott has the pole position to begin the race with
  • Lap 2: Joe Ruttman's oil pump became problematic, forcing him to become the last-place finisher
  • Lap 3: Caution for spun tire on turn three, green flag racing resumed on lap 6
  • Lap 7: Earle Canavan's engine stopped working properly
  • Lap 18: Al Loquasto had a terminal crash
  • Lap 21: Caution due to a five-car accident, green flag racing resumed on lap 26
  • Lap 42: H.B. Bailey couldn't handle his vehicle properly, forcing him to exit the race
  • Lap 45: Mark Martin lost the rear end of his vehicle
  • Lap 47: Robin McCall had a terminal crash
  • Lap 51: Caution due to Robin McCall's accident, green flag racing resumed on lap 26
  • Lap 68: The sway bar from Morgan Shepherd's vehicle came off, ending his race weekend early
  • Lap 75: David Pearson's oil pump stopped working properly
  • Lap 76: Dale Earnhardt's vehicle developed serious brake issues
  • Lap 84: Caution due to rain, green flag racing resumed on lap 92
  • Lap 96: Dave Simko's engine became more than a nuisance for him, causing him to leave the race
  • Lap 103: Cale Yarborough's transmission problems ended his hopes of finishing the race
  • Lap 108: Jody Ridley managed to blow the engine of his vehicle
  • Lap 109: Buddy Baker's radiator stopped working properly
  • Lap 115: Caution due to debris; green flag racing resumed on lap 118
  • Lap 139: Tony Bettenhausen, Jr.'s engine caused him to end his race weekend prematurely
  • Lap 161: Tim Richmond managed to lose the rear end of his vehicle
  • Finish: Bobby Allison was officially declared the winner of the event

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[4] Differential
1 Bobby Allison 2962 0
2 Terry Labonte 2912 -50
3 Darrell Waltrip 2842 -120
4 Richard Petty 2537 -425
5 Buddy Arrington 2524 -438
6 Dave Marcis 2493 -469
7 Harry Gant 2460 -502
8 Ron Bouchard 2389 -573
9 Dale Earnhardt 2385 -577
10 Morgan Shepherd 2312 -650


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1982 Champion Spark Plug 400 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ "Michigan International Speedway". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
  3. ^ "Track History". Michigan International Speedway. Archived from the original on March 2, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d e Racing information for the 1982 Champion Spark Plug 400 at Racing Reference
  5. ^ After-events of the 1982 Champion Spark Plug 400 at Race-Database
  6. ^ 1982 Champion Spark Plug 400 crew chiefs information at Racing Reference
  7. ^ Winnings information for the 1982 Champion Spark Plug 400 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
  8. ^ a b Qualifying information at Racing Reference
Preceded by
1982 Talladega 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1982 Busch 500