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1983 Winston Western 500

The 1983 Winston Western 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on November 20, 1983, at Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, California.

1983 Winston Western 500
Race details[1][2]
Race 30 of 30 in the 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Riverside International Raceway (1969-1988 version)
Layout of Riverside International Raceway (1969-1988 version)
Date November 20, 1983 (1983-November-20)
Official name Winston Western 500
Location Riverside International Raceway, Riverside, California
Course 2.700 mi (4.345 km)
Distance 119 laps, 311.8 mi (501.7 km)
Weather Chilly with temperatures of 64.9 °F (18.3 °C); wind speeds of 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)
Average speed 95.859 miles per hour (154.270 km/h)
Attendance 24,000
Pole position
Driver Junior Johnson & Associates
Most laps led
Driver Darrell Waltrip Junior Johnson & Associates
Laps 34
No. 9 Bill Elliott Melling Racing
Television in the United States
Network WTBS
Announcers Ken Squier, Cale Yarborough

Race reportEdit

There were 42 drivers;[3] 40 of them were American-born while Roy Smith and Trevor Boys were born in Canada.

Ricky Rudd starts on the front row but retires from the lead with a blown engine in his last outing for Richard Childress in the #3 Piedmont Airlines Chevrolet.[2] Dale Earnhardt would make his final NASCAR Winston Cup Series race in a Ford; bringing home Bud Moore's #15 Wrangler Thunderbird home with a top-5 finish.[2] Jim Stacy would mark his final race as an official NASCAR team owner at this race.[2] Stacy came in with promises and a lot of cash but got bored when he got impatient with his drivers and crew members.

Sterling Marlin and Trevor Boys battle for record of the year comes down to the last race of the year with the Canadian Boys leading coming into the final race by approximately 16 points. Marlin came from behind to claim the honor after scoring a top-20 finish while mechanical problems in this final race doomed Boys' hopes.[2]

Meanwhile, Bobby Allison managed to secure his only Winston Cup Championship during the course of the race.

Jimmy Insolo quit the race on the first lap due to team issues. Joe Ruttman blew his engine on lap 12 while Bill Schmidt would ruin his engine on lap 13. Rick McCray's engine would stop working on lap 29. Meanwhile, ignition problems would take out Ron Esau on lap 32 at the same time Ricky Rudd suffered from a faulty engine. The ignition on Roy Smith's vehicle stopped working on lap 36 while the throttle on Jim Bown's vehicle gave out on lap 37. Between lap 38 and lap 61, four drivers were forced to exit the race due to engine concerns.[2][3]

Bill Elliott would defeat Benny Parsons under the final caution flag in front of 24,000 loyal NASCAR spectators for his first ever Cup Series victory[2] on a rain-soaked road course that would have required Formula One vehicles to use their "wet" tires. This was Elliott's only road course win but he was pretty good when the course got twisty; he would eventually get four top-5s here at Riverside.[2] There were 13 lead changes and five caution flags for 26 laps;[3] making the race last three hours and fifteen minutes long.[2] While the average speed of the race was 95.859 miles per hour (154.270 km/h), Darrell Waltrip qualified for the pole position with a top speed of 116.782 miles per hour (187.942 km/h).[2][3] The regulation length of this race was 119 laps - the equivalent of 311.8 miles (501.8 km).[2][3]

Jimmy Insolo, Doug Wheeler, Don Waterman, Pat Mintey, and Randy Becker would retire from NASCAR Cup Series racing after this event.[4]

Drivers who failed to qualify were: Bobby Hillin, Jr. (#6), Dan Noble (#37), Tony Settember (#58), Harry Goularte (#17), Steve Pfeifer (#8), St. James Davis (#02), Mark Perry (#1) and Bob Kennedy (#94).[5]

Top ten finishersEdit

Pos[2] Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Laps led Points Time/Status
1 10 9 Bill Elliott Ford 119 5 180 3:15:09
2 5 55 Benny Parsons Chevrolet 119 33 175 Lead lap under caution
3 11 75 Neil Bonnett Chevrolet 119 0 165 Lead lap under caution
4 9 15 Dale Earnhardt Ford 119 4 165 Lead lap under caution
5 26 27 Tim Richmond Pontiac 119 31 160 Lead lap under caution
6 1 11 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet 119 34 160 Lead lap under caution
7 3 44 Terry Labonte Chevrolet 119 0 146 Lead lap under caution
8 22 04 Hershel McGriff Buick 119 0 142 Lead lap under caution
9 6 22 Bobby Allison Buick 119 1 143 Lead lap under caution
10 8 43 Richard Petty Pontiac 118 10 139 Lead lap under caution

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Bobby Allison 4667 0
2   Darrell Waltrip 4620 -47
3   Bill Elliott 4279 -388
4   Richard Petty 4025 -625
5   Terry Labonte 4004 -663
6   Neil Bonnett 4002 -665
7   Harry Gant 3790 -877
8   Dale Earnhardt 3732 -935
9   Ricky Rudd 3693 -974
10   Tim Richmond 3597 -1070


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1983 Winston Western 500 at the Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m 1983 Winston Western 500 racing information at Racing Reference
  3. ^ a b c d e 1983 Winston Western 500 racing information at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
  4. ^ NASCAR Retirements at Race Database
  5. ^ Qualifying information at Racing Reference
Preceded by
1983 Atlanta Journal 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1984 Daytona 500
Preceded by
Winston Western 500 races
Succeeded by