1984 Talladega 500

The 1984 Talladega 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race held at Talladega Superspeedway on July 29, 1984.

1984 Talladega 500
Race details[1]
Race 19 of 30 in the 1984 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
Date July 29, 1984 (1984-July-29)
Official name Talladega 500
Location Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega, Alabama
Course Permanent racing facility
2.660 mi (4.280 km)
Distance 188 laps, 500.1 mi (804.8 km)
Weather Very hot with temperatures of 84 °F (29 °C); wind speeds of 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)
Average speed 155.485 mph (250.229 km/h)
Attendance 94,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Ranier-Lundy Racing
Most laps led
Driver Buddy Baker Wood Brothers Racing
Laps 41
No. 3 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing
Television in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Ken Squier
Ned Jarrett
Benny Parsons

It was the 19th of 30 races for the 1984 Winston Cup Grand National season and was telecast live flag to flag on the CBS television network. Cale Yarborough, the winner of that season's Daytona 500, Winston 500 earlier that season at Talladega, and Van Scoy Diamond 500 at Pocono won the pole at a speed of 202.474 mph. Bill Elliott qualified second.

Both of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series races held at Talladega in 1984 were close and competitive events that tested the drivers both physically and mentally.


Talladega Superspeedway, originally known as Alabama International Motor Superspeedway (AIMS), is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base in the small city of Lincoln. The track is a Tri-oval and was constructed by International Speedway Corporation, a business controlled by the France Family, in the 1960s. Talladega is most known for its steep banking and the unique location of the start/finish line - located just past the exit to pit road. The track currently hosts the NASCAR series such as the Monster Energy Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. Talladega Superspeedway is the longest NASCAR oval with a length of 2.66 miles (4.28 km), and the track at its peak had a seating capacity of 175,000 spectators.[3]

Race reportEdit

Four NASCAR Cup Series drivers failed to qualify for this race: Delma Cowart, J.D. McDuffie, Blackie Wangerin and Tommy Gale.[2] Rounding out the race's top ten starters were Dale Earnhardt, Terry Labonte, dark horse racer Tommy Ellis, Buddy Baker, Darrell Waltrip, Neil Bonnett, Ron Bouchard, and rookie Rusty Wallace. Richard Petty, who'd won the Firecracker 400 earlier that month, qualified 11th following word that the Smithsonian Institution wanted to put on permanent display the racecar (a 1984 Pontiac Grand Prix stock car under the ownership of Curb Motorsports) with which he'd won Daytona.

Benny Parsons had qualified ninth for the race but crashed hard in practice and was not medically cleared to race, so he was brought up to the CBS Sports broadcast booth alongside Ken Squier and Ned Jarrett for the telecast. Working pit road was veteran MRN Radio broadcaster Mike Joy and National Speed Sport News editor Chris Economaki; Economaki also hosted a short feature (aired during a lengthy caution period) on the nearby Talladega Short Track and its participants' thoughts on someday racing at the superspeedway.

The race became one of the most competitive in racing history, as the lead changed 68 times among 16 drivers. Earnhardt, driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Richard Childress, had taken the lead in Winston Cup points at that point of the season but had not won a race. He took the lead on the opening lap and was soon challenged by Yarborough, Baker, Bobby Allison, Petty, and Labonte. Petty passed Yarborough and Earnhardt on Lap 31 but Earnhardt beat him to the stripe; soon after Elliott Forbes-Robinson crashed and Petty's transmission broke on the subsequent pitstop.

Lap 157 provided the most serious accident of the day when Trevor Boys, racing in the top ten with Ellis, was clipped off Turn Four, spun, and flipped onto his roof at the pit road entrance before tumbling into the tri-oval grass. Boys climbed out of the car uninjured instantly; the only bad thing that happened is that he had to tie his shoe.[4]

Earnhardt intentionally dragged the brake entering turn 1 on the final lap, got a massive run and slingshotted past Terry Labonte on the backstretch to take the win.[2] The heat that lasted throughout the entire race was brutal. In today's NASCAR Cup Series, the drivers largely don't have to deal with that intensity of heat, since so many summer races are either up north or run at night.

Notable crew chiefs in this race were Kenny Wallace, Junie Donlavey, Darrell Bryant, Joey Arrington, Cecil Gordon, Dale Inman, Travis Carter, Waddell Wilson, Tim Brewer, Bud Moore, Jeff Hammond, Jake Elder, Harry Hyde and Kirk Shelmerdine.[5]


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer
1 28 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet
2 9 Bill Elliott Ford
3 3 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet
4 44 Terry Labonte Chevrolet
5 4 Tommy Ellis Chevrolet
6 21 Buddy Baker Ford
7 11 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet
8 12 Neil Bonnett Chevrolet
9 47 Ron Bouchard Buick
10 88 Rusty Wallace Pontiac
11 43 Richard Petty Pontiac
12 75 Dave Marcis Pontiac
13 84 Jody Ridley Chevrolet
14 33 Harry Gant Chevrolet
15 1 Lake Speed Chevrolet
16 22 Bobby Allison Buick
17 66 Phil Parsons Chevrolet
18 90 Dick Brooks Ford
19 14 A.J. Foyt Oldsmobile
20 95 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet
21 38 Phil Barkdoll Chevrolet
22 51 Greg Sacks Chevrolet
23 27 Tim Richmond Pontiac
24 15 Ricky Rudd Ford
25 67 Buddy Arrington Chrysler
26 7 Kyle Petty Ford
27 98 Joe Ruttman Chevrolet
28 5 Geoff Bodine Chevrolet
29 48 Trevor Boys Chevrolet
30 41 Ronnie Thomas Chevrolet
31 29 Grant Adcox Chevrolet
32 8 Bobby Hillin, Jr. Chevrolet
33 71 Mike Alexander Oldsmobile
34 87 Randy Baker Buick
35 77 Ken Ragan Chevrolet
36 52 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet
37 17 Clark Dwyer Chevrolet
38 03 Eddie Bierschwale Chevrolet
39 2 Elliot Forbes-Robinson Chevrolet
40 73 Steve Moore Chevrolet


The finish shook into an eleven-car battle; Bouchard ran out of gas with three laps to go and Labonte held the lead; his crew chief Dale Inman radioed Labonte to get out of the lead with two to go fearing a last-lap pass, but by this point Harry Gant had raced into contention and was battling Earnhardt and Baker for second.[2]

Earnhardt broke away to a ten-length win with Baker edging Labonte for second and Allison edging Yarborough for fourth.[2] It was the second year in a row that he won the race and he won both races with last lap passes. He became the first driver to win back to back Talladega 500s (he also completed the feat in 1990-1991 and he won back to back Winston 500's in 1999-2000). The prior year he won in a Ford driving for Bud Moore. This was his first win with Richard Childress driving a Chevrolet.[2]

Earnhardt led thirteen times for 40 laps.[2] Six of the ten positions behind Earnhardt were decided by photo finishes at the line. Also, Earnhardt started the race in third, led the first lap and the last.[2]

Individual paychecks for each driver ranged from the winner's share of $47,100 ($115,909 when adjusted for inflation) to the last-place finisher's share of $1,800 ($4,430 when adjusted for inflation) from a total purse of $352,500. ($867,475 when adjusted for inflation).[6]

Ken Ragan received his only lead lap finish of his career at this race.[2]

Top 20 finishersEdit

Pos[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Laps led Time/Status
1 3 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet 188 40 3:12:04
2 21 Buddy Baker Ford 188 41 +1.66 seconds
3 44 Terry Labonte Chevrolet 188 19 Lead lap under green flag
4 22 Bobby Allison Buick 188 16 Lead lap under green flag
5 28 Cale Yarborough Chevrolet 188 34 Lead lap under green flag
6 11 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet 188 1 Lead lap under green flag
7 33 Harry Gant Chevrolet 188 2 Lead lap under green flag
8 1 Lake Speed Chevrolet 188 0 Lead lap under green flag
9 4 Tommy Ellis Chevrolet 188 1 Lead lap under green flag
10 9 Bill Elliott Ford 188 6 Lead lap under green flag
11 77 Ken Ragan Chevrolet 188 1 Lead lap under green flag
12 88 Rusty Wallace Pontiac 188 0 Lead lap under green flag
13 75 Dave Marcis Pontiac 188 4 Lead lap under green flag
14 15 Ricky Rudd Ford 188 0 Lead lap under green flag
15 8 Bobby Hillin, Jr. Chevrolet 188 0 Lead lap under green flag
16 47 Ron Bouchard Buick 187 9 +1 lap
17 71 Mike Alexander Oldsmobile 185 0 +3 laps
18 73 Steve Moore Chevrolet 184 0 +4 laps
19 12 Neil Bonnett Chevrolet 178 1 +10 laps
20 66 Phil Parsons Chevrolet 164 0 +24 laps

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Dale Earnhardt 2848 0
2   Terry Labonte 2778 -70
3   Bill Elliott 2764 -84
4   Darrell Waltrip 2734 -114
5   Harry Gant 2703 -145
6   Bobby Allison 2619 -229
7   Neil Bonnett 2456 -392
8   Geoff Bodine 2426 -422
9   Ricky Rudd 2425 -423
10   Ron Bouchard 2392 -456


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1984 Talladega 500 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Attendance and non-qualifying driver information for the 1984 Talladega 500 at Racing Reference
  3. ^ "Track Facts". talladegasuperspeedway.com. Talladega Superspeedway. November 1, 2012. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Trevor Boys Goes for a Wild Ride at the 1984 Talladega 500 at Complex Mag
  5. ^ 1984 Talladega 500 crew chiefs at Racing Reference
  6. ^ Total prize purse at the 1984 Talladega 500 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Preceded by
1984 Like Cola 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1984 Champion Spark Plug 400
Preceded by
Talladega 500 races
Succeeded by