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The 1986 Winston 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on May 4, 1986, at Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Alabama.

1986 Winston 500
Race details[1]
Race 9 of 29 in the 1986 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
Layout of Talladega Superspeedway
Date May 4, 1986 (1986-May-04)
Official name Winston 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 Warm with temperatures of 81 °F (27 °C); wind speeds of 6.7 miles per hour (10.8 km/h)
Average speed 212.229 miles per hour (341.549 km/h)
Attendance 133,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Melling Racing
Time 45.121
Most laps led
Driver Bill Elliott Melling Racing
Laps 116
No. 22 Bobby Allison Stavola Brothers Racing
Television in the United States
Network ESPN
Announcers Bob Jenkins
Larry Nuber

Total earnings for each driver ranged from the winner's share of $77,905 ($178,065 when inflation is taken into effect) to the last-place finisher's share of $5,135 ($11,737 when inflation is taken into effect) out of a total purse of $499,905. ($1,142,618 when inflation is taken into effect).[3] The spectators who were watching the event at home on ESPN noticed that the "standard definition" graphics were superior to the rest of cable television during the late 1980s and the commercials to be on par with those aired during Super Bowl XX.


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 Sprint 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.[4]

Race reportEdit

Seven drivers failed to qualify for the race including: Mark Martin in his only DNQ[5] along with J. D. McDuffie, Davey Allison, and Alan Kulwicki.[2]

Bill Elliott would win the pole position with a speed of 212.229mph, a track record, which he broke the following year with a speed of 212.809mph.[6] The addition of restrictor plates starting in 1988 would eventually keep qualifying speeds below 200mph. There were nine cautions in the race; 24 different lead changes were made on the track.[2][7] The race took more than three hours to complete.[2][7]

Debris in addition to three major accidents and an oil spill would contribute to delays in the race; about 22% of the race was run under a caution flag while the average green flag run was nearly 15 laps.[2]

Bobby Allison (driving a 1986 Buick Regal) held off a last-lap pass attempt in the third turn by Dale Earnhardt to win by almost 0.2 seconds over Earnhardt in front of 133,000 people.[2][7] Allison was 48 years old, making him one of the oldest drivers to ever win a NASCAR Cup Series racing event. Allison's win would be the first since the 1984 World 600. Tommy Gale would finish his NASCAR career with this race.[7]

Jody Ridley received credit for his finish in last place due to an engine problem on the fourth lap of this 188-lap event.[2][7] Ron Bouchard would lead his final lap in his Cup Series career; after winning the 1981 Talladega 500 as a rookie on the same track. Trevor Boys (Canada) was the only foreigner in the race.[2]

A drunken, 20-year-old fan, Darren Charles Crowder stole the pace car of the race and took it for a joyride but was apprehended before completing two laps.[8]


Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Qualifying time[9] Speed[9] Owner
1 9 Bill Elliott Ford 45.121 212.229 Harry Melling
2 22 Bobby Allison Buick 45.758 209.274 Stavola Brothers
3 5 Geoffrey Bodine Chevrolet 46.001 208.169 Rick Hendrick
4 28 Cale Yarborough Ford 46.018 208.092 Harry Ranier
5 1 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet 46.088 207.776 Hoss Ellington
6 47 Morgan Shepherd Buick 46.174 207.389 Jack Beebe
7 88 Buddy Baker Oldsmobile 46.227 207.151 Buddy Baker / Danny Schiff
8 55 Benny Parsons Oldsmobile 46.240 207.093 Leo Jackson / Richard Jackson
9 7 Kyle Petty Ford 46.306 206.798 Wood Brothers
10 8 Bobby Hillin, Jr. Buick 46.308 206.789 Stavola Brothers

Finishing orderEdit

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Dale Earnhardt 1417 0
2   Darrell Waltrip 1308 -109
3   Rusty Wallace 1216 -201
4   Bobby Allison 1198 -219
5   Terry Labonte 1189 -228
6   Kyle Petty 1152 -265
7   Bill Elliott 1141 -276
8   Tim Richmond 1135 -282
9   Harry Gant 1084 -333
10   Geoffrey Bodine 1082 -335


  1. ^ "1986 Winston 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "1986 Winston 500 racing information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  3. ^ "1986 Winston 500 prize winnings information". Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 2013-01-15.
  4. ^ "Track Facts". Talladega Superspeedway. November 1, 2012. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  5. ^ "NASCAR Winston Cup / Nextel Cup / Sprint Cup / Monster Energy Cup DNQs or WDs for Mark Martin". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  6. ^ "A Look Back in Talladega History: The 200 MPH Field". Talladega Speedway. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  7. ^ a b c d e "1986 Winston 500 racing information". Race Database. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  8. ^,
  9. ^ a b "1986 Winston 500 qualifying information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
Preceded by
1986 Sovran Bank 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1986 Budweiser 500
Preceded by
Winston 500 races
Succeeded by